Fighting Stance continues its coverage of the upcoming Bellator card by interviewing another fighter taking the step from the regional fight scene to the national stage. Mike Wilkins (7-5) will take on Brett Martinez (6-4) on the undercard this Friday, November 3rd for Bellator MMA at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College, Pa. “Iron City” coaches and trains at the Stout Training Pittsburgh- Renzo Gracie Team. Wilkins shares about his most recent fight, his opportunity to fight for a new organization and how his work as a coach and corner impacts him as a fighter.

What are your thoughts on fighting for Bellator in PA?

I’m really excited to fight in State College.  It’s only about 2 hours away from home.  I haven’t fought that close to home for over 2 years.  The fact that this fight is for Bellator is something that fires me up!  It’s my first time on the National stage.  It’s been quite the journey; I’ve been fighting almost 10 years now.  I made my amateur debut in December of 2007.  I dug my way through the amateur, local pro, and regional pro circuits, and now I get a taste of the National level.

How important do you think it is to have a gameplan for a fight?

I think that varies on the fighter.  Some fighters perform better with a set purpose, some fighters are better when you set them free.  I’ve had my best performances when I let loose and just let the fight unfold.

What is it like training alongside your brother at Renzo Gracie Pittsburgh?

Training with my brother is very special.  We’ve been training with each other since he was eleven.  For me it keeps me in check.  I don’t want to set a bad example for him.  I can’t ask him to do anything that I myself am not willing to do.  So it pushes me to work harder, and dig deeper when times are tough.  Because that’s what I would expect him to do.

Your last fight was a split decision loss. How to you process a split decision?

In a way, split decisions are the worst kind of a loss.  That means you were close. That means one mistake, one bad decision, made the difference in two of the judges’ eyes.

What did you take away from your most recent fight that you are planning on applying to your upcoming fight?

I need to step on the gas more often.  I would land combinations then step back to assess.  I should’ve kept the heat on.  For this fight, it’s going to be cold outside, but hot in the cage.

How does cornering your brother and other MMA fighters help you in training and in fighting?

Cornering allows me to see the fight from different angles.  It can help you become more comfortable with your own fights.  That’s why I put my brother in my corner.  He gets to experience levels he is not at yet.  So when he gets there he will be more comfortable, more familiar.

To learn more about Mike Wilkins follow him on social media and to watch his fight tune into the live broadcast on Spike.

Mike is thankful to the following sponsors: Stout Training, Ronin Advertising, East American Logistics, Toast Pain Relief, Ink Division, A. Wilkins Electric