Posts Tagged ‘Joey Beltran’

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Many men and woman look the part, and act the part in Mixed Martial Arts. Time however inevitably exposes the hype. Categorizing the serviceable pro from the contenders, and relegating those who never live up to expectation into obscurity. The combat roads are littered with those who dared to believe their own hype, before creating anything more than raw ability. In the fight game toughness and god given ability will get you far, but not far enough.

Liam McGeary (8-0 MMA) is the latest fighter to find himself on that road. Complete with an endearing smile, charming accent, and a very aggressive style; McGeary has all the tools and the early success that could make him the next great light heavyweight. His last fight was supposed to be his toughest test yet. The Bellator brass wanted to see if there protege could stand up against a higher level opponent. His opponent Egidijius Valavicius (27-11 MMA) was far more experienced, and a tough dude who had fought some of the best in the business including Fedor Emelianenko.

The matchmakers at Bellator MMA had there plans thwarted as McGeary dispatched the veteran in just 2:10 into the fight. Utilizing his superior reach McGeary picked his way inside of Valavicius and tore through him with nasty elbows and knees forcing the stoppage. One question however was answered. McGeary ate a few big shots from Valavicius early into the round, and he walked right through them.

In answering those questions, McGeary also punched his ticket to move on in the light heavyweight tournament. His opponent in the finals will be toughest test yet for McGeary as he will face off with American Top Team’s Kelly Anundson (9-2 MMA). Anundson possesses some of the best wrestling in the division and that could be the focus of the fight. Will McGeary, who is primarily known as a striker, be able to withstand the relentless pressure that Anundson brings to every fight.

With a grappler as accomplished as Anundson its not a matter of if he will shoot for the takedown but when? Can McGeary stop them, certainly not all of them. This fight will eventually end up in Anundson’s living room. However if McGeary can get back to his feet, he is deadly in the clinch. So although Anundson has the wrestling advantage, he is going to have to walk through a hell storm of knees and elbows to finish the shot.

The key to victory for either fighter is being able to score in the opponents territory. If McGeary is on his back he has to be active with the strikes, in order to counter the methodical smothering of Anundson. For Anundson, it is imperative for him to score on his feet. He can not allow McGeary to manipulate the distance. If he does, he has a tendency to telegraph his shot, especially as he wears down. If he does, McGeary should be able to avoid, and counter with his superior striking.

In a weekend filled with fights, both Boxing and MMA this is the single most intriguing fight of the weekend, and one that cannot be missed!

The winner of the fight will face the winner of the Joey Beltran vs. Emanuel Newton fight, and vie for the Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight Championship of the World.

Prediction: Liam McGeary via TKO RD 2

 

 

 

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Blagoi Ivanov

 

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

 

Bellator MMA’s roster of fighters is a diverse group of young talent, coupled with a few older lions who are looking for to either return to form, win a world title, or too  prove to themselves that they can still mix it up with the best. Three fighters that we will focus on tonight are Blagoi Ivanov, Karo Parisyan, and Vladimir Matyushenko.

On the Cusp of Immortality

Two years ago, Blagoi Ivanov was at the start of a very promising Bellator MMA career. He came to the company on the heels of defeating MMA Legend Fedor Emelianenko in the World Sambo Championships. Everything was going according to plan. Until armed thugs confronted Ivanov and a group of friends in his homeland of Bulgaria, at a nightclub. During the melee, Ivanov was stabbed under the armpit with a 12 inch blade. The wound pierced his heart, and lungs. Emergency surgery was performed to save the young fighters life, but then infections set in. Ivanov was placed into a medically induced coma, where he lay near death for over 80 days, in the dark.

When he awoke, he was a shell of his former self. The once strapping heavyweight was closer to a welterweight in size, and walking and breathing became his new hurdles. His career was effectively over as a fighter, however someone forgot to tell him. He spoke with Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebeney and promised that he would return. After one year of intense training, Ivanov began to put on the weight he slept off, and slowly but surely began regaining his facilities.

Since his return, Ivanov appeared to not have missed a step. He has remained undefeated. His latest win at Bellator 116 over former UFC fighter Lavar Johnson, came via a slick Americana late in the first round that forced ‘Big’ to tap. The win has earned Ivanov a place in the Heavyweight Tournament Finals where he will face former Title holder Alexander Volkov for a shot at the World Title. In two years Ivanov has been in places not many have gone before. He keeps defying the odds at every turn, he is a champion in life, and soon may have the belt to match.

Return to Form

From 2002-2008 Karo Parisyan was one of the worlds top welterweight fighters. He was fighting all over the world, and was on the verge of a title shot. During this run, the young judoka was considered one of the sports most talented fighters. With wins over Nick Diaz, Josh Burkman, Ryo Chonan, Former Champion Matt Serra, and Chris Lytle, Parisyan seemed set to have a long successful career. Then the wheels fell off!

Parisyan spoke with us before his fight with Rick Hawn, and told us how his life spun out of control. Substances that initially were designed to heal the nagging injuries a fighter must deal with, became part of his every-day routine. He was cut from the UFC, and seemed to be another case of wasted talent.

Like a real champion, Parisyan woke up one day and realized what he was losing. He sought help and slowly began to find himself again. He also started to feel that fire in his belly, that once labeled him ‘The Heat’. Taking some fights on the regional circuit may be difficult for a fighter who once fought at the top, however it was that same humility that led Parisyan back into the light.

After a few fights with mixed results, ‘The Heat’ began to churn into an inferno again. With his weight in check, and his problems in his rear view mirror, Parisyan was given a second chance with Bellator. His first fight against Rick Hawn was a difficult task, however Parisyan attacked from the opening bell. His hands looked up to speed, his movement was working and then he got caught. Hawn won the fight but it was obvious to everyone in attendance that Parisyan was on his way back.

His next fight was equally difficult. At Bellator 116 Parisyan was paired with AKA’s Ron Kesslar who is coming off a big win over War Machine. On paper the match pitted judoka v wrestler. However its was Parisyan’s hands that made the difference. late in the second round, Parisyan dropped Kesslar with a series of punches and was able to finish with impressive ground and pound.

The win solidified Parisyan’s chances for being selected in the next welterweight tournament. Parisyan, at one time could have been one of the best in the world. In fact he was one of the best. However real champions are not made they are built. In Parisyan’s case he is rebuilt. This version, the 2.0 version is much more humble and intelligent. Like the phoenix before him, ‘The Heat’ has risen from the fire and the future looks very bright!

Farewell to A Legend

Vladimir Matyushenko has fought everywhere, and in every major organization. ‘The Janitor’ has long been one of the top light heavyweight fighters in the world. The former IFL Champion, fought in the UFC, Bellator, IFL, IFC, and Affliction and many other organizations around the world. With a record of  27-8, Matyushenko has shared the cage with a ‘who’s who’ of the MMA elite.

At Bellator 116, Matyushenko lost to Joey Beltran via North South choke late in the 3rd round. The legend left his gloves in the cage signifying his retirement. Like a wrestler leaving his shoes on the mat, ‘The Janitor’ said goodbye to the world of fighting but will remain relevant in MMA as one of the best wrestling coaches alive. Vladimir is living the American dream. He came to this country speaking only the language of a wrestler, now he is revered as legend. Matyushenko will continue as the head wrestling coach at Dynamix MMA in Santa Monica where he will be an amazing influence on all fighters young and old for many years to come.