Linton Vassell

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Linton Vassell on Tyrell Fortune, Bellator 271, and title shot implications

Linton Vassell tests skills with Tyrell Fortune on November 12th at Bellator 271. This heavyweight co-feature emanates from Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, and broadcasts on Showtime.

I spoke with Vassell ahead of this clash between ranked contenders. Excerpts from our conversation can be found below.

Linton Vassell

Sanford MMA work with guys like Aung La N Sang and Marc Andre Barriault

“Yeah, so my usual teammates have come over with me this time. Kyle Noblitt, a heavyweight. Steve Mowry, obviously we’ve been training together for the last seven years. He is fighting also on the same card. Aung La N Sang. Yeah, a number of guys helped me out for this fight. And again, we’re a family. We’ve been training together for a long, long time. So it’s nothing new, if you know what I’m saying. Just keeping it sharp and staying on point, to be honest.”

The feeling with the Bellator 262 bout cancellation against Marcelo Golm

“There is some frustration. Whenever you’ve put some time and effort into getting ready for a fight. Fight camps are hard because you’re sort of pressing yourself like ‘Damn, man. Do I want to do this?’ We were a couple of weeks out. I think it was three weeks out. I felt amazing and I ended up hurting my back. And it was so frustrating. Because I was so close and felt so good. And for that to happen obviously, it wasn’t fun. But I’m back now. It’s crazy that that only seemed like a couple of weeks ago when I was supposed to be fighting Marcelo Golm. But look where we’re at now. I feel like things happen for a reason and that fight wasn’t supposed to happen.”

Bellator 271

Thoughts on Tyrell Fortune‘s main stylistic proclivities overall

“It was bound to happen at some point obviously. Him being obviously ranked number five right now, me just below it. I think we were going to fight maybe a year ago. It didn’t happen for some reason. He got matched up with someone else and vice versa. So it’s a great matchup. And again, definitely got number one contender implications involved in that. So it’s a fight that had to happen I feel like. I feel like I’m next for the title. So what better way than fighting someone that’s in the top 10 as well? Marcelo Golm wasn’t even in the top 10. So a win over him wouldn’t have guaranteed a title fight. A big win over Tyrell, that will do.”

A newfound level of clarity emerging at the top level of Bellator’s heavyweight hierarchy

“Definitely. Obviously, I have unfinished business with both of them guys (Ryan Bader and Valentin Moldavsky). I’m excited, I really am. So obviously hope them two get the fight, get the fight sorted, and stuff. And then we can move on from there. Get this fight done on Friday and then we’ll see what happens next.”

Back to back wins at heavyweight and the differences competing there as compared to his previous light heavyweight efforts

“Light heavyweight killed me. I wasn’t performing the way I know I can perform. At training, it got to a point where I was doing amazing. Around about a hundred kilos. Anything lower than that, I just felt more tired. I was getting injured. I’m a big guy. Cutting all that weight, it wasn’t good for me. Fighting at heavyweight now, I don’t have to worry about cutting any weight. I can eat good, train good. I can look after my body a little bit better and fight week doesn’t surround me cutting weight… So I haven’t got to worry about that. Heavyweight, it’s definitely the best decision I made.”

Bellator MMA

The close friendship connection with Cheick Kongo and why Vassell thinks he’ll not get locked in a cage with him

“There’s just too much there. When I first came to Bellator, I stayed with him for eight weeks. Helped him get ready. He really looked after me. I had no money. Obviously coming from the smaller levels. Yeah, he looked after me like a big brother. So I couldn’t get in there and fight him. Our friendship is too strong for that.”

Parting thoughts for Linton Vassell

“Just want to thank all my support. Tune into Showtime on Friday the twelfth.”

author avatar
Dylan Bowker
I've been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I've hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I've been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I've provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I've worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.