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Linton Vassell’s Measured Desperation


While some say desperate times call for desperate measures, Linton Vassell does not necessarily believe that to be the case.

The longtime Bellator MMA contender will enter his second Professional Fighters League assignment of 2024 without a point in the heavyweight standings, as his rubber match with Valentin Moldavsky headlines PFL 4 on Thursday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. While Vassell understands the need to get off the proverbial schneid, the 41-year-old Englishman believes anything outside of controlled aggression could result in his wandering into unnecessary danger.

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“Of course, I’ll be looking for the finish, but it will come when it comes,” he told Sherdog.com. “I think if I try and force it, I’ll probably walk into something silly or end up messing stuff up. When you try and force things, it doesn’t come.”

Vassell has met Moldavsky on two previous occasions. He put away the Russian with punches and elbows in the first round of their Bellator 292 encounter on March 10, 2023, avenging a decision defeat to Moldavsky four years earlier. Considerable intrigue surrounds their trilogy bout.

“I think he’s going to have a trial,” Vassell said. “I know he’s not happy about me beating him the last time the way I did, so I can see him making some mistakes and [me] clipping him again. I’ve also made a few changes and thought long and hard about this rematch. The best thing is to try and get through this quickly, but I won’t be searching for it too much. I think it’ll come.

“When we fought [the first time], that was my first fight at a heavyweight for Bellator,” he added. “When we fought [the second time], obviously, I ended up finishing with a knockout; and it was pretty quick, so I know that’s going ’round in his head. I know he’ll be thinking of that when we fight. I’ve got all the confidence in the world. I know how good I am.”

Vassell continues to operate out of Kill Cliff Fight Club in Deerfield Beach, Florida, where coaches Greg Jones, Henri Hooft, Said Saparov, Sean Soriano and Jason Strout oversee his late-career development. They have tuned up his arsenal ahead of his latest showdown with Moldavsky.

“The gym is full of killers,” Vassell said. “Teammates have been helping me out. I’m ready and good to go. Been adding some circuits in, as well. I usually do the circuits, but I’m going back to it and doing a few things a little bit different, not too much, just adding a few more things in to change it up a little bit. I’ll be fully prepared for this.”

Vassell finds himself on the rebound after he opened the regular season with a third-round technical knockout loss to Denis Goltsov at PFL 1 on April 4. He can ill afford another misstep if he wants to qualify for the PFL playoffs and a shot at a $1 million payday.

“We all have bad nights, we all have hiccups,” he said. “It’s what you do after. Been working on certain things and working on the same things that have got me to where I am today. I’ve left no stone unturned for this fight.”
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