John De Jesus is fine with being the underdog against Vladyslav Parubchenko.
De Jesus is set to make his Bellator debut against the 16-1 Ukrainian in a 150-pound catchweight bout at Bellator 244 this Friday, Aug. 21. His walk to the cage inside the Mohegan Sun Arena is 11 years in the making.
Although Parubchenko hasn’t lost in over five years, the Florida native welcomes opportunities like this one.
“I’m all good with it. This is when I shine the most, when I’m that underdog and no one expects me to win,” De Jesus said.
“You can sleep on me all you want. The people who train with me day in and day out, they know what I’m about and they know what I’m about to bring.”
John De Jesus predicts a knockout
De Jesus expects nothing short of a knockout. Not much of a surprise, since he is coming off back-to-back knockout/TKO finishes.
Parubchenko on the other hand is one who likes to take the fight to the ground. In fact, 12 of his 16 victories come by submission.
De Jesus noted he is capable of wrestling and grappling, but does not plan to be on the ground for long with Parubchenko.
“If it does [go to the ground], I’m getting right back up. I’m not staying down there, I’m going to knock him out,” De Jesus said. “I’m touching people now and people are falling.”
De Jesus embraces the role of underdog and has faced high-caliber talent before. He’s gone three rounds in a loss to current UFC featherweight Danny Chavez. He’s also fought “Dana White’s Contender Series” alum Bill Algeo and former Ring of Combat featherweight champion Frank Buenafuente.
The Pittsburgh Academy product is unimpressed with the caliber of opponents Parubchenko has faced to date. Out of 16 career wins, nine of his victories came against opponents with .500 or less records.
This includes Parubchenko’s last two opponents.The Ukrainian has fought around the globe, making his United States debut this Friday.
De Jesus is looking to spoil the welcoming.
“He’s the biggest name and best record I fought so far,” De Jesus said. “I looked into his record, he’s fought nobodies over where he’s from. He’s going to be really shocked when I come into that cage, I don’t take a step back and I’m just coming down his throat.”
De Jesus thought his Bellator debut would come earlier. After Derek Campos withdrew from his bout with Adam Boric at Bellator 243 on Aug. 7, De Jesus was in the mix as a replacement.
In the end, Mike Hamel stepped in on short notice, losing by split decision.
Just two weeks later, De Jesus’s opportunity came. He expects it to be the first of many fights inside the Bellator cage.
De Jesus may be the underdog, but he plans to put the entire promotion on notice this Friday.
“I’m finally making moves, finally going to show the world what I’m really about,” De Jesus said. “People are either going to be mad at me or with me once I start calling out some names here soon.”
Connor Northrup once covered municipal meetings and promised himself never again. He is now combining his passion for Mixed Martial Arts and reporting all into one.