UNCASVILLE, Conn. – In his four years and 16 fights as a professional mixed martial artist, Spike Carlyle has been involved in some crazy fights, but his Bellator debut just might have been the craziest of all.
“My mind’s a little fuzzy right now,” Carlyle said afterward backstage at Mohegan Sun Arena. “But off the top of my head, yes, that one, I had to dig very deep.”
There’s no question about that as Carlyle absorbed the brunt of the damage and was dog tired – as was his opponent – in a wild war with Dan Moret on Friday night at Bellator 272. Carlyle was down 20-18 on all three judges’ scorecards heading into Round 3, but he found his winning moment when he reversed a late takedown, ended up on Moret’s back, and put him to sleep with a rear-naked choke for an improbable victory.
“For me, the fight could’ve gone a lot better,” Carlyle said. “I could’ve gone in there, landed one punch and walked out and been happy. But, you know, a win is a win, and to fight a guy as tough as Dan … he didn’t tap. I had to take that man’s soul.”
Carlyle (13-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) accepted the fight with Moret (15-7 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) on short notice. He said he got the call about “nine or 10 days” out, as he was “just healing up” from his Oct. 17 knockout win at Cage Warriors 130 in San Diego.
Since his three-fight UFC tenure of 2020 (he went 1-2) came to an end, 28-year-old Carlyle fought four times this year for four different promotions. With his Bellator debut a one-off, Carlyle said he’s “ready to see what the future holds,” but he definitely has something specific in mind.
“My heart has always been set for Japan, for Rizin,” Carlyle said. “It would be an amazing thing to win a belt in Japan and come over to Bellator and compete for the world title here, as well. …
“I’ll go wherever the good Lord takes me.”
If you paid attention to cage announcer Michael C. Williams after Carlyle’s win, you would’ve heard him declaring “The Crucifixion,” not “The Alpha Ginger,” the winner. Don’t worry, though: One of the most clever nicknames in the fight game still remains – but there’s a catch.
“Right now I’m ‘The Alpha Ginger.’ When I compete, though, in that cage, I’m ‘The Crucifixion,’” Carlyle said. “Kind of like a outside-inside cage, I have to flip that switch, I’m ‘The Crucifixion.’ I crucify my flesh so I can crucify my opponents.”