Bellator MMA finally returns to a familiar venue inside the Mohegan Sun Arena for their CBS Sports premier. The event is mid-week, set for Thursday, October 15, 2020. This is a huge stage for many of the fighters not at the top of the billing to show a wider international audience what they bring to the sport. One of those names known in tight MMA circles, but is ready for a mainstream break out is second-generation Israeli fighter Aviv Gozali.
Second-Generation Fighter Carrying the Torch
Mixed martial arts is still a young sport compared to others in the fact there aren’t many parent-child combinations who have competed at the highest levels. Aviv Gozali is lucky enough to be one of those sons who had a father compete in the sport at a high level. Haim Gozali, the father of Aviv, is a fourth-degree BJJ black-belt under Renzo Gracie and is the president of ADCC Israel, along with being the first Israeli to compete at an ADCC event. He is also the first Israeli to compete inside New York’s famed Madison Square Garden. “My father helped me a lot, all the time even when he’s in Israel and I’m in New York. He’s taking care of everything, I couldn’t ask for better than him,” Aviv told MyMMANews.
Sharing the Spotlight With His Father
Aviv and Haim have shared a cage on the same night twice in their careers. “We did it twice. We fought on the same card in Israel in 2018 and 2019. It’s much more harder because I need to be focused on his fight and mine at the same time,” Aviv stated. “This year he fought just one fight before me and I couldn’t lay down in the dressing room. I was stressed out, but when we both won, it’s the best feeling in the world.”
Star on the Rise
Aviv burst onto the Bellator scene as a debuting pro fighter with a lot to prove. In his debut at Bellator 209, Aviv performed a beautiful armbar submission. He transitioned from the armbar to a triangle, back to the armbar. His second outing was just as impressive earning another first-round finish, this time with the rear-naked choke. His first breakthrough moment came in his third pro fight against a seasoned veteran of nearly 20 fights, Eduard Muravitskiy, at Bellator 225. Aviv immediately shot in with an Imanari roll, locking in a heel hook in just 11 seconds, setting the record for the quickest submission in Bellator history. In his most recent outing a Bellator 234, Aviv finished off another veteran in Zaka Fatullazade with an anaconda choke in under one minute of action.
Fighter With Next-Level Ability
COVID may have put a tamper on Aviv’s amazing momentum. He is ready to step into the CBS Sports spotlight just like it’s any other day. “For me, a fight, it’s the same like sparring in the gym. I’m coming to do my show, to work the same as I work in the gym. I can’t wait for Thursday to put the show on,” Aviv stated. You are assured to see an outstanding performance by the next generation of Gozali MMA stars. This is also the next generation of Bellator champions.
I am a life-long MMA fan who has been a fan since UFC 1. I was born in Illinois but raised in South Louisiana, home of many great mixed martial artists. I started martial arts at the age of 4 and continued into my adult years where I served nearly 10 years in law enforcement. I feel my job is to convey the stories of the MMA fighters we enjoy to watch and share their stories with the world.
Follow me on Twitter @LAknockoutMMA