Cat Zingano is co-headlining Bellator 293 against Leah McCourt this Friday night in Temecula, Calif. — and heavyweight Marcelo Golm thinks that’s the right call.
Golm, a former UFC fighter who won two fights in a row via stoppages since joining Bellator in 2021, collides with Daniel James in the main event of Friday’s card at the Pechanga Resort Casino. Speaking to MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca, he explained why he should get top billing over a woman who has beaten Amanda Nunes and challenged Ronda Rousey.
“I think it makes more sense,” Golm said. “She’s a legend of the sport, can’t say anything about it. She’s incredible, I’m a huge fan of hers. But the heavyweight division needs younger people, exciting people.”
“I think it was the right call to put me in the main event because they know I’m always fighting for the finish. I’ve never won a fight via decision and the heavyweight division needs that. She’s a legend and I have enormous respect for her, but I do think my fight had to be the main event.”
At 10-3 in the sport and 4-0 since leaving the UFC in 2019, the 30-year-old talent admits he didn’t expect to be in a main event position three fights into his Bellator career, but vowed to be ready to shine under the bright lights.
And even though Golm feels Linton Vassell should be next in line for Bellator champion Ryan Bader, he expects to be a win away from the gold with a win Friday.
“Vassell definitely deserves it, he’s on a good streak and beat tough guys so he’s definitely next,” Golm said, “but I think after one more fight, maybe against the No. 4 or No. 3 ranked guys, there’s nowhere else to go. I’ll focus on this fight now, it’s a super tough guy. But I think I’m one fight away from the title after this.”
Golm added that James “is dangerous and hits hard,” but that the Brazilian firmly believes he has everything he needs to win the fight. And while Golm isn’t making plans past James, who upset Tyrell Fortune via knockout in his Bellator debut, he’s still more than happy to fight on the undercard of a potential Bader vs. Vassell rematch and serve as back-up fighter.
“I’ll never root for anyone to get injured, but at least give me a fight on the same date and I’ll stay ready,” Golm said. “We can get hurt training so hard so it might happen. I’m thinking about this fight first. If I can get a fight on the same date of the title fight, perfect, that will make me the next contender.”