July 15 – Cody Law watched with more than a little interest on Saturday night as Dustin Poirier beat Conor McGregor by TKO in the first round in one of the most prominent mixed martial arts fights in years.
Law, a Forest Hills and Pitt-Johnstown graduate, trained with Poirier ahead of the fight, emulating McGregor in their training sessions in May. Law said he trains with Poirier two to three times a week as he prepares for his fight with Theodore Macuka, whom he will face Friday night at the Bellator 262 event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
“I was going to go left-handed for Dustin,” Law said. “He’s helped me a lot and hopefully I’ve helped him. He’s the best 155 pounds in the world and I have to be with him regularly.”
Law (3-0-0) is one of the Bellator’s best prospects. He will face Macuka (1-0-0) at 145 pounds on a preliminary card that starts at 6 p.m. Friday and will be streamed live for free on Bellator’s YouTube channel. Juliana Velasquez’s flyweight world title fight with Denise Kielholtz is the main event of the evening.
“It’s crazy,” Law said of his training partners. “Sometimes I almost play tricks on myself. I forget how good the guys I train with are. You start to forget that you go up against the best guys in the world. I’ve seen the best of the best.”
Macuka, whose nickname is “The Headtaker”, is a taekwondo black belt. The New Jersey native defeated Rikardo Hysenaj by first round knockout in his only professional fight almost a year ago. The 21-year-old also won his only amateur fight.
The law is much more experienced. A PIAA and NCAA Division II wrestling champion, the 26-year-old won five amateur fights before turning pro last year. He beat Orlando Ortega by D’Arce starter in his debut, then earned a TKO ground and pound victory over Kenny Champion in December 2020. He walked the distance for the first time in April, winning by unanimous decision over Nathan Ghareeb.
Training with the American Top Team in South Florida, Law faces Brazilian Marlon Moraes.
“My primary training partner, Marlin Moraes, is one of the best fighters in the world at 135 pounds,” Law said. “He’s a longtime kickboxer.”
Law trained in kickboxing with Philip Ameris of New Kensington, who will be in his corner Friday night, and doesn’t expect Macuka to offer anything he hasn’t seen before.
“I have my own taekwondo sense,” Law said. “There are obviously threats that every guy poses.… I’m not too focused on my opponent. I’m focused on myself. If I do my thing, everything will work out on its own.”
Law dominated his fight with Ghareeb with almost 10½ minutes of ground control but couldn’t finish off the jiujitsu specialist. Since then, Law has tried to improve in this area.
“I have spent a lot more time in jiujitsu since the last fight,” he said. “I do an extra session per week. I just focus a little more on the jiujitsu technique, passing the guard, having more finishes instead of being on top and trying to hit shots. learning process.”