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“The Freight Train” prepares for Bellator’s fall season
Photo of Josh Diekman
By Brian Woodman Jr.

   Groton resident Josh “Freight Train” Diekman (15-5-0-1) stated that he will compete in Bellator’s next heavyweight tournament. Spokespersons for Bellator have not confirmed as of this writing whether the opening rounds of the Season 11 tournament will happen at Bellator 123 on September 5 at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville. 
   Waterford resident Brennan “the Irish Bad Boy” Ward (9-2-0) will compete at the event, which will occur during the same night as the UFC’s event at Foxwoods.
   Spokespersons for Bellator stated that they have not yet confirmed who will fight on the rest of the card apart from Ward, who is scheduled to fight James “Sandman” Irvin (17-10-0-2). The company announced it will start its next middleweight tournament that evening.
   Thirty-seven-year-old Diekman, who fought on the preliminary card at Bellator 98 on Sept. 7, 2013 at Mohegan Sun, said his first opponent has not yet been chosen. Bellator 98 kicked off the organization’s ninth season. 

   Ward fought on the same card and won Bellator’s middleweight tournament. He subsequently lost to middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko (50-8-0) on March 28.
   Both Diekman and Ward train at Sityodtong in Sommer. 
   Diekman also trains in BJJ at Tim Burill BJJ in Providence, Rhode Island and at Triforce MMA in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He referred to Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort as two of his favorite fighters.
   “I try and train for a good, well-rounded game,” said Diekman about his reputation as a fighter that prefers striking. “It just seems my hands are my best asset.”
   His interest in martial arts began when he studied Judo as a child, he said.
   “I didn’t walk into a gym until I was 27,” he said. “I had my first fight about four months later with Sean Gannon.”
   During his first fight with Bellator, which was the September 7 event, he fought fellow Southington native and former Reality Fighting heavyweight champion Parker Porter (5-4-0).
   Diekman stated he is under contract for six fights with Bellator.
   After Bellator 98, Diekman competed for Massachusetts-based organization Boxing and MMA organization CES (Classic Entertainment Sports) on Nov.15 at Foxwoods. His fight with Manny Lara (4-4-0-1) at Bellator 110 on Feb. 28 at Mohegan Sun was ruled a no contest after an accidental eye poke in the first round.
   Spokespersons for Bellator stated that Hartford’s Matt “Mangler” Bessette (13-5-0), who competed in Bellator’s tenth-season featherweight tournament, will fight this fall. They did not release specifics as of this writing.