Jalin Turner: Beating Mateusz Gamrot answers people’s doubts about my grappling
LAS VEGAS – Jalin Turner sees much larger incentive in beating Mateusz Gamrot over Dan Hooker.
Turner (13-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC) was originally scheduled to face Hooker in a lightweight bout on Saturday’s UFC 285 main card, but Gamrot (21-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) stepped in after Hooker withdrew due to injury.
In Gamrot, Turner gets a higher-ranked opponent and he’s ready to put his grappling to the test against one of the division’s best wrestlers.
“It definitely feels a lot bigger to me,” Turner told reporters at the UFC 285 media day Wednesday. “He’s ranked above me, so inevitably, it’s more important.
“I feel like the last question that people want me to answer is, ‘How’s Jalin’s grappling? How’s this? How’s that?’ A victory over Mateusz would definitely solidify a lot of doubts in people’s minds about my grappling accolades and my takedown defense, so I’m ready for the challenge.”
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The change in opponent didn’t faze Turner too much. Although Hooker is a striker, he expected to be defending takedowns from “The Hangman,” too.
“I stick to what I do,” Turner said. “I always just try to execute my own game plan (and) not worry about my opponent too much. But in preparation for this fight with Hooker, I was anticipating him trying to take me down, anyway, so it kind of all played together pretty well.”
UFC 285 takes place Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 285.