Bellator 131-33

I wonder how long it will take Tito to sign the lawsuit!

 

By: Jonathan M King The Clinch Report

This week three fighters Jon Fitch, Nate Quarry, and Cung Le announced their filing of a lawsuit claiming violations of the Sherman Anti Trust Act, against their former employers The UFC. The lawsuit had been a poorly kept secret for last two years, with most industry insiders hearing tell about the suit over 2 years ago.

Basically the three fighters claim that the UFC uses its industry clout to crush competition, which history cannot deny. The UFC has bought out all of their major competitors including Pride, Elite XC, Affliction, Strikeforce, and the WEC which the UFC merged with creating the lower weight class structure.  Since then The World Series of Fighting and Bellator MMA have emerged, but neither have attained anywhere near what could be considered ‘competitor’ status. They even use Whites own social media postings as evidence to efforts to “kill” his competition.

Where there is smoke?:

With the Reebok uniform deal now in place it appears the UFC is trying to control all of the income generated by their fights. Fighters will no longer be able to pick and choose sponsors, and will be paid on a scale based on the fighters position in the rankings. The move according to Dana White will result in the UFC “Not making a dime of the deal!”. Which I find to be completely bullshit! If the deal is not resulting in profit, than why were the financial terms not disclosed? One reason is so White could say just that! The statement is a hapless attempt at trying to appear to be on the side of fighter advocacy. The idea was to make this deal look like it was done FOR the fighters benefit, which may be a side effect, but it definitely was not the reason!

Another source of the smoke, are the personal vendettas that were used to form policy that effected the fighters ability to earn. Fighters carry sponsorship on contract. Some of these sponsors have found themselves on the wrong side of the UFC’s wrath for sponsoring fighters who fight outside of the world leader. Companies like RVCA, Affliction, and many others have been banned at times, removing their fighters opportunity to earn. When Apparel company RVCA sponsored the one fighter the UFC couldn’t sing Fedor Emeliananko, they were banned from the UFC. Essentially removing several fighters primary sponsor, including a guy who built the UFC BJ Penn! A petulant move by a company that has essentially become an industry!

The UFC is the greatest fight organization on the planet. Dana White and the Ferttita brothers took a failing competition and built upon the foundation an empire that is at the head of a billion dollar global sport. They are the impetus, the Alpha and the Omega. They are great men, who have exceeded every expectation to date. They donate millions of dollars, consistently provide for our troops, and always give back to the cities that host their events. They do a ton of good things. You may not like Dana White, but there is no denying he is the best promoter on the planet. I don’t want this to be perceived as a “bash the UFC” piece because that is not the intention.

They also pay the fighters more than any other organization. UFC fighters are treated better than any other organization. However that is still not enough. When the uniform policy was announced, the UFC brass likened the move to the NFL and NBA, stating those players had a dress code, and couldn’t wear sponsors. This of course is true. It is also true that both NBA and NFL players have pensions, and healthcare, and a union that is consistently looking out for the players best interests! Yet UFC fighters are without both. Lets keep making comparisons to NFL and NBA players don’t just stop where your point looses steam!

NBA and NFL players are also guaranteed money and the bonus structure is defined in writing. If a player under contract is cut, he still gets paid! Players are also paid for their likenesses in video games. In fact the game Madden NFL has to come to agreements with the NFL and the NFLPA (players association) in order to use player likenesses. That means all players benefit, because the players union distributes that money. So I think the UFC brass should continue their line of thinking, by all means, just follow the logic. If they did, they would see the fighters point of view.

