By Ray Hamill – Arcata’s Cass Bell came through the biggest challenge of his MMA career on Saturday night, defeating Ty Costa in his second pro fight at Bellator 206 in San Jose.
The fight according to Bell and his trainer John “Juan” Thompson went exactly according to plan, with Costa desperately trying to take Bell down, and Bell biding his time and waiting for his opponent to tire before striking.
The former Arcata High wrestler won on an armbar submission at the 3:06 mark of the second round.
“We kind of knew what he was going to do,” Bell said. “He just kept trying to take me down and using up all his energy.”
What was surprising, in a more than pleasant way, was the level of support that showed up at the SAP Center for Bell wearing his custom made green t-shirts.
“When I got in the cage it was so loud,” Bell said. “It was … it was like a shock, it was so loud.”
Approximately 225-250 fans were on hand for the Arcata native, who fights out of the Institute of Combat in his hometown.
And that figure is well up from the 192 that traveled down for his successful Bellator debut in May, also at the SAP Center.
“On every block, there was green shirts everywhere,” Bell said. “It was just so awesome, just to see everyone there, and just the feeling to know they came down to watch me, and they believe in me. It was unreal.”
With Saturday’s win, Bell improved to 2-0 as a fighter.
He says he’ll be retuning to the cage soon, and expects it to get “harder and harder.”
For now, he plans on taking a couple of days of well-deserved rest (and eating some tacos), and then it’s straight back to the gym, although not for the reasons you might expect.
“We’ve got guys fighting in Redding in two weeks, and I want to go back in and help them,” he said of his IOC teammates. “They helped me out, so I want to help them out.”
After that, the IOC instructor will be focusing on the wrestling season, before what will be a highly-anticipated return to the cage.
“It’ll be after the wrestling season, that’s for sure,” he said. “I’ve got 73 kids I coach, and that’s a lot of work, and if I’m coaching the kids, I want to put my time into coaching the kids.”
In the meantime, his management team will be working on lining up the next fight, and Bell is expecting a good deal after his impressive showings at two Bellator events, and the support he has brought along for the ride.
“We’re going to sit down with (CEO) Scott Coker and Bellator and talk about a contract,” he said. “A big-time contract.”