Stylistically, Neiman Gracie thinks he’s the worst matchup for newly crowned Bellator welterweight champion Yaroslav Amosov.

A multiple-time jiu-jitsu champ, 90 percent of Gracie’s wins have come by submission. And although Amosov (26-0 MMA, 7-0 BMMA) is a grappling specialist himself, Gracie (10-2 MMA, 8-2 BMMA) doesn’t see him as well versed on the ground as he is.

“My future plan is to face Yaroslav Amosov for the belt,” Gracie told MMA Junkie. “It’s a great matchup. We’re both grapplers. I feel my game brings the most danger to his. He likes takedowns. But on the ground, he doesn’t have much to offer. I think it will be an exciting fight for the fans, to see two great grapplers face off.”

But first Gracie has to get through Mark Lemminger (12-3 MMA, 2-2 BMMA) in the co-main event of Bellator 266 on Saturday, where he’ll look to notch another submission win.

“Mark Lemminger is tough,” Gracie said. “He’s a complete fighter. I feel he prefers to wrestle. He has a strong base. But I see myself winning by submission within two rounds.”

After an unbeaten start to his pro MMA career, Gracie has dropped two of his past three, most recently a unanimous decision loss to Jason Jackson at Bellator 255 in April. Disappointed with the loss, No. 4-ranked Gracie would like to run things back with Jackson at some point, who’s ranked one spot ahead of him in Bellator’s welterweight standings.

“I’m happy with the way my career has been coming along,” Gracie said “I’m happy to be in Bellator. It keeps on growing. Regarding my loss to Jason Jackson, I actually felt I won that bout. But the judges gave it to him. I’d love to get a rematch as soon as possible.”

Bellator 266 takes place Saturday at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. The main card airs on Showtime following prelims on MMA Junkie.


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