Cris Lencioni went into his Bellator 221 fight against Adil Benjilany knowing he was the underdog.
After all, he was riding a two-fight losing streak. But, “Sunshine” pulled off something of an upset, as he locked in a triangle choke in the first round and got the submission win.
Once he had the submission attempt, he knew it was all over.
“I knew once I had it. It sounds douchey, but this is what I know. When I lock something up like that it is over,” Lencioni said to Sherdog.com. “I run my own BJJ gym. I knew that submission was in and he was going out. I’ve been in that situation thousands of times in my own gym that are tougher than that guy. I thought maybe that I f—k him up enough here that next round I knock him out because I don’t have any knockouts. Everyone thinks I can’t strike.”
With the win, the 24-year-old wants a spot in the Bellator featherweight grand prix, which is expected to begin in October.
“It f—-ing better. Think about it, he was 5-1 with four knockouts,” he said. “Not only that, I honestly think I was meant to lose that. I think that fight I was supposed to lose that. There are different levels in this game. I have a real opportunity to get in that tournament and f—k s—t up.”
Competing in the tournament would be a significant achievement for both Lencioni and his gym, Gracie Barra Portland.
“It would mean pretty much everything to me in terms of my fighting accomplishments,” he concluded. “It would basically show my entire team what we can accomplish. I knew nothing four years ago. It would just show everybody like we have one of the best gyms in the world. That is something.”