Darrion Caldwell is poised to fight Henry Corrales at Bellator 228. The bout is part of Bellator MMA‘s 16 man featherweight Grand Prix. Caldwell is on the heels of losing his bantamweight championship and is looking for a new lease on his fighting career in a different division. He takes on a man in Henry Corrales who has been notching some pretty emphatic finishes and has a strong win streak heading into this fight.
Darrion Caldwell has made several switches in his preparations as of late. One change has come from a return to Pinnacle after leaving Alliance MMA. Caldwell quipped, “I’ve been training at Pinnacle where I really grew as a Bellator fighter. I got to Alliance and didn’t really grow as a fighter and that’s a fact. I feel like I’ve helped people over there more than they’ve helped me.”
Caldwell described to me how he panicked and flipped the switch to go to Alliance MMA after the Joe Taimanglo loss. This is no longer the case and Alliance is no longer his gym. Caldwell said, “You’re gonna have ups, you’re gonna have downs.” He continued, “My last two outings have just been s***. I’ll be a different machine going out there. So I’m excited.” The aim seems to be having everyone buzzing about Darrion Caldwell Bellator 228 when all is said and done.
Featherweight Grand Prix
Bellator’s featherweight Grand Prix has brought in the promotion’s best 145 lb-ers who have a wide range of skills. Caldwell is quite aware of his own strengths but is cognizant of what the others in the tournament field bring to the table.
Caldwell said, “I think I’m the strongest wrestler but I think all of them have different abilities. Different attributes that can shine at moments. The whole goal is the belt. Henry’s not gonna fold, he’s not gonna bend, he’s not gonna break. He’s going to continue to fight. He’s going to fight until he has no life left.”
As far as who Caldwell wants to win between Pitbull and Archuleta for the Bellator 228 main event, he doesn’t mince words. He said, “Hopefully, it’s Pitbull because I know I can get Archuleta at ’35”
Caldwell also stated, “Not only do I have the experience to win this thing but I have the ability to win this thing. I think guys are going to feel it once I step into the cage with them.” Part of this comes from Caldwell’s experience in the championship rounds that he’s had. Even though he took some disappointing back to back losses to Kyoji Horiguchi, Caldwell managed to find a silver lining from the defeats.
Caldwell stated, “I’m coming off multiple five-round fights. There’s a lot of variables that plays into me stepping up to 145 in the Grand Prix. The guys are a little bit slower. The pace just isn’t the same. So for me, I think there’s a lot of ways for me to come out of this tournament on the other side as the champion.”
Darrion Caldwell Bellator 228
Though Caldwell is confident he speaks quite highly of his opponent and knows he’s in for a stiff test. Caldwell said, “I think Henry, he came into Bellator fighting the best guys that they had to offer. He didn’t have any easy fights. Took a few licks early on and he brushed himself off and continued fighting. I think I’m going to be able to push my pace, put the fight where I want it, and ultimately come out with a victory.”
The million-dollar prize for the Grand Prix victor is something that has been discussed a lot. If Caldwell wins this Grand Prix, he has some helpful ideas for how he would spend the winnings. Caldwell quipped, “I would buy a lot of s***. There’s a lot of things to get invested in. There’s a lot of futures to be helped.”
Helping others as you build yourself
Caldwell also involves himself in philanthropic efforts in his off time. He seems to enjoy using his platform and profile to help out people who are in a rough spot in life. Caldwell said, “Without the platform to be able to do it, it’s going to go unnoticed. There’s plenty of kids around the area that I grew up in that need help and need support. Not only financially but just there for emotional support.”
Pool workouts for active recovery have been big for Darrion Caldwell ahead of this bout. Not only does it benefit his cardio and open up his lungs but there are also big cognitive benefits from it too. He stated, “Your body’s going to fire as long as your mind is right.”
Darrion Caldwell is locked in and ready to not only reassert himself but moreover reinvent himself with this tournament. Caldwell stated, “This thing here for me is to go get the strap at 145. I’ve always called it, I’ve always said I’d be a two-division world champion, I’ve envisioned this.” Caldwell continued, “By the end of this tournament, you’ll see a complete fighter you know?”
Caldwell vs Corrales goes Saturday, September 28th at Bellator 228. It goes at The Forum in Inglewood, California but fans can check it out on DAZN at 10 PM ET.
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