As Marcus Davis wound down his training efforts for Friday night’s Bellator 101 mixed martial arts card, his mind was focused on two things — fighting and family.
“It’s time to fight,” said the Bangor resident and owner of Team Irish MMA Fitness Academy, who will take on Russian Alexander “Tiger” Sarnavskiy in the first round of the Bellator Season 9 lightweight tournament. “I’m 40 years old with four kids and a beautiful wife who I miss.”
Davis, who has done much of his training in Boston, was scheduled to arrive in Portland, Ore., on Tuesday for the fight — which will be televised live on Spike TV beginning at 9 p.m. from the Moda Center, formerly known as the Rose Garden and home to the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers.
After the fight he’s slated to return to Bangor in time for an appearance Sunday at the BDN Maine Man Expo at the Cross Insurance Center.
Davis (22-9) has fought as a welterweight (170-pound limit) in recent bouts, including a three-round unanimous decision over Darrius Heyliger at NEF VII in Lewiston on May 18.
But the former professional boxer and one-time Ultimate Fighting Championship contender known as “The Irish Hand Grenade” cited his current physical condition, which he has described as the best he has felt in years, as the reason for accepting a berth in the Bellator lightweight tourney, which has a 155-pound weight limit.
The 5-foot-8-inch Davis will give away not only three inches in height to Sarnavskiy, but at age 40 is 16 years older than his 24-year old opponent.
Davis has spent much of his training efforts restoring his boxing skills with Massachusetts-based Joe Lake, his original boxing trainer and formerly associated with ex-world champion Dana Rosenblatt and “Irish” Mickey Ward, whose life was featured in the 2010 movie “The Fighter.”
“The tapes are out on me, he can find all the video he wants, and I know this kid has watched a lot of video on me,” said Davis of his opponent. “It’s part of preparing to fight a guy.”
Sarnavskiy, a native of Omsk, Russia, brings the reputation of a submission specialist to the cage. He has a 23-1 record with 13 submissions and six knockouts on his resume, including submission victories in each of his two previous two fights this year.
“He’s very aggressive and comes straight forward, he’s only been the distance four times,” said Davis, who has six knockouts and nine submission victories. “He’s very powerful, and his straight right hand is his money shot but he knees and kicks well, too.”
The Davis-Sarnavskiy bout is one of four Bellator lightweight tournament fights on the Bellator 101 card. Winners advance to the semifinals expected to be held later this year, with the tournament champion ultimately winning $100,000 in total prize money and a guaranteed title shot against the Bellator lightweight champion, currently undefeated Michael Chandler.
Boetsch gets new UFC 166 foe
Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight contender Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch of Lincolnville has a new opponent for UFC 166, slated for Oct. 19 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
A knee injury has sidelined Boetsch’s original opponent, Luke Rockhold. He has been replaced on the card by 30-year-old C.B. “The Doberman” Dollaway (13-4 overall, 7-4 in UFC bouts) of Tempe, Ariz., according to a recent UFC announcement.
Boetsch, 32, is 16-6 overall, 7-5 in the UFC and will attempt to halt a two-fight losing streak, having fallen to Costa Philippou by technical knockout late last year and then dropping a unanimous decision to Mark Munoz at UFC 165 in July.
Prior to that Boetsch won four straight fights, including victories over Yushin Okami and Hector Lombard, to climb into contention for a possible title shot.
Boetsch currently is ranked 10th among middleweights (185-pound limit) by UFC.com.
Dollaway is unranked but has won his last two fights, most recently a split decision over Daniel Sarafin on the UFC on FX 7 card held Jan. 19 at Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The Boetsch-Dollaway fight currently is scheduled to televised on Fox Sports 1 as part of the UFC 166 preliminary card.