Major Problem with the lawsuit:

“When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command.  Very often, that person is crazy.”  ~Dave Barry

The three fighters involved with the suit all have baggage. Nate Quarry has always been a staunch critic of the UFC’s business practices, and is considered somewhat of a curmudgeon by other fighters. Cung Le just failed a well documented PED test, and although he has since been exonerated on a technicality, he is being looked at as a guy who is just pissed off at the UFC for the way they treated him following his failed test. Jon Fitch is the lone gunmen who could garner some support. Fitch was at one time the captain of Team AKA which features some of the most notable fighters in the UFC. He is well respected fighter but he is a quiet guy, and has never been the type to make a lot of noise. Unfortunately for these three that is what they need. They need a mouth like Quarry, with the respect of Fitch. I am not trying to bash these guys, I agree with their points, I just wonder if they were the best choice. Maybe they are, but I do not think I am off base looking into their past as reason for their motivations. Just playing devils advocate.

Of course the suit is geared to gain more names, however with so many staying silent. It may take a while. Most fighters and managers are keeping quiet publicly, although they are all inquiring privately. Essentially that is the problem and the major hurdle. Everyone is scared to anger the big bad UFC. After all, the ban hammer falls equally on sponsors and fighters the like, managers too! Like the Dave Barry quote states, the guy who stands up to take charge is very often crazy, but does that extinguish the need? No it doesn’t, it just extinguishes the fire, making the smoke that much more difficult too see!

Hopefully this suit solidifies the fighter base. That would be the best result. If the fighters emerge with one voice, looking out for their interests than this suit will serve the industry. In the end a fighter union is what is needed. One that represents fighter advocacy as their primary function. However, they must be careful not to fall in the same pit that most MMA manager find themselves currently in! Represent our fighters interests, or anger the big bad UFC? Unfortunately for the fighters fortune favors the bold, and most MMA managers are the exact opposite!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RFA 12.5-48

By: Jonathan M King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Resurrection Fighting Alliance returned to the Southern Californian landscape with an evening of combat at the OC Hangar in Costa Mesa. The night featured some of the regions top young talent, as well as a good mix of savvy veterans who are hungry to return to prominence. With the vacant lightweight title on the line (vacated by Christos Giagos when he was signed by the UFC), Mehdi Baghdad (11-3 MMA, 1-0 RFA) took on Zach Juusola (10-3 MMA) in evenings main event.

Juusola looked to keep the fight grounded and out of the range of Baghdad’s strikes and did so for the better part of four rounds. However halfway through the fourth round Baghdad unleashed an I.Q. changing elbow that split Juusola apart, before dropping him to his knees. Juusola had just recovered from a low blow. After being given some time to recover, he indicated he was ready to go. The elbow came almost instantly, as did the stoppage.

The win places Baghdad in a good position. If he is signed by the UFC he will join Giagos, Kevin Casey, Brian Ortega, and Alan Jouban as former RFA champions currently employed by the industry leader. However it wouldn’t be surprising to Scott Coker courting him as well.

With Viacom committed, Bellator MMA could be the perfect fit for Baghdad. There he would be able to make good money, in a division with much less clutter. Currently the UFC roster is bloated with over 100 lightweights, whereas Bellator currently only has 27. With the UFC uniform concept yet to be proven profitable, it may make sense to look elsewhere.

In the co-main event fan favorite Joe Murphy (8-1 MMA, 1-0 RFA) starched Brazilian Bruno Frazatto (6-2 MMA, 1-1 RFA) with a dizzying array of strikes, that saw the grappling expert in the fetal position trying to cover up as the referee stopped the fight. Murphy landed with a short lead uppercut that caught Frazatto on the tip of the chin, felling him early in the first round. Much to the delight of the crowd who came complete with signs and t-shirts in support of the Cleber Jiu Jitsu fighter. The win may be enough for Murphy to maneuver himself for a shot at a title.

Chase Gormely (11-4 MMA, 1-0 RF) also cruised to a unanimous decision win over Dale Sopi (6-1 MMA) in a battle of heavyweights. Gormely looking to make his way back to the UFC handed Sopi the first loss of his career. Both fighters appeared to tire after the first frame, but Gormely was able to impose his will on Sopi, consistently taking him to the mat. The win keeps Gormely on track to get back to the UFC ranks.

