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Bellator 291 winner Norbert Novenyi Jr. impressed with champ Johnny Eblen, ‘but I’m coming’

DUBLIN – Norbert Novenyi Jr. knows he still has work to do but warns Johnny Eblen that he’s coming for him.

Novenyi (6-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) made quick work of Andy Manzolo this past Saturday at Bellator 291 in Dublin by knocking him out in the first round. Despite still being young in his career, the 23-year-old unbeaten prospect is confident that he’ll rise to the challenge of someday competing against Eblen (13-0 MMA, 9-0 BMMA).

“I can’t rush it. I know I’ve got so much to work on, and the division is full of killers,” Novenyi told MMA Junkie and other reporters following Bellator 291. “I mean, what Johnny Eblen did last fight was amazing. … I still feel like I have to get a couple of fights out of the way. I’m still 6-0 now, I’m still 23. I had a long time out. I want to get a couple of fights in, but I’m coming. I want all these middleweights to know while they’re doing their weights and pad sessions, I’m putting in work.”

He continued, “For me to outwork these guys, it’s easy. But my skills have to be better, my experience inside the cage has to be more, and I know that. I’m still young. I need to get stronger, blah, blah, blah. But I’m coming, and I want all these guys to know – and Johnny Eblen was here tonight. Hopefully he liked my performance. Again, he’s a couple of fights ahead of me still, but I’m coming.”

Eblen’s decorated wrestling background has given all his opposition problems, including his most recent title defense against Anatoly Tokov at Bellator 290. But Novenyi Jr. vows that his wrestling game is ever improving, and being the son of an Olympic gold medalist wrestler, he has the guidance to back it up too.

“I’ve been wrestling since I was 3, t-and-a-half,” Novenyi Jr. said. “I’ve got videos of me as a kid wrestling. I can wrestle. Since I was 14 I haven’t been wrestling as much, so maybe on that level, Johnny Eblen’s got that little ahead of me, but I know I can keep up with these wrestlers. I really rate him. He’s good everywhere, but the best skill he’s got is his work ethic and his cardio.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 291.

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