16 Oct [MMA] 
Confident weight issue behind him, Bellator 249's Leandro Higo sends message to James Gallagher

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Leandro Higo entered Bellator 249 on a mission to show he’s turned a career corner.

Thursday, he submitted Ricky Bandejas via rear-naked choke in Round 2 to top off a dominant performance. After the fight, Higo (20-5 MMA, 3-3 BMMA) discussed what he’s calling a successful start to his “alter ego.”

“I told you in the (pre-fight) interview this week – alter ego,” Higo said. “I’m happy for this good performance tonight. … I came in as a prospect. I fought the best. I had a big promise when I came in – that was to become a world champion. This division is on fire. Put me in the fire against anybody.”

If there was a blemish on Higo’s performance Thursday, it was his weight miss on the scales Wednesday. Higo came in three pounds over the bantamweight limit, which he attributes to his travel delays in getting to the fight.

“There were a couple of complications in the weight cut, which has to have perfection,” Higo said. “I was in the airport for about three days. So to come here and go into quarantine, there were some mistakes that were made that won’t be made again. That’s what happened. There were some obstacles that I had to overcome. It wasn’t ideal. For a big weight cut, I need an ideal situation. It’s not going to happen again. We’ll correct these mistakes and be ready for the next one.”

Higo doesn’t think a title shot is out of the question, but if he fights again before he gets one, there’s a name that interests him. The rivalry between his team, Pitbull Brothers, and Team SBG Ireland was building prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. With fights back and travel bans slowly being eased, Higo is interested in a fight against SBG Dublin’s James Gallagher.

“I’ve been chasing this mother(expletive) ever since he’s coming into Bellator. If he’s really good at jiu-jitsu, you’ve seen my jiu-jitsu skills in my last two fights. Let’s go, James Gallagher.”

Bellator 249 took place Thursday at Mohegan Sun Arena. The main card aired on CBS Sports Network after prelims on CBSsports.com.