Karl Albrektsson readies himself for his Bellator MMA debut and is taking on a former champion in his first outing. The promotional debutant will clash with Phil Davis in the co-main event of Bellator 231. The event goes down on Friday, October 25th at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. This is a compelling light-heavyweight bout and has divisional implications in two promotions. With Bellator and Rizin‘s relationship (coupled with Albrektsson’s prior Rizin run), the winner could be presented with several interesting matchmaking permutations.
This is a big fight for Albrektsson who has impressed many with his efforts on the Rizin circuit. He has the unique opportunity to jettison himself towards the top of the division. Albrektsson seems to be relishing in the moment. He said, “I feel this is the greatest fight for my life going to happen. I have nothing to lose and I just need to enjoy the moment and have fun in there. Everything else will take care of itself.”
Albrektsson is cognizant of what this moment represents and is acutely aware of Davis’ championship acumen. Karl Albrektsson said, “I’m very thankful for this opportunity and he has great skills in all areas. He’s very well rounded, very experienced, and very decorated as a wrestler. So it’s a great test for me and I want to take a tough fight. I want to improve myself and that’s the only way you can improve. By challenging yourself.”
Years back there had been some level of dialogue with Albrektsson about signing with Bellator. The timing did not seem right back then but things worked themselves out eventually. Albrektsson said, “Years back I was still very young and I think I needed more experience. Now I feel like more of a man and I feel like the time is ready. So they reached out this summer. We had talks with Rizin and they said ‘hey, go there and do your thing’. I wanted to fight more often. So the opportunity showed up and I took it.”
The aforementioned co-promotions between Rizin and Bellator present great opportunities for fighters. It works well for Albrektsson who can jump into a brand new talent pool in Bellator but also possibly deal with some unfinished business in Japan. Albrektsson said, “They have the co-promotion so I don’t see how it will interfere. I think it’s both. I think both are interested. If I do well, I do have that loss to Jiri. It still bothers me. So maybe we can do something like champ versus champ in about two years.”
The Jiri Prochazka rematch isn’t the only fight that Albrektsson expects to eventually run back. He said, “I choked in that Valentin (Moldavsky) fight. I was not used to fighting as a heavyweight. But he was the better man that night so I give it to him. But I think I still can beat him. I know Vadim (Nemkov) is doing well in Bellator. So we’ll see what happens.”
Pancrase Gym Sweden is the main facility where Albrektsson sharpens his tools. He does travel around though and has gotten in some work with UFC legend Josh Barnett as well as ONE Championship’s welterweight titlist Zebaztian Kadestam.
“Well, I was at Josh’s earlier this year in May for two weeks. New techniques, some drilling, and some sparring. Then I’ve just had my training camp at home. I’ve been training with Zebaztian Kadestam. We have some big guys over here. Stockholm is a small town. I’ve been training with muay thai fighters here also. I’ve been to Norway. You bounce around in Scandinavia and you find talent everywhere.”
Karl Albrektsson also had a commentary gig recently with Wolf Fight Promotion and got to try out something new. All in the name of trying on different hats and observing MMA from as many different angles as possible. He said, “It was a completely different experience because it was the first time but I enjoyed it. It was fun to see young talent making their way up the ranks and you get some perspective on the whole fight team. It was fun.”
Karl Albrektsson had fun in the booth but will put down the mic and strap on the gloves this Friday. Albrektsson vs Davis is the co-main event for Bellator 231. The event will broadcast as a simulcast on Paramount Network as well as DAZN.
The full interview with Albrektsson can be found here.