The semifinal round of the season ten Bellator lightweight tournament will take place on Friday night at Bellator 117 and Derek Anderson will look to advance to the tournament final when he takes on Marcin Held.
Anderson (11-0, 1NC) was signed by Bellator last year and defeated Patricky Pitbull at Bellator 98 by unanimous decision in his debut with the organization.
The victory over Pitbull secured his spot in this tournament and had a highlight reel knockout in the opening round against Brandon Girtz. After his fight was over and he was back in his locker room, Bellator MMA Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney came back to congratulate him on the victory.
“Bjorn came backstage and complimented me on my knockout of Brandon Girtz, so it feels good to get some recognition like that,” Anderson said. “I’ve gotten that exact same knockout before against a southpaw wrestler when he was shooting in. It’s always good to get a big knockout like that. It would definitely be sweet if that was considered for KO of the Year.”
Now everyone knows that Held is tremendous with his leg locks and Anderson is firmly aware of this as he has brought in some new training partners to prepare for the grappling of his opponent.
“If Marcin Held gets me in a foot lock, I think I’m going to let him break it,” Anderson stated. “I’m not quitting. If I tap out it’s over, but if I don’t, I still have a chance to win. Held’s been looking pretty good lately but I’ve been supremely confident and I’m looking forward to this. I’ve brought in some grappling specialists to focus on leg locks. A lot of my camps are fine-tuned to my opponent.”
“Obviously I have to watch out for his submissions, but he has to keep me on the ground to work them. I’m imagining that I’ll be on top if we’re on the ground, so that won’t be terrible for me. I hope he wants to strike with me because all I want to do is punch. I’ll be stronger and bigger than him too.”
While Held is known for his submissions, he does have four knockout victories in his career and has shown improvements in his striking over his past couple of fights. Even though Held has shown improvements in his striking, Anderson firmly expects him to try to take the fight to the ground.
“I’m obviously looking to keep it on the feet,” Anderson explained. “I’ve been having some big ol’ guys taking me down in practice so it’ll be tough for Held to. Even if he does take me down, I’m getting right back up. I might stay on the ground with him, especially if I’m on top. If he’s in my guard, that’s when he likes to drop back for leg locks. I’m a stand-up guy first of all anyway. Gameplans never really go like you expect, so I’m not much of a gameplan guy. I think my first punch is the extent of my gameplan.”
“Either way, he’ll probably want me on the ground and I’ll want to keep some distance on the feet. I want to end this one fast. I don’t want to knock Marcin Held too much. I’ve seen him knock somebody out before, but I see him sleeping in this fight.”