Francisco France (11-3-1 MMA) made short work of veteran Mikey Gomez (17-11 MMA) winning their fight in the very first round by technical submission. France dropped Gomez with big shot to the top of the head. Once on the mat, a dazed Gomez was unable to prevent France from getting to side control, where the arm in choke put Gomez to sleep. The win may have moved France into title contention.

RFA continues to get better with each show. The main reason for that growth is the talent level they attract! Promoter Ed Soares and his team have created a viable promotion that primarily acts as the bar for the larger organizations. If you can win a title within the RFA organization, chances are you will do very well in the big show. If not, well then this is the measuring stick you need to gauge yourself against. Everyone wants to be in the UFC. First ask yourself if you can make it too RFA!

 

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KOTC 12.4-26

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By John Walsh The Clinch Report

Fight 1: Marlen Magee vs. Jay Pinto     155lbs   3X5

Results:

Rd 1: Both fighters start off with an incredible exchange that damages both fighters. McGee instigates the clinch  but ends up on bottom. Pinto pops his head free from the guillotine. Both fighters stand up and Pinto again lands in top control as McGee falls on the middle kick. Good first round. 10-9 Pinto

Rd 2: Again both fighters swinging heavy. Magee rocked early but able to survive. Pinto in control after 2 rounds on our cards 10-9

Rd 3: Very tough round to score, both fighter exhausted. Pinto had control of MaGee’s body for a good portion of the frame, but Magee was the only one scoring with strikes. We score the round for Magee. 10-9 but the fight for Pinto (29-28)

Decision: Winner via UD Marlon Magee (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Fight 2: Chase Gibson vs. David Hernandez   145lbs 3X5

Rd 1: Gibson starts out very busy. Nice head kick and body kick from Gibson find a home. Hernandez charges forward with a multiple punch flurry. Nice judo toss from Gibson finds him in side control. Now in North South position, Gibson looking to get busy with the ground and pound. Quickly Gibson transitions to the back where he secures the tap.

Winner: Chase Gibson via RNC Rd 1:

Fight 3: Chris Culley vs. Kevin Michel   149lbs 3X5

Rd 1:Chris Culley controls the fight from the opening bell. Great strikes at range, but not many of them. Culley picking his shots has Michel in a bad position up against the cage. Nice transition to the back from Culley who seems to have the choke deep, and he does. Michel taps ending the fight!

Winner: via RNC Chris Culley 4:45 Rd 1

Fight 4: Dominick Reyes vs. Jose Rivas  198lbs (Catchweight)  3X5

Rd 1: Rivas lands right away with a nice middle kick but eats a few nice knees from Reyes in the clinch. Reyes moving well, as Rivas appears to be tiring already. Reyes systematically picking Rivas apart. Crisp jab from Reyes finding their mark. Diverse arsenal of strikes from Reyes, who lands with kicks and punches to the body. Straight left hand from Reyes, followed by another and another. Rivas drops and that is the end of the fight.

Winner: via TKO Dominick Reyes 3:23 Rd 1

Fight 5: Todd Willingham vs. Joshua Aveles   170lbs 3X5

Rd 1: Both fighters feeling each other out, as each are throwing single shots. Aveles keeping that right hand cocked but not letting it go yet. Willingham giving as god as he is receiving so far! Willingham wearing some damage already as hid right eye is leaking. The eye is closing rapidly. Left hook upper cut from Aveles starches Willingham.  Body kick from Aveles rocks Willingham backwards. Nice right hand from Aveles as well.  Willingham appears to be on borrowed time  Left and right  huge upper cut from Aveles and that is the end of the fight!

