MMA fighter Jeremy Kennedy won his Bellator organization debut Thursday (Nov. 19) in a unanimous decision over American Matt Bessett.
The featherweight fight was held at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, in a preliminary-card battle.
Kennedy, a former UFC fighter who grew up in the Fleetwood area of Surrey and now lives in Langley, improved his pro MMA record to 16 wins, two losses and one no contest.
The fight was shown on the BellatorMMA YouTube channel, which boasts more than a million subscribers. Bellator 253’s main card saw A.J McKee defeat Darrion Caldwell at 1:11 of the first round, via neck-crank submission.
After the three rounds of his win, a beaming Kennedy was draped with the Canadian flag, and he later talked about the whole experience during a 13-minute press conference posted to YouTube.
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“We just getting started! Very excited for this new chapter,” Kennedy later tweeted, with a graphic showing the 16 fights he’s won. The notches are tattooed on his left rib cage.
Prior to Thursday, Kennedy was itching to get back into the MMA ring with the California-based Bellator, the UFC rival promotion that signed him to its growing roster. He hadn’t fought since last October, due to scheduling snafus made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 28-year-old featherweight trains at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas.
It’s been a “crazy” 2020 for Kennedy, who flew back to Canada in mid-March when the pandemic hit.
He remained in Langley until a couple of weeks after his mid-August marriage to Haley, with whom he shares a townhouse and the company of two dogs. She helps run the family’s Oxygen Yoga & Fitness studio in Walnut Grove.
“She’s been super supportive about my going back and forth (between Langley and Las Vegas), and now it’s just getting tougher because of the quarantine,” Kennedy said during a mid-October interview.
Kennedy is now set to return to Langley to be reunited with his wife and dogs, and is aiming to fight again in the new year.