Bellator 274: Neiman Gracie eyes welterweight title shot ahead of Logan Storley clash

Neiman Gracie wants a shot at the Bellator welterweight title if he hands Logan Storley a 'big' defeat in the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut on Saturday.

The pair will make Bellator history at the weekend as they will compete in the first five-round non-title main event. However, the Brazilian Gracie believes he deserves to go the extra mile and have the chance at a title bout.

Gracie is hoping for a big finish on Saturday to boost his chances of a title shot, although that will depend on the reigning champion Yaroslav Amosov's fight with Michael 'Venom' Page in May.

He said: "A potential title fight all depends on how big my win will be. If it is a big stoppage, a great win, I think it will put me right in it for the next title shot. It also depends on how the Amosov, Page fight pays out. We have just got to see what happens."

The Brazilian fighter comes off the back of his first TKO victory after sending Mark Lemminger to the canvas back in September last year. His success against Lemminger has proved to be crucial for not only his title chances but for his confidence come Saturday.

Gracie added: "I am very comfortable for Saturday. This has been one of the best training camps I have had so I am very confident that I will win this fight. It is hard to predict how, but I am sure this fight won't go to decision.

"You will see a sharper fighter that has been toning up for a long time and I have finally found my groove and my peak, so I think I am becoming a better fighter than before, mentally, physically, and spiritually."

Gracie comes from a historic line of Brazilian Ju-Jitsu fighters, and is the son to Carla Gracie, the daughter of legendary Grandmaster Robson Gracie, and Márcio Stambowsky, one of the top Brazilian Ju-Jitsu fighters in the 1980s.

Despite the long line of wins on the ground, his opponent Storley is a four-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler who also fancies himself when it comes to grappling and wrestling.

The Brazilian knows the potential dangers on the ground with his American opponent and is ready to fight on foot if it comes to it.

"Yeah, I am definitely ready to face Storley on foot. I have prepared to face him anywhere and everywhere. Wherever the fight goes, I am ready.

"I think everything will be involved in this fight. There will be grappling, striking, it will be an all-around fight. It is really hard to predict."

Storley gave the current welterweight champ and undefeated Amosov a run for his money back in November 2020, however faced defeat for the first time in his seven-year career, ending his 11-fight winning streak.

Since then, he bounced back against Dante Schiro in South Dakota in August last year and is also ready to secure his name on a future title challenging card.

The American fighter is aware of the history and glory behind the Gracie name but is ready to cause a 'storm' of a performance in the octagon come fight night.

Storley is prepared to push Gracie to the edge even if it takes all five rounds: "I will be pushing the pace, landing my shots, using my hands, using my wrestling, and I have grown since that last fight against Yaroslov.

"Neiman is obviously a different fighter, but I have grown a lot since then and that fight has helped me to become who I am today.

"I have trained with the best guys in the world for the last five years, so I am ready. I know that he is very good on the ground, you know the family name, but I am prepared, and I am ready to do what I have to do.

"You always want to go out there and finish the fight early, that's the goal. But for me if I need the five rounds, I am ready to go there. The training camps went well, and I am prepared for all 25 minutes."

Both fighters are comfortable when it comes to encounters on the ground, both using different techniques, but in a similar style.

When a Brazilian Ju-Jitsu artist faces an All-American wrestling champion, both styles could contradict themselves and cause a striking fight on foot.

However, no matter where he finds himself on Saturday, Storley backs himself to make every minute in the octagon unpleasant for Gracie.

"I know where he is good at, and I know where I am good at and we train for it. I know he is good on the ground; he is one of the best grapplers in the world, but so am I.

"For me it is winning those little exchanges that will swing the fight my way. I will make sure to get the best of him on feet, pushing the pace, making it an uncomfortable 25 minutes and making him work all the time."

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