“It’s not the ideal circumstance, but it’s going to be a fun time.”
A lot of us may say this about good times which include minor setbacks — like attending a social event with a stain on one’s shirt.
Cody Bollinger says it about fighting the World Series of Fighting MMA Bantamweight Champion, feared striker Marlon Moraes, on only nine days notice.
Not most of our ideas of fun — but last week, the 23 year old Bollinger, who boasts a 16-2 record (with one no contest) as a professional MMA fighter, accepted that opportunity.
Bollinger’s five round catchweight (140 lb) match with Moraes will serve as main event for WSOF 13 on Saturday night in Bethlehem, PA.
“It’s going as good as it can get,” Bollinger said from his training camp in Big Bear, California, when asked about preparing for the fight. “It’s kind of short notice, but — it’s better for me: less time to get the small injuries, my weight’s on point, my cardio is amazing. I feel I can go five rounds if I need to.”
“God opened the door, I’m walking through it,” he says. “I’m not going to lie, it’s a scary fight. Every time I fight it’s scary. Two months, for every night, I’ll think about that opponent. This guy might be the one who knocks me out, this might be the one to beat me.”
“It’s stresses you out,” he continues. “(This time) I don’t have two months of that. By the time I walk in the cage, all that stress and fear is gone and it’s just fun.”
So, maybe it’s no surprise Bollinger jumped at this opportunity.
“I was really excited — I was at my job working,” Bollinger says, who works in construction when he’s not fighting. “I said yes right away. Then I called my coaches and asked them not to be too upset at me, said we’ve got a fight in nine days, and we got to work!”
Bollinger and his teammates from Millennia MMA left for Big Bear that day, to take advantage of elevation training at 7500 feet above sea level.
Bollinger has had struggles with weight issues: failing to make weight in his last bout, a submission victory over BJJ black belt Pablo Alfonso; and earlier in his career was removed from the cast of The Ultimate Fighter season 18 when he failed to make the contracted limit.
But, he says, that’s no problem now — noting he’s actually ahead of schedule.
“When I got the call, I was 170 (lbs),” Bollinger says. “Now I’m in the 150’s.”
Regarding the length of the bout, which will not be for any title: “On short notice, I’d prefer a three round fight, but I’ll fight for five rounds if I have to.”
Regarding his opponent, “His ground game is the one hole that everyone thinks is there. I don’t know if that’s true. If he happens to be really good on the ground, I’ll stand it back up. I know my wrestling is ten times as good as his. I’m not going to be taken down. If I’m uncomfortable on the ground I’ll stand back up. We’ll stay standing for five rounds. I go in there, have fun, and play it by ear — take whatever he gives me.”
“I didn’t think I’d tap Pablo (Alfonso)”, Bollinger says. “Never in a million years would I have thought I would have that’s how that fight would end. But he gave it to me, so I took it.”
World Series of Fighting 13 will be televised on NBC Sports Network Saturday night, 9 pm EST / 6 pm PST.