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John Salter is Glad He’s Getting Another Shot at Rafael Lovato Jr. at Bellator 205

September 17, 2018 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
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John Salter spoke with MMAjunkie ahead of his fight with Rafael Lovato Jr. at Bellator 205. Highlights are below:

On finding out he was being pulled from Bellator 198 due to an eye issue: “I pick up my phone and I see all these text messages, like ‘I heard that you’re out of the fight, what’s going on?’ My first text back was ‘I’m not out of the fight, where did you hear that?’ And then I started figuring out something was going on. Kind of went into panic mode, calling everybody, trying to figure out if it’s true…It was pretty devastating.”

On the experience of watching the show from the sidelines afterward: “It’s one of the things that is kind – it’s hard to watch when you know it should be you. But, at the same time, stuff happens and he’s got to make a living. He’s got to get out there and fight. (It was) just another chance for me to watch and kind of see what to expect from him.”

On his status now: “I think when commissions get a little too strict on people and they start making it almost impossible to fight, they forget their livelihood comes from us, fighting. But anyway, it made me have eye surgery to be able to fight again.”

On being rebooked against Lovato: “I saw that Lovato was over in Europe doing some seminars over there, so at one point I thought, ‘He might be out for a while.’ So I tried the fight with (Lyoto Machida). That didn’t work out. So now, fighting Lovato, I think is the best thing for me right now. I think it’s the best thing for the fans.”

On not being intimidated by Lovato’s ground game: “I think I’m the first person that he’s fought that’s not afraid to be on the ground with him – that’s something that kind of changes everything. He’s a guy that you can’t expect to go out there, take him down, pass his guard and submit him. It’s probably not going to happen. But I’m a guy that can take him down, stay on top, I can lay on punches, lay on strikes and make him work down there. I think that’s a big difference from what he’s had to deal with in the past. And I’m a guy who’s not afraid to stand-up and go with him on the feet. I’m probably, by far, the most well-rounded person and he’s fought and the only person that he’s fought that can grapple with him. There’s really not anybody else in that 185 division that can go to the ground with him and not get subbed. So I think that’s why this definitely is the most exciting fight for both guys.”

On his gameplan: “Especially this one, I think more than anything else, I’ve got to go in with the expectations of ‘This is going to be a three-round, hard-fought fight where both of us might have to be carried out of the cage and I’ve just got to get the win.’ Because if I go in there with a guy like him and I start thinking, ‘OK, I’m going to hurt him, and I’m going to pass his guard and sub him,’ then I’m putting stuff into my mind that’s not necessarily a realistic thing. Too many guys, you see them fall down, and people think, ‘OK, I got him.’ And he’s just as dangerous there as anywhere else – if not more dangerous. So this is something that you really have to gameplan well with a guy like him. And my gameplan is not one dimensional. My gameplan is, ‘This happens, I go here.’ But ultimately it’s just a guy you’ve got to be prepared to fight 15 minutes with him, and you’ve got to be prepared to get dragged out of the cage, because I know he’s got that mindset.”