If Ky Bennett has it her way, revenge will be best served on Friday with an early stoppage resulting in a victory over Deborah Kouzmin.
Truthfully, it doesn’t have to be a stoppage at all, so long as Bennett, who lives in Arlington, gets the victory over Kouzmin at Bellator 218 inside WinStar World Casino.
““I’m extremely excited. For a lot of people that don’t know, this is actually a rematch between me and Deborah Kouzmin,” Bennett said. “We fought two years ago and I lost that fight by a split decision. So it will be good to run it over again.”
That last fight came on April 1, 2017 and ended in a unanimous decision in Kouzmin’s favor.
“It was very controversial,” Bennett said. “Me, personally, as a fighter, a loss is a loss. I’m not going to make excuses. Deborah is very straight-forward. She’s a bull. It was a lot of me moving and shifting, so in the judges eyes the forward movement got the judges decision and that’s OK.”
A lot can change in two years, though, especially for someone who is still relatively new to the sport.
Bennett, who was originally born in Nashville and moved to Arlington roughly three years ago after stops in Maryland and Florida, didn’t begin her MMA career with a martial arts background like so many of her counterparts.
She dabbled in volleyball and ballet before deciding she “wanted to get punched in the face.” Bennett found a gym in Florida that she thought was a boxing gym, but it turned out to be an MMA gym.
Bennett’s really seen her growth in the sport evolve out of the blood, sweat and tears she’s put into her training at The Gym in Arlington, where her father teaches jiu jitsu.
“It was the best thing that I could have done for my career,” she said.
Bennett, who trained for this fight with her head coach at O Athletic in Houston, said it would be a mistake for Kouzmin, who is also fighting out of Texas, to think she’s the same fighter from two years ago.
“I’m definitely not the same fighter,” Bennett said. “After I lost that fight I had some regrets and had some doubts. But as I progressed in my career I kind of let it go. I’m definitely not the same fighter, the same person. I’ve grown in so many ways down from my coaches to my style of fighting. If she thinks she’s going to fight the same girl she fought two years ago, that’s not very smart.”
So what can fans expect this time around?
“I don’t want to give away too much but, for the viewers, it will be a really, really good fight,” she said.
The main event of this card features a featherwight bout between Emmanuel Sanchez (17-4-0) and Georgi Karakhanyan (27-8-1). The co-main event has heavyweight Valentin Moldavsky (7-1-0) taking on Linton Vassell (18-7-0).
Prelims start at at 5:45 p.m. with the main card scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. live on Paramount Network.