EXCLUSIVE | Ricky Bandejas ready for Bellator 214, says James Gallagher did him ‘wonders’

At Bellator 204 in August 2018, top Bellator bantamweight prospect Ricky Bandejas silenced the brash Irishman, James Gallagher. Thus catapulting himself up the 135-pound ranks.

On Saturday night at Bellator 214, he has now found himself ready for his toughest test to date in the 21-1 Juan Archuleta.

“I feel really good [about the fight],” Bandejas told BJPenn.com at the Bellator 214 media day. “He’s tough, I think I match up pretty good with him.

“He’s tough, 21-1, a great winning streak he’s gritty, he comes to fight. Tough fight, you know? I’m expecting to go to war on Saturday. I think [I have advantages] everywhere. I think I’m just a touch better everywhere. He’s very good, but I’m that much better.”

Of Bandejas’ 11 career wins, seven have come by way of finish (four KO/TKOs, three submissions) therefore proving how dangerous he can be anywhere the fight goes.

Expecting a win on Saturday night, that would likely lead to a title shot.

Currently, the Bellator 135-pound champion is Darrion ‘The Wolf’ Caldwell. However, at RIZIN 14 on December 31, Caldwell tested his skills against Kyoji Horiguchi for the inaugural RIZIN bantamweight crown.

Due to Horiguchi’s comeback victory, it now sets up a rematch but this time in Bellator. Because of that, a title shot for Bandejas following an Archuleta win could lead to him waiting longer than he would have to had Caldwell won.

When it came to who he would prefer to fight for the title at some point, the New Jersey native was indifferent.

“It doesn’t bother me, the title’s nice but overall I just want to be active,” Bandejas said of the title situation. “I also think it’s pretty cool co-promoting. Especially at the bantamweight division.

“Yeah, absolutely [I’d be interested in competing in a cross-promotional bout]. As long as we can get through the test on Saturday, in the future, absolutely.”

Of course, if it weren’t for Bandejas’ phenomenal win over Gallagher, he wouldn’t be getting the fight that he is now. And despite Gallagher getting a main event slot in his next time out, Bandejas’ isn’t upset.

“It’s funny to me, good for him,” Bandejas said. “I’m not gonna hate on his shine. He’s doing very well, has a great following. He’s on the main [event]. He did me wonders, he put me on the map. So I don’t hate on the guy.”

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/24/2019