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Austin Vanderford expecting 'fireworks' in clash-of-styles matchup vs. Fabian Edwards at Bellator 259


COCONUT CREEK, Fla. – Austin Vanderford is excited to finally lock horns with Fabian Edwards.

In a battle of two middleweight prospects, Vanderford (10-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) faces Edwards (9-1 MMA, 5-1 BMMA) on May 21 at Bellator 259, which takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

“I actually had him on my radar for a while,” Vanderford told MMA Junkie. “I’ve wanted to fight him probably for the past year or so. When it all came to fruition, I was pumped up and ready to fight.”

Currently ranked No. 3 in Bellator’s official rankings, Vanderford is one spot ahead of Edwards, who’s placed right behind at No. 4. Vanderford knows there are big implications in this fight as he tries to push one step closer to his championship goal.

“I think it’s potentially close to a title eliminator,” Vanderford said. “Maybe one more fight – John Salter, of course, and (Anatoly) Tokov are two guys who are ahead of us who are tough enough. Of course there are some dark horses coming out as well, but I think this fight puts us both in the mix, and hopefully within the next year or so, it’ll come about.”

A two-time NAIA All-American and national champion wrestler at Southern Oregon University, Vanderford boasts a strong grappling background, which he sees as an advantage going into this fight.

“I think it’s your typical grappler vs. striker,” Vanderford said. “He’s obviously going to be working on his wrestling, as well as I’m working on my striking and what not, so I think it’s going to be a clash of styles, and I’m excited for it. I think it’ll bring fireworks. I think it’ll be a good matchup, and something the fans will really get behind.”

To see the full interview with Vanderford, check out the video above.



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