Jornel Lugo ready to rebound from Sabatello loss at Bellator 290

LOS ANGELES – Jornel Lugo had to go through the experience of his first loss nine months ago.

Now the bantamweight would be more than happy to give that experience to Jaylon Bates.

Lugo (8-1 MMA, 5-1 BMMA) and Bates (6-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) meet in a fight between a pair of highly touted Bellator up-and-coming 135-pounds on the Bellator 290 prelims Saturday.

Lugo lost a decision to Danny Sabatello in April 2022 and was bounced from the bantamweight grand prix, of which Sabatello reached the final. That setback forced him to take his preparation to a new level.

“It’s all about being diligent,” Lugo said at Thursday’s Bellator 290 media day. “In any craft that you’re in, you want to read all the books. You want to take the seminars. You want to take the classes and be the best at your craft. It’s the same in MMA: You can’t just show up to train and go home. You’ve got to study. You’ve got to study your own footage, other people’s footage. You have to get inspiration and new techniques. I’m just trying to be the best I can possibly be in my sport because it’s my job.”

Against Bates, Lugo sounds like he wants to show more than just the ability to bounce back from a loss.

He wants a statement.

“I want to come out here and I want to stop him,” Lugo said. “I’m definitely looking to finish everybody that I fight from this fight forward. … It’s going to be a war. It’s going to be cats and dogs in there. You know the little smoke things in the cartoons when they’re fighting? That’s going to be us.”

Check out Lugo’s full media day interview above.

Bellator 290 takes place Saturday at Kia Forum in Inglewood, Calif. The main card airs on CBS following prelims on MMA Junkie.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 290.


Bellator 290: Make your predictions for Bader vs. Fedor 2, Eblen vs. Tokov title fights


Bellator 290 commentary team, broadcast plans set for CBS debut

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie