MMA: New Zealand's Jay-Jay Wilson reflects on statement win at Bellator 214

Rising Kiwi MMA featherweight Jay-Jay Wilson continued his flawless start to his professional career with a lightning fast finish of Tyler Beneke at Bellator 214 in Los Angeles on Sunday.

The recently-crowned Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion needed less than two minutes to drag his American opponent his into his clutches, where the fight-ending rear-naked choke became a mere formality as he moved to a 2-0 record.

Wilson's coaches at Alliance MMA in San Diego had formulated the blueprint to victory at the start of his training camp, and the series of movements that led to his opponent's downfall couldn't have gone more according to that plan.

"I'd been drilling the same takedown and the same sequence for the past three months," Wilson told Newshub.

"My game plan going into the fight was to use my hands to close the gap on him, put him against the cage, put him down and get the finish."

"It was funny because I have video clips of me drilling exactly the same thing that actually happened in the fight, and we warmed up inside the cage before the event started and I was drilling exactly the same thing. It was awesome to see that exactly what I was doing pay off."

The 21-year-old was fighting on the preliminary card of one of the North American promotion's biggest events of the year - the final of their heavyweight Grand Prix tournament, with the main event a marquee match-up between Ryan Bader and the iconic Russian great, Fedor Emelianenko.

The lights at Los Angeles' Forum were easily the brightest Wilson had fought under, which made the absence of any real nerves suprising, even to the Aucklander himself.

"I was feeling super confident. It was kind of weird, it just felt like it was my home. I felt really comfortable in there. I wasn’t nervous at all.

With Beneke's tap came an outpouring of emotion from the young Kiwi, who realised the magnitude of the statement he'd just made.

"I had a lot of adrenaline so there was a big adrenaline dump and I just ran out, jumped on top of the cage and screamed a little bit, did a pukana to everyone.

MMA: New Zealand's Jay-Jay Wilson reflects on statement win at Bellator 214
Photo credit: Image - Supplied; Video - Instagram/@Bellator

Despite the quick finish, there was plenty for Wilson to take away from the bout. The lack of damage taken also enables him to make a hasty turnaround for his next bout, and his management team are already in talks to have him added to Bellator's Oklahoma City event in late March.

"Just getting that experience inside the cage and in that environment, especially on a card like that, it means a lot. I'm feeling more comfortable inside the cage and I've definitely made a statement now, they all know who I am now.

"Hopefully I want to try to have three more fights before the end of the year, try end the year 5 and 0 and next year make some noise - try and get in top 10 and contest for the belt

"Bellator is treating me really well and they're excited to have me back in March. I want to see what happens in that fight and see where I can go from there."

Wilson's performance also caught the eye of a certain Brazilian martial arts star, former UFC world champion Lyoto Machida.

"Me and his fighter were the only ones from red corner were the only ones that won the whole night.

When I came back he congratulated me, it was bad ass to have a legend like that recognise me."

And there were no nightclubs or after parties in sight for Wilson as he soaked up his big win - he had eyes for one thing only.

"I celebrated by eating a lot. My diet had been pretty strict, so my celebration was a whole bunch of burgers and ice cream," he laughed.


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