“A1”, perhaps most commonly associated with the steak sauce, can be used as a synonym for phrases like ‘the best of the best’ or ‘the top of the line’. It also serves as the nickname for Combat Club‘s Jornel Lugo. Lugo is set to face the undefeated and highly-touted rising star Jaylon Bates this Saturday at Bellator 290.
Jornel Lugo: “I’m here to stay”
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Lugo last competed in April 2022 against Danny Sabatello, a fight in which he would suffer his first professional loss. Roughly nine months later, Lugo tells MMASucka, “I’ve been working really hard the last nine months. This fight right here is to showcase the lessons that I have learned”.
“A1” would go on to say that he has been ready for this fight since November 2022, as the pair of bantamweights were set to throwdown at Bellator 288 in Chicago, Illinois. “I was supposed to fight him in November. So, I’ve had to [cut weight] twice. It takes me about three weeks to get that off. I have to eat very, very strict. Its just a lot. And doing that twice its difficult. Eating food is a pleasure, ya know, and not having that pleasure is just not fun.” The 27-year-old would tell MMASucka that he is confident he will successfully hit the scales on Friday.
Eyeing the Enemy
Lugo’s opponent, Jaylon Bates, exploded onto the Bellator scene in 2020. Since then, the undefeated American Top Team athlete has scored four submission victories. When analyzing his opponent, Lugo noted, “His best attribute is his sporadic grappling. I’m planning on overcoming it by showcasing the lessons that I’ve learned these past nine months. I learned a lot from that Sabatello fight.”
To the Future and Beyond
Lugo has made plans for the future, especially concerning 2023 competition. Lugo would comment, “If I could, I’d like to go back and fight in Hawaii in April. Its beautiful there. I’d like to fight maybe one more unranked guy, then fight a third guy this year to get back into the rankings. I want to fight three times this year. I just want to let people know that I’m here to stay. I’m not a flash in the pan type of guy. I want to be amongst the best fighters in the sport and to be that I have to be amongst the best fighters in my division.”
Jornel Lugo fights this Saturday at Bellator 290. The event will be available to watch on CBS network television and Paramount+.