Andre Fialho is gunning for another first-round knockout inside the Bellator cage, but doesn’t feel he gets the respect he deserves from the promotion.
The Portuguese fighter signed with Bellator after racking up a perfect 5-0 record with five finishes, and added a couple more stoppage victories to his record with quick wins over Manny Meraz and Rick Reger earlier this year. To cap off a perfect year, Fialho wants to make a statement against Chidi Njokuani at Saturday’s Bellator 167 in Thackerville.
“I believe I will knock him out in the first round,” Fialho told MMA Fighting. “I think his style is really hard to match up with mine, but I don’t think anybody hits like me, and I don’t think it will go past the first round. I believe he will try to use his legs, try to kick me in the legs and arms. I believe he will try to pick me apart. I think that’s his plan, to fight like he always does. We’ll see.”
Fialho didn’t think any of his pre-Bellator fights were actually a test for him, and feels happier about his first two bouts in the United States. Against Njokuani, the American Kickboxing Academy welterweight hopes to impress against tougher competition.
“It was good, the first fights were good, but I don’t think any of them were at my level,” Fialho said. “Now I’m fighting an athlete who has world class muay thai. I’m motivated, and I’m happy. This is the biggest challenge I’ve ever had so far, no doubt about it.”
Fialho will improve to 8-0 in MMA if he beats Njokuani Saturday, and hopes Scott Coker sees him with different eyes after that, even though he doesn’t expect to earn a shot at 170-pound champion Douglas Lima next.
“I want to prove to Bellator I don’t deserve the contract they gave me,” the Portuguese said. “I will prove that with my performance.”
“The financial aspect,” Fialho said of what bothers him about his contract. “It’s what they give everyone. They gave me a contract like I’m just another one, and I’m not just another one. I will prove that on Dec. 3. I believe I’m the best in the world.”