But even before the cameras started rolling, Claxton was softening up his rival.
When Claxton (3-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) refused to allow Lencioni (4-2 MMA, 1-2 BMMA) a catchweight the day prior, it was part of a strategy to make his opponent suffer.
“He broke when he didn’t make weight, and so I wanted to break him more,” Claxton told reporters following a lopsided win on Friday at Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. “I wanted to play with his mental (game) a little bit more.”
Lencioni, who started his weight cut from 180 pounds just three weeks prior to the fight, couldn’t shed enough bulk to make the 146-pound limit for non-title featherweight bouts. That entitled Claxton to 20 percent of Lencioni’s purse, but he said he convinced Bellator matchmaker Rich Chou to ask for more.
“I said, ‘Tell him 30 percent,’” Claxton said. “Rich said, ‘Well, you guys signed a contract that said 20 percent.’ I said, ‘Tell him 20 percent, or tell him to try and make weight, or I’m not fighting.’ And I winked at Rich.
“Rich knew. I didn’t want to stress Bellator out, but I wanted to stress (Lencioni) out.”
Claxton said he’s fought opponents who were 10 or 15 pounds overweight. By the time he gets to an event, he’s already made up his mind that he’s going to fight, and there’s little that can deter him. But Lencioni didn’t know that.
Lencioni tried one last time to make weight and was able to shed less than one-half pound. He eventually agreed to the 20 percent deduction. He also agreed to a fight-day stipulation that he would pay an additional 10 percent of his purse if he was over 165 pounds.
The gambit worked perfectly for Claxton, who outclassed Lencioni for much of the fight. When Lencioni gave up a takedown, Claxton got up and taunted his opponent with a move used by “Fortnite” players to indicate they’ve killed opponents.
It was a gesture not as well received as the flying knee that turned Claxton into a viral hit. But if Claxton has to be known for his dance, he’s OK with it. His plan worked out, and he’s moving away from a dramatic period in his career.
“I wanted to prove a point that I’m the man in this division,” he said. “There is no other prospect, point blank period. I feel like I showed that tonight. He was supposed to be a tough guy and by the end of the fight, he was in the fetal position.”
To hear more from Claxton, check out the video above.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Bellator 204's Tywan Claxton admits his pre-fight weight requests were mind games