Following a loss to Rafael Lovato Jr. in his last bout of 2017, middleweight Chris Honeycutt was able to rebound in his sole fight of 2018 so far with a unanimous decision over Leo Leite at Bellator 202 in July.
While he wasn’t able to pick up a finish against Leite, Honeycutt nonetheless feels like he had a solid return bout and was happy to get things back on track.
“Leo was a tough opponent,” Honeycutt told MMAWeekly.com. “I look back and look at the fight, and there were opportunities where I probably could have finished him, but during the fight it seemed like everything I did was causing damage but wasn’t slowing him down at all.
“Overall I feel I performed well. I was busy and active.”
Though he has progressed naturally over the course of his five-year career, 2018 has also shook up Honeycutt’s training and forced him to make changes to the way he does things, which in turn has helped his game.
“My camp here in Fresno kind of disassembled about 10 weeks ago, so I spent this camp down in Huntington Beach and training at The Body Shop with Antonio McKee and his son AJ,” said Honeycutt.
“Working at a different gym where the structure is different, I’m able to work on my technique and make it better while also adding some new tools to my arsenal.”
On Friday in Thackerville, Okla., Honeycutt (11-2) will look to pick up his second straight win when he faces Costello van Steenis (10-1) in a preliminary 185-pound bout at Bellator 210.
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“He is a little savvy in Jiu-Jitsu aspect if you look at his past fights, but I just came off of fighting Rafael Lovato and then Leo Leite, who are unbelievable Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, and he’s not like the last two,” Honeycutt said of van Steenis. “If anything I’m more than ready for the ground game.
“Probably my biggest concern or what to avoid would be the big leg kicks and the spinning roundhouse. He’s longer and lankier, which helps with the stand-up, so I’ve just got to do what I do best and use knees and elbows and do that close in-your-face combat.”
While Honeycutt’s primary goal for 2019 is to establish himself a new training camp, he wouldn’t mind getting a shot at the Bellator middleweight title, especially if Lovato is able to take it from Gegard Mousasi in their January bout.
“I’m excited that (Lovato is) going to get a title shot,” said Honeycutt. “It’s arguable that I won our fight the first time (in 2017). I had some things going on that I wasn’t 100 percent, but at the end of the day he got his hand raised and I didn’t.
“If you look at his fights, I’m the only one that went the distance. If he beats Mousasi, I feel like I’m kind of entitled to that first shot back at him to take it from him.”