For Emmanuel Sanchez , the Bellator featherweight grand prix tournament offers the chance to prove what he thinks has been the case for a long time: that he is the toughest, most battle-hardened 145-pounder in the organization. Speaking to MMA Junkie ahead of his first-round tournament bout against undefeated Tywan Claxton (5-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) at Bellator 226, which takes place Saturday in San Jose, Calif., Sanchez (18-4 MMA, 10-3 BMMA) said he heads into the tournament well aware of his rivals, having faced seven of his fellow grand prix participants during his Bellator career. “I’m going into this grand prix knowing I’ve faced half of these guys who are in this grand prix,” he said. “I’ve been in there with most of these guys from a couple of years ago when I was starting my career with Bellator. Now, going into the tournament with 13 fights in Bellator, and having gone five rounds for the title with the current champion and nearly taking it from him, I think I have an abundance of experience. “I believe this tournament was made for me.

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