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Joe Schilling on Bellator Kickboxing debut: 'No one's going to turn off my fight'

Esther Lin photo

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Never let it be said Joe Schilling doesn't have a sense of humor.

The Los Angeles-based fighter will make his Bellator Kickboxing debut during the kickboxing end of Friday night's Bellator Dynamite 2 card in St. Louis, when he meets Hisaki Kato in a rematch of their Bellator MMA fight.

And Schilling knows he brings a reputation for exciting fights with him into his debut with Bellator's kickboxing wing.

After all, his Bellator MMA fights provided plenty of highlights, for good and bad. At Bellator 131, he had a spectacular knockout victory over Melvin Manhoef. At Bellator 139, though, he was on the wrong end of the vicious knockout at the hands of Kato via Superman punch.

"First fight I had in Bellator was the knockout of the year," Schilling said with a wry smile. "And the second fight was knockout of the year, and I lost. So I mean, either way, it's exciting."

While there have been many words written about why kickboxing hasn't yet caught on in North America the way it has in much of the rest of the world, Schilling is confident Bellator MMA will be a success, in large part because of Bellator CEO Scott Coker's promotional track record.

"I have no doubt it's going to be successful," he said. "I think the organization, Coker is doing an amazing job, and from the outside looking in, you see the growth of the brand and the consistency of the company he knows how to brand, he knows how to promote and put on exciting fights."

Either way, Schilling is sure people won't turn off *his* fight.

"Putting us on TV on Dynamite right after the MMA event is a no-brainer. The first fight will come on, and no one's going to turn off my fight."

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