More than a Girl with a Ground Game

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Bellator MMA on Friday heads back to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, with Bellator 241—a card that showcases intriguing talent from the first prelim to the main event. One of the competitors who continues to fly under the radar is Jessy Miele, a surging women’s featherweight contender who has designs on securing a title shot. “The Widowmaker” will square off with crafty veteran Leslie Smith in her toughest test to date.

“It is going to be a fun one,” Miele told Sherdog.com. “It is going to be great to watch for my fans out there. She’s fought in the UFC. She has fought some really good names, like [Cristiane] ‘Cyborg’ [Justino], for example. I’m ready for her, no matter what. It is just exciting to fight another UFC veteran.”

Miele has compiled a 9-3 record as a pro. She sharpened her skills mostly on New England’s regional scene but has begun to garner more widespread attention since she joined the Bellator roster. The 34-year-old finds herself on a four-fight winning streak that includes wins over Ultimate Fighting Championship alum Elizabeth Phillips and former Bellator title challenger Talita Nogueira. Miele defeated Nogueira by split decision in her Bellator debut.

“Every win against these girls is going to get me to the next level,” she said. “Whatever happens, happens. Anything can always happen. I could get caught in anything at any time, but I am bringing the best Jess, a better Jess, than the last one. I’m ready.”

Across her nine career victories, six have come by way of stoppage. However, her last two wins resulted in split decisions. Miele, a Connecticut native, plans a more dominant performance against Smith.

“I’m finishing this one,” she said. “This one is not going to a decision.”

With the Bellator featherweight division still quite shallow in terms of talent, Miele could put herself in position to challenge Justino for the 145-pound championship if she can take care of business against Smith. Though the prospect of facing Justino remains tantalizing, the Underdog MMA rep refuses to look past Smith.

“One fight at a time,” Miele said. “I am not going to get ahead of myself. March 13 is a huge day for me. I am so amped and focused on this fight. This is my top priority. I will have to see what happens after that.”

Whether or not her showdown with Smith leads to a title fight, Miele expects it to change the way fans view her.

“The fans are going to be saying, ‘I didn’t know Jessy Miele was good in different areas. I thought she was just a ground game person,’” she said. “Everyone somehow thinks I am just a ground game person. I am not just a ground game person. I can bring it in the standup. It doesn’t mean I am going to bring it in the standup. I might bring it to the ground, I might bring it in the standup. I might bring it everywhere. I think they will be saying, ‘She is someone to follow, she is well-rounded in every area and she is someone who performs.”


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