Alex Polizzi

Photo credit: Bellator MMA/ Lucas Noonan

Alex Polizzi on Grant Neal bout and the pursuit of Arby’s sponsorship

Alex Polizzi takes on Grant Neal in a light heavyweight preliminary bout. This transpires at Bellator 266 on September 18th. The pugilistic proceedings emanate from SAP Center in San Jose, California.

I spoke with Polizzi ahead of this fight and excerpts from our conversation are below.

Alex Polizzi

Being on another Bellator card with Chosen Few Gym teammate Mark Lemminger

“First got the fight, there was a little bit of talk about actually… I think Mark was supposed to have got offered that fight with Logan Storley. Back in the South Dakota Bellator match. However, he wasn’t able to do that. And so we were wondering whether he was gonna get something. Lucky enough that Mark got in on this San Jose card and we’re pretty excited.”

“We tend to do pretty good things when we’re on the same card. I try not to be superstitious, but it’s hard to argue with history. It’s nice having him in the room and everyone’s kind of thinking about the same stuff. So yeah, it’s been a blast.”

Getting back to the win column in his last bout at Bellator 260 and if that provided relief

“It’s nice getting back to the win column. And like I said before, I try to make sure that I’m keeping every fight at coming into it zero and zero. I try not to focus too much on previous fights, wins and losses. I try to think more about what are we taking away from those fights? What are we gaining and how are we moving forward? But most assuredly, we’re happy to be back in the win column. I think, especially with that last fight, it was a better showing of my skills than previously seen.”

Alex Polizzi continues, “I know that this fighter is a great fighter and everything. But you know, it’s one of those fights that I felt like I didn’t bring everything I had to it. And whether that was bad preparation on my part, or just didn’t quite mesh out in the fight. But with this last one with (Gustavo) Trujillo, I was able to really get into my comfort zone and have some fun. Hopefully, that was reflected in watching it. You get to see some of the skills and see some of the stuff that I pride myself in doing well.”

Focusing on his own endeavors and refining skills as opposed to unwavering tape study

“Yeah, you kind of hit the nail on the head. I try not to focus too much on my opponents. And I think, in my wrestling career, there was a little bit where that’s what everybody else was doing. Everybody’s watching film and seeing what the opponent’s doing. And I think I realized, obviously the hard way with a little bit more getting added to the L column in my wrestling career, that it just didn’t really work for me.”

“And I found that focusing on myself not only helped with a better focus and training on what I can accomplish reasonably. In terms of training, learning, and developing techniques. But also in a sense of, just like every pro athlete has to do in combating nerves. I felt like when it was focusing on the opponent, it would come down to things like oh, no, he’s gonna do this blast double leg. I gotta make sure he doesn’t get the blast double leg.”

“It’s easy to become fixated on that. And then when it happens, because if you’re watching an opponent, they’re good at what they do. Then it’s like, oh no, he blast double-legged me. Now, I’ve surely lost… Versus if I just go out there and say, Hey, this is the stuff I’m good at doing. I don’t care what he’s gonna do, then I can continually focus on what I’m going to do well. If it happens, I’m probably gonna do it again. I think that’s helped me leaps and bounds again in terms of technique. And in just making sure that I maintain cool and collected before the fight and during the fight.”

The Bellator MMA rankings and fighting the number seven contender in Grant Neal

“Anytime I get the chance to fight a good pro opponent and somebody who I know is going to bring some challenge to the table as a fighter as a competitor, I’m of course excited. I don’t know how Bellator would feel about me saying that I don’t really pay too much attention to rankings. But from my experience, nobody’s in Bellator that’s bad. Everybody is good.”

Alex Polizzi continues, “And the rankings can be just dependent on who’s having a good day, who’s having a good week, who had a better time in training camp. So I mean, I’m trusting that if Bellator’s set me up with somebody that they’re going to be of a high skill level. And I’m just excited to get out there and show everybody what I’ve been working on. Just have fun.”

Fans in attendance versus fans not in attendance when competing

“If you had asked me the same question before I had gotten to experience the no fans, I would have said I don’t really care. That’s part of it too, you know. I try to keep calm and collected. I don’t need to get amped, jazzed up by the crowd, or whatever. But yeah, that previous interview, it is sort of weird to hear the sideline coaching happening.”

“And it’s almost like that eerie sort of quiet when there’s nothing going on. So I’m definitely glad to have some of the background noise back. If nothing else, just to make sure that the opponent’s coach is a little bit more distracted and not reading my mind so hard.”

The attention Polizzi got about our Arbys chat and if he hit up the Beloit Arby’s in July

“That’s just me generally eating weird stuff and seeing if I can get any bites. Again, I see a lot of other successful fighters and media pages talking. There’s the classics which are like them working out, inspirational quotes, and doing hard training. But there’s a whole other side of fighters that maybe people don’t get. That’s going to Arby’s, that’s eating a bunch of junky food, eating a bunch of bar food, and maybe hanging out on a slackline a couple of days. So I feel like that’s an important facet that I’m trying to get in on and show people.”

A proud son of Beloit and if The Rock Bar and Grill is going to be doing a watch party for the fight

“We’ve been trying to make sure that stays a staple. I feel like it’s pretty easy to access my fights. Bellator does a good job of putting the prelim cards up on YouTube. It’s free to watch and check out. But for anyone who’s maybe having a little trouble on their phone or doesn’t want to deal with the YouTube or just wants to have that crowd experience, The Rock usually does a pretty good job of putting my fights up. Serving up a beer along with maybe a burger and you can watch me try to fight some guy in a cage.”

Parting thoughts for Alex Polizzi

“Just making sure again, I got some sponsors to thank. Those guys know who they are. But wrapping it up real quick. Got to thank everyone who does tune in. Whether you’re YouTube, whether you’re heading to The Rock (Bar and Grill), whether you’re buying tickets and watching it live. It’s not just a matter of W’s and L’s. If nobody watches me fight, I could be winning all the time but if nobody watches me fight they’ll quit booking me.”

“So I really appreciate it when people tune in and maybe enjoy some of my matches. Even half as much as I enjoy them then you’re getting your money’s worth. Just make sure that you keep on keeping on because I like fighting. I want to keep doing it for everybody who likes watching.”

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