Bellator's Christian Edwards Is Ready For Top 15 Guy

It may have been his second bout in the promotion, but the head kick KO finish by Christian Edwards at Bellator 223 was his introduction to a lot of fans. The kick went viral through the various chains of social media, appeared on ESPN and had every MMA pundit talking. 

How quickly the kick took to the MMA world may not have surprised many who watched it unfold, but it surprised the one who threw it. 

“I didn’t expect it to blow up the way it did,” Edwards said. “It was pretty mind blowing seeing it on World Star Hip Hop, ESPN and crazy stuff like that.”

Edwards was quickly inundated with interview requests that had him on various podcasts and shows. Despite all that, the 21-year old prospect isn’t feeling the pressure of the situation. Instead, he is finding enjoyment in the process. 

“There’s not really any pressure,” Edwards explained. “Honestly I’m just happy my career is taking off as quickly as it is.”

Some of that ease is likely due to the training situation of Edwards. After striking a deal with his management team (Mata Leon) and Jackson-Wink MMA, Edwards has been training with the camp full time. While he does have a job on the weekends to make a little side money, the focus is almost entirely on fighting, a situation few prospects get to enjoy. 

Between the level of focus and the high level training it’s no wonder why Edwards is so comfortable in his career. However, that wasn’t the case when he first arrived. 

“I got [to Jackson-Wink] in July of last year and at first it was pretty intimidating training with people like Jon Jones and Michelle Waterson and John Dodson,” he said. “All of these people I’ve been watching fight for a long time. Now it’s whatever. They’re just my teammates.”

After building some momentum, Edwards is ready to get back into the cage. He targets early 2020 as a likely time to get back in and he’s sure that both of his Bellator performances should make that happen. 

“I’m honestly looking at February, at least,” he said. “But we’ll see, man. I’m sure they’ll take care of me, they’ll find me another fight quickly because I’ve had two really impressive performances - they know I’ll be a household name in Bellator soon.”

As far as who is on the radar of the young man - he’ll of course fight just about anyone. If Bellator wants him to take it slow, he recognizes the situation. If they have other plans, he’ll be ready for those too. 

“There’s no particular opponent that I want. I’m ready to fight anybody,” Edwards shared. “They want to put me up against a top 15 guy - I know I’ll be ready for that fight”

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Clash Of The Titans: Nick Rodriguez vs Victor Hugo

Titans take the stage as Fight to Win 135 makes its way to Sacramento, California, on Saturday, January 18, with a main event between No. 2-ranked +99kg grappler Nick Rodriguez (Renzo Gracie Academy) and 2019 No-Gi Absolute World Champion and No. 4-ranked +99kg grappler, Victor Hugo (Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu). 

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Titans take the stage as Fight to Win 135 makes its way to Sacramento, California, on Saturday, January 18, with a main event between No. 2-ranked +99kg grappler Nick Rodriguez (Renzo Gracie Academy) and 2019 No-Gi Absolute World Champion and No. 4-ranked +99kg grappler, Victor Hugo (Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu). 

Watch Fight to Win 135 LIVE 

Jan. 18 | 2 PM EST

Nick Rodriguez and Victor Hugo are a couple of the most talked-about up-and-coming athletes in the grappling scene, but for entirely different reasons, making this match a must-see. 

Nicky Rod is the breakout phenomenon that everyone underestimated because he was “just” a blue belt with a wrestling pedigree when he wrecked shop at ADCC. 

Victor Hugo is one of the most promising rising ultra-heavyweights, originally regarded for his accomplishments in the gi but now notorious as the man who submitted Cyborg in the absolute final at No-Gi Worlds. 

The Danaher Death Squad purple belt Rodriguez was dubbed the “black belt slayer” after running the gauntlet to the silver medal at ADCC. Since then he’s had a number of high-profile matches against elite black belts, most recently defeating BJJ black belt and former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold at Polaris. 

He’s known as the “wrestler-turned-grappler” because his success relies heavily on his relentless, explosive style and wrestling instincts. If you ask Nicky he will reveal that, contrary to popular belief, he wasn’t Division I or All-American. In fact, he was just Division III for a year before turning to modeling and jiu-jitsu. He’s a bit smaller for the +99kg division, but we’ve seen it pay off as he performs moves not commonly seen in the heavier weight divisions: cartwheel passing, rolling kimuras, all the agility of a lighter athlete paired the brutality of his, still titanic, size. He’s consistent, steadfast in his game plan to take the back and strangle his opponents, and he’s up for anything making his performances some of the most fan-friendly grappling matches. 

But Victor Hugo is a different kind of ultra-heavyweight. He’s incredibly long, towering above the tallest guys. While Nicky Rod prefers to scrap on the feet and stay on top, Hugo’s length creates a labyrinth of a guard that stumps even grapplers with the highest mat-IQ. This could pose a serious threat to the less experienced no-gi sensation. Nick has admitted that he still has a lot of jiu-jitsu to learn, and avoids getting into deep leg entanglements. Although better known for his accomplishments in the gi (the guy has countless titles through the ranks), Hugo has won no-gi worlds at purple, brown, and now black in the absolute division, so his no-gi game should not be underestimated. In December he created an uproar submitting four-time no-gi world champion Cyborg via kneebar in less than a minute to become the absolute champ. 

Will Nicky Rod’s athleticism prevail, or will Victor Hugo’s experience and jiu-jitsu remain dominant?

More on the card:

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The women’s brown belt lightweight gi title is on the line between defending champ, Joy Pendell (Dustin Akbari BJJ) and Heather Woods (Atos). 

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