Submission savant Marcin Held has no intention of letting his latest opportunity slip through his fingers.
A three-time Bellator MMA tournament finalist, Held will challenge American Top Team’s Will Brooks for his lightweight championship in the Bellator 145 co-main event on Friday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The 23-year-old Pole secured his title shot by winning the Bellator Season 10 lightweight tournament in 2014 -- he defeated Patricky Freire in the final -- and then strengthened his position as a legitimate threat to Brooks’ reign by submitting Alexander Sarnavskiy with a kneebar on April 10.
“This is something that every competitor dreams about,” Held told Sherdog.com. “I have already competed in the Bellator lightweight tournament three times before, but I never was able to fight for the title. Now I can. It’s a dream come true, and it’s something I’ve trained very hard for. I’ve thought about this a lot.”
Held has compiled a 10-2 record in Bellator and believes he has never been in a better place, mentally and physically. He has rattled off six straight wins, all but one of them ending via submission or knockout. Tackling Brooks will be no walk in the park. The defending champion will carry a seven-fight winning streak into the cage, along with the popular notion that he is the more complete martial artist of the two.
“He is a very good fighter,” Held said. “He is dangerous and has good striking. This is going to be a tough fight; it will not be easy. He brings a lot of weapons and skills into the fight, but I am prepared. He is a complete fighter, yes, but so am I. We will see who is the more complete fighter come Nov. 6.”
Though he has enjoyed success at 155 pounds, Held has in the past hinted at the possibility of dropping the featherweight. At the moment, he remains zeroed in on the current target.
“Right now, I am only focused on this fight and winning this title,” Held said. “I know I’ve said that [I might move to 145] in the past, but a decision like that is something for the future. When I win this title, I plan on keeping it for a very long time -- I’m not going to give it up -- but I think I can make it down at featherweight. If the opportunity arises in the future, maybe I’ll consider it, but for now, my only focus is on Will Brooks and taking his title.”