Julius Anglickas did not expect to be in this position.
The 30-year-old Lithuanian will fill in for Anthony Johnson when he challenges Vadim Nemkov for the undisputed Bellator MMA light heavyweight championship, as their grand prix semifinal headlines Bellator 268 on Saturday at the Footprint Center in Phoenix. Anglickas enters the short-notice assignment on the strength of a nine-fight winning streak. He last appeared at Bellator 257, where he took a three-round unanimous decision from Gregory Milliard on April 16.
As Anglickas approaches the most significant opportunity of his career, here are five things you might not know about him:
1. He put down roots in the American heartland.
Anglickas operates out of St. Charles MMA in St. Charles, Missouri, where he sharpens his skills alongside Ultimate Fighting Championship veterans Lance Benoist, Alptekin Ozkilic and Josh Sampo.
2. Success has become a habit.
The St. Charles MMA rep has not tasted defeat since he submitted to a third-round arm-triangle choke from Cameron Olson at a Victory Fighting Championship event on June 24, 2016—a span of five years, three months and 22 days.
3. He familiarized himself with the climb.
Anglickas laid claim to the vacant Legacy Fighting Alliance light heavyweight championship when he put away Clayton York with a second-round rear-naked choke in the LFA 60 headliner on Feb. 15, 2019. He remains one of only five men—Ryan Spann, Alex Polizzi, Fabio Cherant and Josh Silveira are the others—to capture the promotion’s 205-pound title.
4. The UFC turned him down.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship passed on the opportunity to sign Anglickas in 2019. He submitted Karl Reed with a rear-naked choke in the third round of their pairing on Season 3 of Dana White’s Contender Series. Anglickas landed in Bellator three months later.
5. He hunts the neck.
Anglickas has four submissions to his credit, all by rear-naked choke. In addition to his aforementioned victories over Reed and York, he took out Erick Murray with the maneuver 2:29 into the third round of their LFA 42 confrontation on June 8, 2018 and did the same to Bradan Erdman just 62 seconds into the first round of their Midwest Championship Fighting 16 pairing on Oct. 27, 2018.
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