Winner: Joshua Aveles via TKO Rd 1

Fight 6: Alex Reyes vs. Victor Meza   155lbs 5X5 (For KOTC 155lbs Title)

Rd 1:Both fighters working out of the orthodox stance as the trade middle kicks. Reyes flirts with the spin kick but misses. Meza looking to establish the jab, then flurries forward with the 3, 2. Reyes lands some heavy punches but Meza circles away effectively. Neither fighter looking to set anything up at this point, all home run shot to this point. Meza lands a nice uppercut but Reyes quicly obtains position and buries Meza into the cage. Both fighters work free to the center of the cage. Reyes working out of the clinch lands  to the body but Meza returns with a head kick as the round comes to a close. 10-9 Reyes

Rd 2: Reyes landing with some power to the body, then changing levels to the head before exiting clean. Reyes now attacking the legs of Meza, whose output and movement have slowed. Nice rght hand from Reyes before taking the clinch and slamming Meza to the mat. Meza back to his feet lands a nice right on the exit. Back to the middle of the cage now. Meza standing practically still. Reyes circling around him. Reyes doubles up on the jab before changing to the body. Left hook right leg kick from Reyes. Meza attempts the head kick but blocked effectively by Reyes. Meza looking for a guillotine but Reyes pops his head free, and looks for an arm in choke but he releases it before landing a nice combination to the body. Both fighters throwing and even Herb Dean catches one! 10-9 Reyes

Rd 3: Reyes lands a big leg kick and Meza is hurt. Meza pinned against the cage as Reyes keeps the relentless pressure applied. Reyes now in Meza’s open guard. Reyes with a knee as they both stand. Meza appears to be moving better. Both fighters starting to tire. Reyes again with the take down. Nice elbows from the top as Meza is in trouble again. Knees to the body from Reyes. Straight left from Reyes. Reyes looks to transition to the back, but Meza shrimps free to side control. Both fighter stand as the round comes to a close.

Rd 4: Meza coming to life in this 4th round. Reyes still in control, but Meza lands with a huge uppercut. Reyes again working the clinch, but Meza works free. Now Meza stalking.Reyes lands a right and Meza slips into a choke. Meza works free as Reyes fails to take his back. Reyes again buries Meza into the cage. Leg kick floors Meza as Reyes swarms. Meza able to survve so far but now the choke is in and it is deep! Meza taps!

Winner: via RNC submission and NEW 155lbs KOTC Champion Alex Reyes 4:43 Rd 4

Fight 7: Will Noland vs.  Daniel Hernandez 185lbs 5X5 (for KOTC 185lbs Title)

Rd 1: Hernandez takes a hold of an missed middle kick and parlays it into the first take down. Guillotine from Hernandez but Noland works free and to his feet. Another take down from Hernandez this time a trip. Noland back to his feet again. Nice knees from Noland in the clinch but again Hernandez grounds the fight. Somehow Hernandez gets an arm and secures the tap!

Winner: via Armbar rd 1 And Still 185 lbs Champion Daniel Hernandez

IMG_5954 (1)

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Since Scott Coker has taken over Bellator MMA has survived a lame-duck transitional period of uncertainty only to emerge in a more tenable situation than ever before. The new regime has not only updated the drab promotional image by polishing the broadcast with elaborate entrances, but they have also updated an antiquated roster as well. Coker and has team have signed a diverse group of veteran fighters with name recognition to go along with some of the sports top prospects. The move ensures the future, while staying current with relevant big name fighters headlining televised events.

Two of those prospects are Michael Page (7-0 MMA 3-0 Bellator MMA) and Curtis Millender (7-0 MMA Bellator MMA Debut) who are set to square off in January as part of the promotions series of fights titled ‘The British Invasion’. Page has been highly touted as one of the best young fighters in the welterweight division, while Millender has remained under the radar for the most part. A trend the man they call ‘Courteous Curtis’ plans to reverse with an explosive debut.

In Page, Millender finds his toughest opponent too date. Essentially he will be fighting his mirror image. Both fighters are exactly the same size, at 6’3 they tower over the rest of the division, and both are known for their electric striking. However if the fight were to find its way to the ground, Millender would be comfortable as well. “Let’s just say I am more than comfortable on the ground, and if it does end up there, he is in trouble!”, Millender said.

