Cal Ellenor v James Gallagher takes the main event slot at Bellator Dublin on Feb. 22.
James Gallagher will once again headline a show in his home country as he faces off second time lucky with Cal Ellenor. The fight was originally booked for this past September but Ellenor was forced out of the fight. Gallagher went onto make have a short night by submitting Roman Salazar via guillotine choke in the first round.
Ellenor was forced to withdraw from the bout for safety reasons due to a concerning brain scan. Thankfully, Ellenor got the all-clear. He’s considered fit to compete once again, as the medical practitioners had made a mistake in the diagnosis.
Ellenor (8-2) made his first Bellator walk and debuted in Newcastle in February of last year. He made quick work of Nathan Greyson with an impressive first-round submission win. Although Gallagher has the Bellator experience in his favour, Ellenor has dealt with the pressure of fighting under big crowds before. He fought in South Africa for ‘EFC Worldwide’ in sold-out stadiums, earning him the No. 6th rank out of 38 active fighters in South Africa as a bantamweight.
Gallagher (10-1) comes into the fight with a dominant amateur and professional record that has seen him cruise through the majority of his opponents. Most of his wins coming via submission. Gallagher’s grappling credentials have seen him take out five out of seven opponents with his deadly submission threats. Gallagher’s professional career has only seen him taste defeat once when he was knocked out by Ricky Bandejas. Since then, the strong-minded Irishman has bounced back with three wins in a row.
Stylistically, this is a great matchup for both. It can be a chance for Ellenor to make a name for himself by taking Gallagher out, and if successful, the worldwide scene would soon know his name. As for Gallagher, this could prove to be his toughest test to date and would be a hard-fought win on his record.
We are extremely thankful for Cal Ellenor giving us time to hear his thoughts ahead of his fight in Dublin.
This marks your second bout under Bellator, what’s the process been like fighting under a major organisation compared to the regional scene?
Ellenor – “Fighting for Bellator has been amazing but it’s something I’m already kind of used to. I fought for an organisation in South Africa called EFC. It’s not as big globally as Bellator is but it’s massive crowds, it’s in big sold-out casinos. The atmosphere’s always wild and fighting for EFC gave me a glimpse of what it would be like fighting for those major organisations. That alone prepares me for it. I fought three times there, one being the co-main event on one of their biggest shows, so it definitely got me prepared for the bigger stages. The difference for me on fighting for Bellator compared to the regional scene is the pressure I put on myself.”
In the buildup and interviews, you’ve seemed calm and relaxed. Does it not faze you at all fighting in your opponent’s backyard knowing the crowd will be against you?
Ellenor – “That’s the kind of style I have, I’m always calm and relaxed. I try not to let too many of these outside factors get to us, like crowds, etc. As I said, I’ve already put myself into hostile environments before. James always says the audience will get the better of me and I’ll crumble but that’s the kind of fight I want to be in. I’ve put myself in this position for a reason, this is why I called him out, this is why I wanted the fight and even more so why I wanted it in Dublin because I truly believe I’m the right kind of person that adapts well to these environments, atmosphere and all that pressure and obviously the crowd will be against us.
Everyone will probably want me to lose. It just makes it even sweeter and motivates me even more. A fight like this puts the fire in my belly and makes me want to get up every morning and really graft. I’d love to go to Dublin and have an iconic fight like a bloodbath. It’s the main event on Channel 5. I want to show the world what’s up and where I’m at and really show my level.”
James is a very controversial opponent to be fighting, some dislike him and some support him. He tends to talk a lot about his opponents, how do you prepare for someone like that?
Ellenor – “ Yeah James is controversial. I’ve dealt with these people before, when I fought Jacobs in South Africa he was a bit like that. Not as well known as James on the world level but he’s a very dangerous fighter and knocked a lot of guys out in kickboxing and in MMA. He’s got a really aggressive striking style, a different style to James as he’s more grappling based but super dangerous opponent and he was a big talker. I’ve boxed my whole life and I’ve dealt with these things before. This is my 41st fight so when I say I’ve dealt with these people before I’ve already been in this whole environment and a lot of the guys James fight haven’t experienced that.
James is a confidence fighter. If it’s not going his way you can see how quickly he can give up, whereas there’s no quit in me. There was a doubt in my mind when the fight got pulled were I didn’t know if I’d get this one back then there was a thought in the back of my mind I would get this one back as it’s stylistically a good fight for both of us.”
Two wins from two would be a huge start to your Bellator career. How important is it for you to pick up the win and gain some momentum behind you?
Ellenor – “It’s real important for me. That’s why I work so hard I just want to make a life for myself and that’s what makes me not quit and get through whatever am going through in this fight.”
How do you view James as an opponent inside the cage and out?
Ellenor – “I view James a tough fight, he’s good at what he does and has some great skills. He’s a decent grappler and looks quite strong in certain positions. Overall I see a lot of holes in his game. He’s really well promoted for where he is level wise. I think there are a lot of tougher fights that I wouldn’t get anywhere near as much recognition for.
He’s definitely good and talented but I just believe I’m better. Outside the cage, it’s obviously just a show, when the cameras aren’t there he seems like a nice guy. I’ve actually crossed words with him like little it’s and bobs and he seems alright but when the cameras are there it’s a different situation. After it’s said and done I’ll shake his hand as I do after every fight, as it’ll be squashed. Win or lose, I’ll respect my opponents after the fight.”
Below are Cal Ellenors social media accounts to support and get behind.
- Facebook – CalPacinoMMA
- Twitter – @CalPacinoMMA
- Instagram – calpacinomma
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