Lightweight Dave Jansen has been on a tear since joining Bellator in mid-2011, winning five consecutive fights and raising his record to an impressive 19-2. He has no intention of stopping there.
Jansen told MMAWeekly.com the reason he’s been so successful of late is because he’s joined one of Oregon’s premier rising teams at Sports Lab. His work with the team has helped him diversify as a fighter and, as such, Jansen has a newfound love for the sport again.
“Now it’s not that I have to get the takedown anymore,” he said. “Ground and pound is still my strongest skillset, but it’s not a necessity. I’m not uncomfortable with the head movement and footwork anymore.
“Striking is exciting also. It’s kind of brought the fun back into MMA now that I have confidence in my hands now.”
Jansen was to have initially fought his Bellator Season 7 lightweight tournament final bout against Marcin Held at Bellator 84. Held was only 20 years old at the time, however, so he was not allowed in the casino that hosted the event. The fight was thus postponed until Thursday night at Bellator 92 in Lewiston, Maine, live on Spike TV.
Because of the delay, Jansen quipped that he’s seen more of Held in tape sessions than he has of his family this year.
“I’ve watched him more than any other fighter I ever have since I’ve been in training for this fight for four months now,” joked Hansen. “I have a connection with Marcin Held like no other human on the planet right now.”
Jansen feels his training will give him the advantage on their feet, while his intense study of Held will allow him to neutralize his opponent on the ground.
“I think Marcin’s got holes in his stand-up game and is kind of where I was three years ago; punches get thrown at him and he dips his chin in the process at times,” said Jansen. “On the ground, he’s really good at sweeping and inverted guard, and it’s not just his leg locks, he’s really good with threatening arm bars.
“A lot of fighters get in trouble on the ground when they get too heavy on one side, and he’s able to sweep that leg and roll. So I need to do what Michael Chandler (did against Marcin): keep my hips low, my weight heavy, and punching when I can and grappling when I need to and do damage.”
Should Jansen defeat Held on Thursday night, he’ll have achieved half his goals for joining Bellator in the first place.
“I thought if I won this tournament it would fast track me to the world title and radically change my career and standing in this sport,” said Jansen. “Nothing’s perfect, but I’m going to make the most of this opportunity.
“I’m going to win this tournament, win that title and shock the world and that’s my goal. No matter who I fight, I’m going to find a way to win.”