The fight will be Millender’s first bout outside of the confines of ‘The OC Fight Club Hangar’, a place he has called home for all of his 7 professional fights. A trend that is a direct result of his ability. Once promoter Roy Englebrecht and manager Mel Valenzuela saw ‘Curtious’ in action they knew they had discovered a gem. They locked him up to a contract and then they realized Millender’s main problem. No one wanted to fight him!

Much like Pat Cummins who also trains at Reign MMA, Millender presents a nightmare for most fighters to match up against. His reach and striking prowess make him almost impossible to hit, and even harder to avoid! With opponents heading for the hills, Englebrecht and Valenzuela had to fly in opponents with well known pedigrees to test Millender. The only problem was, he walked through them too!

So now here we are set to witness two of the sports best young welterweights fight each other in the Bellator MMA cage. Even though Millender predicts a victory, he realizes he may see Page again, as this may be an emerging rivalry. “I wouldn’t be surprised if I have to beat him again!”, Millender said. However he doesn’t see a need for a third! “We are both young and I could see myself having to beat him again, but I don’t think a third time will be necessary!”

The problem facing a prospect is that at some point he has to shed that moniker in order to take on that of a contender. For Millender this journey started long ago. The countless hours of preparation are starting to pay off. However the hard work is just beginning. Although Bellator MMA currently only has 23 current welterweights on the roster, the depth of talent makes it one of the toughest divisions in the promotion. With current champion Douglas Lima scheduled to fight British slugger Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley, the winner of this bout could find himself on a short list of contenders for the 170 lbs title.

Curtis Millender (7-0 MMA) is signed to Bellator MMA and  is represented by Mel Valenzuela. Millender would like to thank his family, and friends, and coaches for supporting his career, but especially wants to thank anyone who “ever gave [him] a ride to the gym”. He would also like to personally recognize Roy Englebrecht and his manager Mel for supporting his efforts.

Curtis Millender is currently sponsored by: Everlast,  Via Diamond Termite, Nu Image Marketing, Kolor Splash of Anaheim, and JP 23 BBQ , and Grand Casino Bakery of Culver City.

Millender trains out of UFC Gym Fullerton and Reign Training Center

The History Making Liver Kick

The History Making Liver Kick

By: Jonathan M King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Spar Star MMA Thanksgiving edition was another well balanced mixed martial arts event featuring some of Southern California’s top young talent. Mel Valenzuela carefully crafted an intricate fight card that show cased some of the best gyms in the area. Tapout LA, 10th Planet, DogPound MMA, BJMUTA, Systems Training Center, NZT MMA, The Sweat Shop, and Chad George’s new CMMA are just a few of the teams that were represented.

Farren Romero made MMA history when she captured the inaugural Spar Star MMA Bantamweight title, after she was able to fell a very tough Danielle Mack with a cirrhosis endusing liver kick. Mack did her best to retreat and recover, but her efforts only fueled Romero’s advance as she flurried with straight punches that went unanswered. After the volume of strikes continued from Romero, the referee stepped in to save her from further damage. The victory for Romero was certainly sweet, however each title carries with it a target. With a cadre of young hungry fighters coming through the amateur ranks, Romero will have to continue to improve is she hopes to retain that new shiny belt!

In the evenings co-main event, Tapout LA’s Daniel Rodriguez took on Hayastan/Defiant Gym’s Hakob Ter Petrosyan. Petrosyan looked to establish his range early on however Rodriguez had other plans. A nice left hand from instigated a lazy take-down attempt from Petrosyan that was stuffed easily. Once Rodriguez cleared the legs the ground and pound came raining down. After a few more unanswered shots referee Frank Trigg stepped in to call a halt to the bout. Rodriguez maintains his unblemished record (6-0) as an amateur and is looking to hopefully parlay this latest win into a shot for a pro contract.

