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Saad Awad looks to make a statement, regardless of what weight

Saad Awad
Saad Awad fights Ryan Quinn at Bellator 178 on Friday night in Uncasville, Conn.
Bellator MMA

After a tough 2106, Saad Awad is looking to become a factor this year in either Bellator’s lightweight or welterweight division.

In the meantime, he’s going to split the difference.

The San Bernardino, Calif.-based veteran will meet Ryan Quinn on the main card of Bellator 178 on Friday night in Uncasville, Conn. And when Awad noticed that that his American Top Team opponent is also capable of going either up or down in weight, he came up with a proposal: let’s meet in the middle.

“I mean, he can do it, I can do it, and it’s not like catchweight is this big taboo like it used to be,” Awad told “So I put the idea out to him to fight at 165 a few weeks after we signed at lightweight and he agreed and it’s on. Why torture yourself cutting weight if you don’t have to?”

Regardless what the scale reads on the day before the fight, Awad (19-9) feels he has something to prove going into Friday night’s matchup. Old-school Bellator fans remember the Southern California native for his 43-second knockout of Will Brooks in the semifinals of the Bellator season eight lightweight tourney at Bellator 91

But while Awad’s maintained a veteran presence on the roster as it morphed from Bjorn Rebney’s floundering vision for the company to Scott Coker’s current model, he’s been inconsistent since his most memorable victory, posting a 5-5 record.

Complicating matters, Awad admits in hindsight he had some trouble adjusting his training schedule to the life of a new father following the birth of his first child last year, which he feels played a factor in his most recent performances, losses to Derek Anderson and Brennan Ward.

“What can I say? Personally I had one of the best years of my life and professionally it didn’t come together,” Awad said. “But I’m making the best of it. It made me realize that I need to do a better job of making the most of the window I have in this sport. I don’t want to be remembered just as ‘that guy who beat Will Brooks that one time.’ I’ve still got a good run left in me.”

For Awad, that’s meant shaking things up a bit. He’s spent much of his camp at Big Bear Lake, the 6,752-foot elevation training home over the years for SoCal combat sports stars Oscar De La Hoya to Tito Ortiz. It’s also meant bringing along one of Bellator’s most high-profile recent signees, fellow Millennia MMA competitor Lorenz Larkin.

“It’s not like I talked him into going to Bellator or anything like that, he’s his own man and makes his own decisions,” Awad said. “But I gave my opinion when I was asked and I let him know that, by and large, Bellator does what they say they’re going to do. There’s been a little extra bounce, a little extra energy with Lorenz coming over to Bellator. You feel it in the gym. I don’t know how to describe it better than that, but I know this was my best camp in awhile and I’m coming into this fight sharp.”

Awad knows there is a bit of pressure to perform after dropping three of his past four fights, but he seems to be channeling it into motivation as he looks to get back into the win column.

“I’ve got my priorities in order, I’m motivated to show everyone I’m going to become the fighter everyone thought I could be,” Awad said. “If you wrote off Saad Awad, you should think again.”

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