Julius Anglickas might have been his biggest critic after defeating Gregory Milliard in April. The win, his third since joining Bellator in 2019, saw him use wrestling to dominate all rounds and earn a scorecard victory.
Disappointed in his post-fight interview, Anglickas mentioned he couldn’t get his striking going and that he needs to “step it up” in the future.
A few more days following the fight, Anglickas didn’t feel the same way. While he made it clear he wants to be a more well-rounded fighter, and not someone who “goes straight into grappling,” he has since turned his let down feeling into motivation.
“You can’t be holding on to negativity,” said Anglickas, who spoke to Knockdown News last month while visiting family in New York, USA. “It’s like ‘okay, you went through that, you didn’t like it, now it’s time to fix it.’”
Anglickas made no excuses for his lack of striking, although that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a reason. When asked about a torn bicep tendon that he fought through, he said it might have contributed to the focus on wrestling.
“I had a slight subconscious feeling like ‘oh don’t extend the jab all the way’ … Maybe I was timid about that,” said Anglickas.
The performance for Anglickas came with a big stipulation, as it was announced afterward that he would be an alternate in the ongoing Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix.
The sudden nature of the announcement on the broadcast wasn’t too far removed from reality. Anglickas mentioned that the decision to have him as an alternate was a short-notice move made the week of the fight.
Anglickas said there was “talk” about him being an alternate during the week, and that he was approached about it on the day of weigh-ins, with the possibility that he would take a new fight that day.
Despite the idea of entering the tournament on short notice being a huge step up in competition and a move up to fighting five-round fights, Anglickas was up for the challenge.
He had a relaxed approach to the opportunity, holding the mindset that “we’ll just go in and do our thing and see what happens.”
There were questions last month about if Anglickas would step in to replace Yoel Romero after he pulled out from his fight against Anthony Johnson on just a week’s notice. Anglickas wasn’t available to take this spot because of it being on short notice, per a report from Ariel Helwani of ESPN.
Whether Anglickas will be called upon to fill in a spot in the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix will be seen as time progresses. The first-round of the eight-man bracket wrapped up earlier this month, with the semifinals likely happening later this year.
The opportunity for Anglickas to take a fight in the tournament would present a huge challenge for him, as the remaining names are champions and veterans of the sport.
Fighting in the bracket, facing a smaller name or even a big challenge are all ideas he isn’t opposed to.
“All those options sound good,” said Anglickas. He also specifically expressed interest in specifically being booked against veteran Lyoto Machida, saying that people keep telling him to face him.
Anglickas has now fought three times in Bellator, contributing to the 10 wins in his 11-fight pro career. When he signed to the promotion in 2019, he entered the promotion with a career that consisted solely of finish wins.
Surprisingly, things have been the opposite since he has joined Bellator, fighting to scorecards in all of his appearances for them. This is something he wants to change, mentioning he wants more finish victories, but he has no regrets about the experience that going the distance has brought.
“It’s definitely important to go three rounds even if you’re winning or if it’s a tough one. But I definitely want to finish fights because that’s what everybody wants to see,” he said.
What’s next for Anglickas is not known. However, whatever he does is sure to happen in the Bellator cage – it was reported before that the promotion recently reached a new contract with the 29-year-old, guaranteeing that his nine-fight win streak will be wagered on their programming.