Rodriguez like the rest of the Spar Star roster of amateurs are certainly in the right spot. Just a over a year ago Systems Training Center’s Albert Morales captured Spar Star gold, now after completing his amateur career Morales is set to make his debut on one of the grandest of stages. Morales will be fighting for Bellator MMA in January against fellow Spar Star MMA Champion Fabian Gonzalez. Gonzalez and Morales are just the latest Spar Star Alumni to make graduate to the next level. They now join Ron Henderson and Jonathan Santa Maria as the latest fighters to make the leap from the local So Cal fight scene.

Spar Star is more than just a promotion. Or maybe they just properly define the term. Simply put Spar Star MMA promotes fighters. If you can do well in their cage, odds are you will do well in any cage. Promoter Tony Padilla has created a juggernaut, a snowball rolling downhill gathering steam, soaking up talent and spitting out stars. The Morales, Henderson, Santa Maria, and Gonzalez signings to Bellator are a direct result of his work. In other words, as a promoter, he promotes. Not just his show, or his brand but the fighters themselves as well. And not only when they fall under his umbrella, even after the a fighter has outgrown the Spar Star playground, Padilla stay invested. Padilla says it best himself when he says “Spar Star is a family!” As the head of that family, nothing gives the father more pride than seeing his children succeed!

By:Jonathan M King

Watch Live at http://www.pugilpixtv.com

Fight 1: Anthony Nealy vs. Kosmas Galatsis  3×2 rds 185 lbs

Round 1: Belongs clearly to Anthony Nealy. Kosmos Galatsis spent most of the round backed up in Nealy’s clinch.

Round 2: Again lands in Nealy’s corner. He controlled the range with effective striking, and stifled every take down attempt from Galatsis.

Round 3: Galatsis threatened late with a deep armbar, but lacked the finishing technique. Another round for Nealy. We have him winning all three rounds.

Winner: Anthony Nealy via UD (30-27 x2, 30-26)

Fight 2: Roman Puga vs. Walter Alfaro 3×2 rds  145 lbs

Round 1:

 

 

 

 

Sparstar 10.11.14-10

 

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Saturday November 29th brings everyone a unique opportunity to witness MMA history. Months ago candidates for a women’s bantamweight tournament were selected to square off in an attempt to crown the first ever Spar Star MMA champion. That title would be the first of its kind under the CAMO sanctioning body.

Last month the four semi finalists were set to earn their spots, however a last minute withdrawal left Danielle Mack without a fight. Since she was ready to go, and on weight, Mack received a first round bye. Her opponent in the finals Farren Romero had to earn her spot in the traditional way. Romero choked out her opening round opponent in the second round of their fight, punching her ticket to meet Mack in the finals.

With Hollywood Park Casino as the backdrop, once again the Spar Star Cage is in place and ready to absorb all the punishment the fighters can dish out. Many of these men and women will be using this platform as launching points for their burgeoning pro careers. So we can expect a high level of output from some very eager brawlers. Several of the fighters on the card have fought here before, a testament to both the quality of the show, and the character of those who run the operation.

The Nights first fight is scheduled to begin at 6:00 pm, with doors opening an hour earlier at 5:00 pm. As always this event is for all ages. Beverages and snacks will be available for purchase. A few tickets may still be available so make sure to contact any of the fighters on the card for tickets.

Support your local Fighters!

The entire Fight Card is scheduled as followed.

Antony Nealy vs. Kosmas Galatsis 181 lbs (Catchweight)

Roman Puga vs. Walter Alfaro 145lbs

Russell Beatley vs. Sergey Martirosyan  165lbs (Catchweight)

Tigran Grigoryan vs. Mateuz Grudziaz in a 175lbs

Nicholas Duran vs. Richie Meister   135lbs

Tizoc Froese vs. Javel Mckenzie       125lbs

Sincere Freeman vs. Mario Lopez   155lbs

Tanner Grant vs. Julio Rios   140lbs (Catchweight)

Jonathan Quiroz vs. Antonio Vasquez   145lbs

Eric Berganza vs. Jacob Sandoval   135lbs

Erick Gonzalez vs. Jonel Kimbrough 155lbs

JaShonna Owens vs. Selena Longo 145lbs

Hakob Ter-Petrosyan vs. Daniel Rodriguez 176lbs (Catchweight)

Danielle Mack vs. Farren Romero 135lbs

*Card is subject to change!

