MMA Today: Eric Prindle hopes to redeem himself against Thaigo Santos

Mar 15 2012 - 11:20pm

Eric Prindle does not have fond memories of his last meeting with Thiago Santos.

The duo met last November in the finale of the Season Five Bellator Fighting Championships heavyweight tournament.

Prindle, who was in a defensive position on his back, was struck with a powerful kick to his groin. For more than five minutes, Prindle attempted to recover and continue, but a strong feeling of nausea developed. After the allotted recovery period, Prindle could not continue, and the fight was declared a no-contest.

"I was hurting," said Prindle, who eschewed surgery after one of his testicles swelled to the size of his fist and waited for the swelling to subside naturally. "I wanted to take some time, but it seemed like the more the time went on, it actually started hurting worse and worse. I think the initial shock wore off, and it just felt pretty bad."

Friday night, Prindle and Santos will meet again in the main event of Bellator 61 at the Horseshoe Riverdome in Bossier City, La. The event can be seen live at 8 p.m. EDT and on tape delay at 8 p.m. PDT on both MTV2 and EPIX.

"He obviously took me down pretty easy," Prindle said of the first meeting with Santos. "He was pretty quick for a bigger guy. I'm not going to lie. It was definitely going to be a hard fight. He's definitely game. My plan going into that fight was just to suck it up the first round, then turn it on in the second and third. I think everything was a blessing in disguise. I got to train more."

The additional training helped Prindle, a former amateur boxer during his time with the U.S. Army.

"I filled a bunch of boxing passbooks," said Prindle, who achieved the rank of sergeant during nearly 10 years with the military. "I actually went to the world-class athletic program in the Army. My goal was to get to the Olympics. I won All-Army five years in a row, Armed Forces four years in a row. I went to the World Military Games."

After Prindle, 35, left the Army, he parlayed his boxing training into a mixed martial arts career. Two weeks after he began training in his new sport, Prindle made his professional debut -- a first-round submission loss to Jimmy Ambriz in May 2008. He returned to the cage two months later to defeat Johnathan Tsosie.

Prindle has not lost since, and his prowess led to a chance to join Bellator Fighting Championships in 2011. He defeated Josh Burns in his promotional debut and was included in Season Five's heavyweight tournament, where he earned a unanimous decision over Abe Wagner and a first-round knockout of Ron Sparks to qualify for the finale against Santos.

Prindle trained extensively on his takedown defense over the past few months with a host of heavyweights, including Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix finalist Josh Barnett.

"Every day in the gym, I remembered that (Santos) took me down that easy," Prindle said. "It kind of embarrassed me in a way."

The card will also feature the quarterfinals of this season's middleweight tournament. The pairings include: Maiquel Falcao vs. Norman Paraisy; Vitor Vianna vs. Brian Rogers; Vyacheslav Vasilevsky vs. Victor O'Donnell; and Giva Santana vs. Bruno Santos. Vianna was defeated in the finale of Season 5's middleweight tournament by Alexander Shlemenko. Rogers, Vianna's opponent this year, also lost to Shlemenko in last season's tournament.

The preliminaries, which will air on at 7 p.m. EDT/4 p.m. PDT and continue at 10 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. PDT, include: lightweights Quaint Kempf vs. Josh Quayhagen; middleweights Trey Houston vs. Jeremiah Riggs; welterweights Derrick Krantz vs. Eric Scallan; lightweights Derek Campos vs. Patrick Cenoble; and bantamweights Jeremy Myers vs. Jason Sampson.


-- Pat Curran defeated Joe Warren via punches at 1:25 of the third round last Friday to win the Bellator featherweight championship.

-- Ultimate Fighting Championship's flyweight championship bout is on hold after officials discovered a mathematical error on a scorecard, which resulted in a majority draw between Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall. The duo will fight again, and the winner will face Joseph Benavidez for the title.


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