Steve Mowry ready to face ‘dynamic’ Rakim Cleveland

Steve Mowry gets a step up in competition when he takes on Rakim Cleveland at Bellator 271.

A name that has been making his way up the Bellator rankings and slowly building a name for himself, Steve Mowry can continue his unbeaten run and make another statement when he takes on Rakim Cleveland at Bellator 271.

Over the summer, Mowry had been preparing himself for a showdown with Marcelo Golm at Bellator 264, but an injury forced Mowry out of the fight.

Bellator, however, told him to stay ready for the first opportunity that would come his way upon recovery.

“They told me ‘Okay, stay ready for later in the fall.’ So I did,” Mowry said. “And before they even had formally offered me my next opponent, they told me that the person that I plan on being pulled out, and then they said it was Rakim. So the first contact that I got was for Rakim and then really ever since then, he was like the only name I’ve been like cued in on totally.

“Rakim has a different style than Marcelo, vastly different style, but I still feel really confident in what I’ve been doing to prepare. But for me really, it’s just showing up at the gym. You know, adjusting the minor things that are different between them, the little nuances here and there. And the rest of it really is just hard work. Just showing up, digging away and then, you know, come fight night, looking forward to showing them showing the process.”

Steve Mowry hopes Rakim Cleveland fight at Bellator 271 will surge him further up Bellator heavyweight ranks

Between his professional MMA debut in September 2016 and April 2018, Mowry impressed in his four fights in Titan FC, scoring four finishes, with none of the fights getting into the third round.

That led him to sign with Bellator in 2018, where he continued to raise his stock. His run in the promotion started with submission victories over Ben Moa, Darion Abbey and Gokhan Saricam before back-to-back finishes against Shawn Teed and Shaun Asher — the latter coming in just 55 seconds after some devastating leg kicks and a big knee at Bellator 257 in April.

The win over Asher was especially good for Mowry considering that when he fought Teed, he was doing so without his coaches, who were in Abu Dhabi at the time.

“Them being in my corner just felt really good. It felt really good to kind of give them the juice,” Mowry said. “They gave us a squeeze and it felt good to kind of show them the fruits of their labor, too.”

Now after making his way up through fellow young fighters and a 13-4-1 Shaun Asher, Mowry gets the chance to test himself against a highly experienced pro in Cleveland, a fellow Titan FC alumnus who also has experience in the PFL and Victory FC.

Cleveland most recently scored a first-round knockout of Kelvin Fitial at B2 Fighting Series 132 in August to claim the promotion’s vacant heavyweight title.

“[Rakim is] very dynamic. He’s very athletic,” Mowry said “He has powerful strikes. You know, he’s definitely shown the savvy of somebody who’s been in you know, however many almost 40 fights now. But I’m looking forward to the challenge of it.”

Bellator 271 will be headlined by Cristiane Justino (aka Cris Cyborg) defending the Bellator women’s featherweight championship against Sinead Kavanagh.

Bellator 271 takes place on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021 live from Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, FL. Follow along with FanSided MMA for all your news and highlights.

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