Some of Southern California’s best gyms will be represented including Hayastan, Tapout LA, 10th Planet, Main Event Gym, UFC Gym Fullerton, Systems Training Center, PKG, DogPound MMA, NZT MMA, The Sweat Shop, Defiant MMA, Team Sweet Science, and many more.

As always the stars will certainly be out, you never know who you may run into at a Spar Star show.

Check out some of our photo from the past Spar Star Events!

 

 

 

Bellator 131-38

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Scott Coker has been around for a while. Very few have a greater understanding of the ins and outs of MMA. So his hiring by Viacom to replace Bjorn Rebney as the head of Bellator MMA  seemed like the best choice. As the last of the tournaments under the old regime wouned down, a lame duck period ensued which showed very little difference. The look and feel had not changed, the faces were the same, and the results reflected the lack of interest.

That lame duck period came to an end with Bellator 131, In fact that period came to a screeching halt! Bonnar vs. Ortiz provided the perfect stage for Scott Coker and Viacom to unveil there re-branded image. The fighters now entered the cage via a long walk way, reminiscent of the old Japanese promotions. Some fighters like King Mo, Joe Vedepo, Tito Ortiz, and Stephan Bonnar came complete with entourages to escort them to the cage. The added pomp may not add to the excitement of the fight, but it certainly does improve the image of a promotion that was in desperate need of one!

The fight card itself may not have had title implications for anyone outside of Michael Chandler and Will Brooks, but it was very well matched as even the preliminary bouts provided a good show. The fights simply made sense. King Mo and Joe Vedepo faced off in the curtain jerker that opened the Spike broadcast. King Mo overwhelmed Vedepo from the opening round in what proved to be a one sided match although an entertaining one.

In perhaps the best fight of the evening, Glory alums Joe Schilling and Melvin Manhoef engaged in a back and forth war that saw both fighters nearly finished before a short right hook from Schilling ended the affair. Half way through the second frame Manhoef appeared to have to edge on the scorecards. In the first round Manhoef had Schilling on his back and in trouble as the ground and pound rained down. However Schilling was able to roll out of trouble, establish his guard, and ride out the round before ending the fight with one punch.

Mike Richman made perhaps the loudest statement of the night when he knocked out Nam Phan in under a minute. He then proceeded to challenge title holder Joe Warren who was cage side providing commentary for the fight. ‘The Marine’ has looked extremely impressive since he dropped down in weight, and with the win he finds himself on a short list of fighters who deserve a shot at the title.

When Michael Chandler and Will Brooks entered the cage to battle for the then interim lightweight title, everyone expected a war. The first round was a back and forth battle for position, similar to their last engagement. Brooks and Chandler battled for 3 rounds with Brooks appearing to get the better of Chandler.

Then in the fourth round Brooks cracked Chandler with a right hand that left the former champion struggling to find his senses. He appeared to ask for a stoppage, at first it appeared as if Chandler was poked in the eye, however replays confirm that he was on queer street and the punch’s effects had him essentially saying ‘No Mas’! The win for Brooks solidifies his claim as the legitimate world champion, while Chandler must find a way to rebound from his third consecutive loss.

Skepticism is fickle. Once the cage door is closed the hype disappears and performances are defined. I like most at first, felt like watching through interlaced fingers, the fear of having to witness a fraud unfold motivating me to vaguely hide my eyes. Fortunately both Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar removed that fear just seconds into their entertaining 3 round fight.

