Javy Ayala returns to San Jose this weekend following his stellar performance against Roy Nelson at Bellator 183. He faces another challenge in veteran Cheick Kongo who is on a five-fight win streak with nearly a year after his split decision victory against Augusto Sakai.
Javy is embracing the role of young hungry underdog, learning from each bout against top heavyweight talent.”With Roy, it was a tough fight, it showed me some flaws that I had and things to work on to improve my game and take me to my next level. I feel like now I’m finally starting to shine through, everything’s piecing together and I’m only getting better.I’m hoping I can face as many vets as I can. It’s an honor going in there with these guys, I’ve watched them growing up and now I’m getting hit up to fight them.”
When asked about preparation for a fight against a former world kickboxing champion and a past Bellator heavyweight tournament winner, Javy stated he’s feeling confident on the feet.“Training for a fight with Cheick has improved my striking. We watched a lot of tape of his and now I feel super confident that if the fight stays standing and he decides to trade with me I’ll have the upper hand. But we’ll just have to see how it goes. He’s starting to slow down and grind out the fights, playing it safe. He’s not looking for finishes as often. We’re in the heavyweight division all it takes is one shot.” One shot was all it took in the most recent Heavyweight bout between Fedor Emelianenko and Frank Mir.
An outcome close to the prediction made by Ayala when MMA UK asked him about the Grand Prix matchups. He’s been watching the bouts closely after Scott Coker named him one of the alternatives should someone get injured. “I’ve been enjoying the tournament, it’s going to be interesting to see some of these smaller guys matched up against the big boys in the next rounds. It kinda sucks that I wasn’t involved but I understand why the opponents were chosen”.
The Heavyweight Grand Prix has done well, shining spotlight on the division and Ayala is hopeful it will set him up to face the experienced contenders down the road. Until then he plans to stay active looking to fight at least twice in 2018.
His cousin UFC bantamweight fighter Joe Soto recently peaked his interest in competing in grappling in between cage fights. “Me and Joe have always been close since we were younger. Moving to his gym that he started up here in town has made a big difference in my skills, he’s an amazing grappler, he does things that just blow your mind. We’ve been looking for a local grappling tournament for me to compete in when I’m not scheduled to fight with Bellator”. But this weekend he’s focused on stopping the momentum of Cheick Kongo in the main card bout.
Tune in to Bellator 199 on the Paramount Network May 12th, 2018 9 pm ET
Event: Bellator 199: “Bader vs. King Mo”
Date: Sat., May 12, 2018, on Paramount Network
Location: SAP Center in San Jose, California
Bellator 199 Main Event:
265 lbs.: Ryan Bader (24-5) vs. Muhammed Lawal (21-6, 1 NC)
Bellator 199 Main Card (9 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Jon Fitch (30-7-1, 1 NC) vs. Paul Daley (40-15-2)
265 lbs.: Cheick Kongo (27-10-2) vs. Javy Ayala (10-6)
155 lbs.: Carrington Banks (7-0) vs. Adam Piccolotti (9-2)
145 lbs.: Aaron Pico (2-1) vs. Lee Morrison (19-8)
Bellator 199 Undercard:
145 lbs.: Janay Harding (3-3) vs. Amber Leibrock (2-1)
170 lbs.: James Terry (19-9) vs. Danasabe Mohammed (5-1)
185 lbs.: Brandon Hester (4-0) vs. Diego Herzog (4-2-1)
125 lbs.: Mark Climaco (1-0) vs. Daniel Oseguera (debut)
155 lbs.: Elias Anderson (pro debut) vs. Hyder Amil (1-0)
135 lbs.: Josh San Diego (7-3) vs. Nohelin Hernandez (7-2)
170 lbs.: Dominic Sumner (1-2) vs. Tom Oswald (1-0)
135 lbs.: Khai Wu (1-0) vs. Cass Bell (debut)
125 lbs.: Josh Paiva (9-2) vs. Adam Antolin (13-3)
135 lbs.: Justin Tenedora (1-1) vs. David Rivera-Cruz (debut)