Bellator 131’s Joe Schilling: I don’t throw elbows to cut, I throw them to knock people out

Joe Schilling has had a rough go of it lately. In the weeks leading up to his first mixed martial arts fight in 6 years at Bellator 131, his father, with whom he had just recently rekindled a relationship, passed away.Bellator 131 Poster NEW

During a visit to spend time with his family, he received more heartbreaking news.

“My uncle was calling me all frantically saying that my cousin had just fallen off a balcony and died. That was a lot more shocking and harder to deal with. He was 23-years-old and he flew out for all my fights. But I’m a professional and both of them were really excited about this fight, so I’m gonna give them the fight they wanted to see. What else can I do, right?”

Dealing with that type of loss prior to a fight will likely have an effect on preparation. However, Schilling, one of the top ranked middleweight kickboxers in the world, is up to the task.

“A lot of my past sparring partners are top MMA guys who bring me in to prepare for an opponent. They would always encourage me to try MMA and I’ve been training Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling while working with those guys over the years. Then there was a break in my Glory contract and it seemed like the right time.”

Of course, squaring off against a fellow top ranked kickboxer in Melvin Manhoef certainly does not hurt.

“This is one of those rare times when you hear ‘world-class kickboxing’ to describe an MMA fight and it’ll actually be true. Melvin Manhoef has been billed as one of the top kickboxers in MMA because he does have world-class kickboxing.”

In addition to his high level kickboxing, Schilling feels as though his vast experience fighting in Muay Thai will prove to be an advantage.

“I was known for my elbows when I was fighting pure Muay Thai. I’ve won several belts and titles with elbows. I think elbows are incredibly under-used in MMA because an MMA fighter has to learn so many disciplines all at once. If Melvin gets past my reach, he’s going to run into my elbows and knees. I don’t throw elbows to cut, I throw them to knock people out.”

When he steps in the cage on Saturday, Joe Schilling will most certainly be fighting for the memory of his father and his cousin. While a victory would be nice, he also acknowledges that fans can expect, at the very least, to be entertained during his Bellator debut.

“Fans can expect to see two of the best kickboxers in the world trying to knock each others’ head off with four-ounce gloves. This is unarguably two of the best kickboxers you’ll see in an MMA cage, and both of them are extremely dangerous and aggressive, with tons of power.”