Undefeated Grant Neal promises the best is yet to come after Bellator 243 victory

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Grant Neal continued his perfect start to life as a professional mixed martial artist with a shutout victory on the scorecards at Bellator 243, but admitted there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Neal (4-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) defeated Hamza Salim with scores of 30-26, 30-27 and 30-24 in a dominant performance in his preliminary card bout at Mohegan Sun Arena. Reflecting on his victory, the Colorado light heavyweight said the scorecards showed not just his dominance, but also his opponent’s staying power.

“Well, I mean, it’s definitely rare, and that’s actually a compliment to my opponent,” Neal told reporters, including MMA Junkie, after the fight. “I mean, 30-24, that sounds like a finish to me, but he stayed in there and he stayed tough. He was sticky, like, he wanted to be there in the cage, so that’s kudos to him (for) coming out there tough. It’s a tough sport.

But rather than being satisfied with his dominance on the scorecards, Neal saw the result against Salim (5-3 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) as an opportunity to improve, and said that he should be turning positions of dominance into fight finishes.

“That’s just back to me and the drawing board,” he said. “I’ve got to recognize those positions and finish the fight.”

Just four fights into his professional MMA career, Neal is keeping his feet firmly on the ground, and said he’s looking forward to seeing how far he can progress in the sport after his latest victory.

“He was a tough opponent, and that just gives me excitement, because it means there’s a lot more to come,” he said. “I’m not anywhere near the peak or the pinnacle, so I’m super-excited about it.”

Rather than resting on his laurels, Neal said he’d love the opportunity to keep the momentum rolling, and said he would be happy to take whatever opportunities to compete Bellator throws his way. During the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said he feels an obligation to take whatever he’s offered.

“Right now I really feel for everybody out there in the world who don’t have the opportunity to work,” he said. “The coronavirus has really uprooted a lot of people’s lives. So it would be absolutely selfish of me to have an opportunity to continue to work and not do it. And I have an awesome opportunity and I’m just going to continue to put on shows for all of my fans and gain more fans. I want to bring everybody along for the ride, especially during such hard times.”

Check out Neal’s full post-fight comments via the video above.

Original article: https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2020/08/bellator-243-grant-neal-best-yet-to-come/

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