LONDON – Fabian Edwards is expecting a prime Lyoto Machida at Bellator 281.
Edwards (9-2 MMA, 5-2 BMMA) takes on Machida (26-11 MMA, 2-3 BMMA) in Friday’s Bellator 281 co-main event, which takes place at OVO Arena Wembley in London. The main card airs on Showtime following prelims on MMA Junkie.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Machida has lost three straight and will be returning to middleweight. Despite being on a losing skid, Edwards says Machida has only dropped fights to top-level competition.
“I think I’m still gonna get the best version because at the end of the day, people he’s lost against are two world champions and one’s a No. 1 contender,” Edwards told MMA Junkie Wednesday at Bellator 281 media day. “He hasn’t gone in there and lost against random people that have been dragged in. He lost against top people so when I go out there and defeat him, I don’t want to hear none of this talk about he’s old. I don’t want to hear none of that bullsh*t.”
Edwards is on a losing skid of his own. After starting out his professional MMA career undefeated, Edwards suffered two straight setbacks to Costello van Steenis and Austin Vanderford, but the No. 4 ranked middleweight remains unfazed.
“Just keep training, keep pushing,” Edwards said. “In this game, it’s a long game. It’s a long journey. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon so what I took away is back to the gym, back working, and don’t give up on myself. Confidence is the biggest part of my game, keeping that confidence and those losses haven’t knocked me one bit so I went back to the gym, worked with my coaches and I’m still confident as ever.”
Edwards expects to pick up right where he left off when he was undefeated if he can get a definitive win over a name like Machida.
“Definitely, especially a finish,” Edwards said. “Because those last few guys who beat him have been split decisions and close fights so I go out there and I finish him, that could make a big statement.”