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ARCHIVED STORY    SPRING/SUMMER 2012
Fighters Matt Bessette and Andres Jeudi
Connecticut native Matt Bessette (black trunks) and Massachussetts-based fighter Andres Jeudi (blue) fight at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville during a Reality Fighting event on June 2. Bessette was disqualified after illegally striking Jeudi in an apparent accident. 

Bellator lightweight from Connecticut
talks fighting
By Brian Woodman Jr.

   Matt Bessette earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Hartford in 2007 and then, in his words, everything changed. 
  “I started fighting and everything has taken a backseat to my fighting career for now,? said Bessette, who fought Andres Jeudi a lightweight bout on June 2 during a Reality Fighting event at the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville. He had an 8-3 record coming after defeating Saul Almeida at the casino on March 30 during Bellator Fighting Championships 63 but was disqualified during the June event following illegal contact between his foot and Jeudi’s head; Jeudi stated after the fight that he considered the contact an accident.
  “If I need to have a job to pay bills, I'll keep that job, but I'm not looking to have a career-type job that will keep me from training and doing what I love,? said Bessette, who has not let being diagnosed with luekemia and asthma earlier in life stop him from pursuing an interest in MMA that began at age 22, according to his website at http://mattbessette.net/bio.htm.
  Bessette, who currently has a three-fight deal with Bellator, states he is allowed to fight outside of their organization. He said the contracted fights are optional and at his discretion. 
  “I am being approached by three different organizations right now about setting up a big fight but I’m more focused on the task at hand right now,? he said.
   He currently trains at Underdog Brazilian Jui-Jitsu in Hartford but fondly remembers his previous gym.
  “I trained for a couple years with Team Link in Ludlow, Massachusetts,? he said. ? I grew pretty close to those guys over there, but I felt as though I needed a change at the time and it proved to be a great change for me. I couldn't be happier with the way my training is right now. I also still have a good friendship with several of the guys at Team Link. I'd always cheer for them unless of course it was against me or one of my teammates.?
   Although he claims BJJ as his core form and holds a brown belt in the style, he admitted to loving boxing. 
   “I excel in BJJ, but I really appreciate all of the art,? he said. “I guess I just ‘get it’ more than the other arts, as of now… BJJ is my strongest art. I am honored to represent it when I fight MMA. I like when people consider me a well rounded fighter, but when I get the submission, it is the greatest honor for me, as I represent the greatest martial art that the world has to offer. I am always looking to better every aspect of my game, so I’m consistently working my wrestling and boxing, as well. Just because I'm a "BJJ guy" doesn't mean I can't be the best guys standing.?
   He also holds a yellow belt in Judo yellow belt.
  “It just means you are a beginner, but I haven't trained strictly Judo for two years so maybe I’d be ranked higher now,? he said. “In non-ranking systems, there are wrestling, boxing, and kickboxing, that I train in on a very regular basis.?
   He trains in BJJ under black belt Fabiano Teles and striking under Jeet Kune Do exponent Russell Leake.“To be honest, I don't train much in straight Jeet Kune Do because the main goal in this art is to strike and neutralize in order to get out of danger, rather than continue a fight and transition to more dominating positions and holds,? he said. “My favorite part of Jeet Kune Do and Wing Chung is the hand fighting or trapping. It really is effective and a lot of fun to learn.?
   He expressed his admiration for UFC belt holders Anderson Silva, Jon Jones and Jose Aldo but added they had physical gifts that made them difficult to emulate.
   “They are the new breed of fighters that are just a level above even the top guys in the world,? he said. “It’s awesome to watch them and wow over them, but to have styles like them isn't realistic. I have my own style and I use what I learn and fight how I'm comfortable.?
   “With that being said, I love to watch and emulate Benson Henderson, George S. Pierre and Toquino Palhares. Henderson is obnoxiously well-rounded, GSP is the most dominant MMA wrestler. Palhares tries to end the fight before it starts. A mix of the attributes of those three fighters makes for a dangerous, dangerous individual.?