Johnny Eblen earned my respect defeating Anatoly Tokov at Bellator 290, Defending his Bellator Middleweight Title for the first time. Great overall performance lost first round, but the later rounds showed why he’s a champion with takedowns one after another.
Fourth and fifth round showed off his Missouri University wrestling with his great wrestling takedowns from suplexes to incredible conditioning. Impressing wrestling when you’re fighting former combat sambo champion but that goes to show Johnny Eblen training hard for this at American Top Team with main training partner Yaroslav Amosov & Jorge Masvidal.
“Of course (my strategy was to wrestle). I couldn’t get the timing down in the first, so I couldn’t mix my wrestling like I wanted to. Once I got his timing and once I hurt him, I started going to the wrestling more.”https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/other/johnny-eblen-im-the-best-middleweight-in-the-world-after-bellator-290/ar-AA1786hp
Watching the fight on CBS, You can see many improvements from his conditioning, composure under Co-Main Event spotlight, Boxing footwork from slipping away from Tokov’s right hand, Head movement. Lastly striking ability catching Tokov few times to the face and shots to the body. Sitting by myself end of the fight gave Eblen round of applause because of great performance against formidable opponent.
“He’s the full package,” Brown said. “He’s very well-rounded. He’s driven. He can wrestle. He’s been wrestling since he was a young boy. He’s blessed with amazing cardio and conditioning, and he has a natural feel for footwork and striking. He’s not a normal guy. He’s a special athlete. I truly believe he can beat anyone in the world, any promotion.” Mike Brown American Top Team Head Coach https://www.mmafighting.com/2023/2/2/23579723/coach-johnny-eblen-the-best-middleweight-on-the-planet
Bellator stars in the last five to seven years was Patrico Pitbull, Douglas Lima, Michael Chandler. 2023 to 2030 Johnny Eblen will be part of the next generation of Bellator stars. Continuing his stardom rise with defending his Middleweight title against top five Bellator middleweights like Fabian Edwards, Rematch against Gegard Mousasi.
“I would love for Fabian Edwards to try to fight me because I would whoop his ass.” Johnny Eblen Bellator 290
Second option is fighting the winner of new middleweight Douglas Lima & Costello Van Steenis. Two great fighters that would give Eblen real challenges. Defeating any of the top five middleweights will show why he’s the best middleweight in the world.
“I’m the best middleweight in the world, I’m gonna clean out this division than I’ll figure something out, I’ll do super fights.” Eblen Bellator 290 post fight press conference
2023 WILL be great year for Johnny Eblen MMA career, Headlining Bellator events, defending his title against great middleweights and earning champion money. Being a champion means you’re a partner with Bellator, Earning money from viewership points, Background bonuses and lastly sponsorships.
Bellator prospect to 2019 and now Bellator Middleweight Champion in 2023 goes to show hard work pays off. Becoming one of my favorite fighters on the roster with dethroning Gegard Mousasi and now his first title defense.