Matt Mitrione on foe Timothy Johnson: ‘He doesn’t look like a quality fighter, but he is’

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Matt Mitrione knows exactly what he’s getting himself into Friday.

The heavyweight veteran takes on Timothy Johnson in the co-main event of Bellator 243. Mitrione (13-7 MMA, 4-2 BMMA) said he’s in no way taking Johnson lightly since he knows how doing so has cost other fighters.

Mitrione doesn’t think his opponent looks like a big threat, but he knows looks can be deceiving, and he’s coming in full steam ahead Friday.

“I know who he is,” Mitrione told MMA Junkie. “He’s capable, for sure, and he’s got talent. He might get a little bit of a bad rep because he doesn’t pass the eye test. He doesn’t look like a quality fighter – but he is.

“He’s got a lot of talent and he’s a heavyweight. Look at Tyrell (Fortune). He’s a friend of mine and we’ve trained together a lot. He just took (Johnson) lightly, and that’s why you can’t take heavyweights lightly. They have talent, they have ability, and they’re not intimidated because they know that at any given motion if they touch a chin, they can turn it or put someone to sleep.

“I think that’s what will happen. I think Timothy has entered a different world and I think he’s going to capitalize on it as much as he can. I’m going to do my best not to let him do it.”

Johnson is coming off a big knockout win over Fortune. It was one of 2020’s top upsets so far. Fortune was undefeated, a 9-1 favorite, and considered one of Bellator’s best prospects.

Although Johnson got the Fortune win using his striking, Mitrione doesn’t see him being willing to trade shot for shot this time out.

“I don’t think many people want to stand up and fight with me,” Mitrione explained. “So I expect people to try to wrestle. I expect a lot fo wall-and-stall. I expect for him to want to get me down. He worked with Roy Nelson for this fight, I’m assuming they both trained at Randy (Couture)’s. They both train in Vegas, so I’m assuming they’re trying to take notes from him, which is great because I kicked the sh*t out of Roy. So who knows. We’ll see what happens.”

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