Both guys played to their strengths, as Tito Ortiz looked to ground the superior striking of  Stephan Bonnar. Early on Ortiz stalked the ‘American Psycho’ and blasted through his legs with quick single leg take downs, and later a power double that kept Bonnar grounded for most of the fight. The fight appeared to be a 30-27 clear cut win for Tito Ortiz, however one judge saw the fight 29-28 for Bonnar, awarding Ortiz with the split decision win.

The evening ended up being a return of sorts. After speaking with Scott Coker  it is obvious that Bellator MMA is heading in the right direction. The open minded leader referred to the possibility of tournaments in the future, they make sense as long as you are not beholden to them. The idea is to create an environment where fighters want to fight, to create an experience that the fans feel a part of and not just witness too. Last night an old idea forged in the spirit of martial arts was unveiled to an audience that wants to be a part of something.

The idea to return to the once a month format seems to make sense. The sport is currently over saturated, causing the growth rate of the sport to slow. With Coker on board the Viacom-Bellator MMA conglomerate seems destined to succeed. Hopefully the symphony created as a result  between Coker and Viacom carries a tune we can all dance to for a while. In a world where the UFC is practically rammed down our throats it will be nice to have a viable alternative.

 

Bellator 131-8

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

If you have watched a Joe Schilling fight once your hooked. As a fight fanatic I find him to be the combat sports equivalent of heroine. Each fight leaves you craving another. His Glory days always satisfied my voracious habit, because I knew he was fighting at least three times that night! Schilling possesses tremendous skill but there is something else about the man that makes you love the fighter.

Making his transition back to mixed martial arts from kick boxing, Shilling changes his venue as well, from the ring to the cage. Welcoming him in his transition was Melvin Manhoef. A man who has made a career out of switching back and forth between disciplines. Manhoef came out hot and landed right away. Schilling appeared tentative at first, but weathered the first barrages from Manhoef.

Manhoef somehow brought the fight to the ground where he looked to drop some heavy fists. Schilling was very close to being stopped as several blows prompted the referee to move in close. However, Schilling survived by rolling through and closed his guard around Manhoef who could not seem to break posture.

The second frame began with both fighters trading back and forth. Then as if a switch were thrown, the lights went out and the fight was over. Schilling after eating a few punches appeared to tense up before unloading a IQ changing right hook that removed Manhoef from consciousness as he fell prone to the ground. Referee Mike Beltran dove in to prevent further damage but Schilling had already walked off, himself a witness too the big KO.

The win not only reestablishes Schilling as a mixed martial artist, it also comes at a very difficult time for the young father of two. Leading up to the fight, Schilling lost his father to cancer. A fighter to the end, Joe’s father found redemption in his son and pride in his forgiveness. The loss echoed Schillings thoughts leading up to the fight. As if that grief was not enough, Schillings cousin also passed away tragically before the fight.

Joe Schilling has a long way to go before establishing himself as a mixed martial artist. However he showcased in this fight a competent guard, and an understanding of how to neutralize his opponents attacks from the bottom. Granted Melvin Manhoef is not know for his grappling pedigree, still Schilling’s instincts got him out of a very tough situation.

In a night where many fighters put on their best efforts, Schilling’s star shined brighter than them all! He may be in the early stages of development but his star power is undeniable.

131

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

We will be on site, and reporting live from the Valley View Casino Center for tonight’s Bellator 131: Bonnar vs. Ortiz

Please tune in for our fight by fight coverage on live analysis. Photos will be uploaded tomorrow.

Main card (Spike TV at 9 p.m.)
Tito Ortiz vs. Stephan Bonnar
Michael Chandler vs. Will Brooks
Mo Lawal vs. Joe Vedepo
Melvin Manhoef vs. Joe Schilling
Nam Phan vs. Mike Richman

Undercard
Kyle Bolt vs. A.J. Matthews
Ron Henderson vs. Jonathan Santa Maria
Jordan Bailey vs. Alex Higley
Nick Garcia vs. Matthew Ramirez
Andy Murad vs. Bubba Pugh
Rolando Perez vs. Mark Vorgeas
Ian Butler vs. Joao Faria