Tywan Claxton is going to have to wrestle in Jay-Jay Wilson’s opinion.
It’s not the worst thing for Jay Jay Wilson, who has four of his five wins by submission. The jiu-jitsu black belt is slated to fight the former NCAA wrestler, Claxton at Bellator 242 in Uncasville, CT on Friday, July 24.
Wilson is always testing his jiu-jitsu prowess, even bumping up 20 pounds to compete at Jitsking on June 13. As “The Moari Kid” looks for another finish on Friday, he is willing to put his jiu-jitsu up against the promotion’s best.
“Anyone in Bellator at 145, my jiu-jitsu is on another level. It’s a threat to anyone who wants to be in there with me,” Wilson said. “After a few shots, after exchanging hands a little bit, he’s gonna want to go to what he’s good at, everyone does.”
Style vs. style
Wilson is all smiles knowing Claxton’s only professional defeat is second-round submission loss. Emmanuel Sanchez caught Claxton in a triangle choke at Bellator 226 last September.
Claxton rebounded with a unanimous decision win against Braydon Akeo at Bellator 235 back in December. Wilson is not convinced his opponent’s ground game is much improved since losing to Sanchez.
“The one thing I learned in jiu-jitsu is you can’t get better at jiu-jitsu in one year,” WIlson said. “You could be training jiu-jitsu for three years and still not be at the highest level. It gives me a little more confidence when we hit the ground.”
Wilson labels Claxton as his toughest test to date. At 6-1, Claxton won four of his Bellator bouts by finish.
An alum of the Bellator featherweight tournament, Claxton is a staple in the 145-pound division.
Like Claxton, Wilson made his professional debut under the Bellator banner. He defeated two opponents in their professional debut before taking a step up in competition within the promotion. He finished Jorge Juarez and Mario Navarro in Bellator, who hold a combined record of 9-8.
“By far, this is the toughest guy I will be fighting,” Wilson said. “I am excited to go out there and show what I got.” I think I have all the weapons to beat him.”
Making an impression
Earning a main event spot against veteran like Claxton is a clear opportunity for the 22 year old. Wilson prides himself on being more than a ground specialist, praising his cardio and striking.
But if Claxton wants to go to the ground, Wilson will oblige.
“He’s a first round fighter, he comes out super explosive and I can keep up. The thing is with me is my gas tank doesn’t empty, so I can keep up and keep going at the same pace the whole time,” Wilson said. “I’m looking to just be sticky on him and make him regret coming into the cage with me.”
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.