Posts Tagged ‘Pat Curran’

Battle tested, champion approved!

Battle tested, champion approved!

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

A new day in Bellator MMA has dawned, and the cracking sun shines on a new undisputed champion. The second Eddie Alvarez was released, Will Brooks became the promotions 155 lbs torch bearer. His first title defense is pretty obvious. Michael Chandler will most likely get the first shot at the newly minted undisputed champion. After losing a controversial decision to Brooks, it appeared that a unification bout with Alvarez put Chandler in limbo. It didn’t seem right for him to have to go through another tournament though. Thankfully now he won’t have to!

The Alvarez release makes sense for Bellator MMA. It allows the company to build with fighters that intend on being there for a while. Once the promotions and Alvarez engaged legally, the relationship was fractured. After signing an offer sheet with the UFC, Bellator under Bjorn Rebney exercised their matching rights, and claimed they matched the offer, and a nasty battle outside the cage ensued.

The parting also makes sense for Alvarez who has for years been at the top of the divisional rankings, without having to step foot in the octagon. Alvarez now has the opportunity test himself against the best 155 lbs fighters in the world. His first fight will be against Donald Cerrone at UFC 178. It will be Alvarez’s first fight since defeating Chandler nearly 10 months ago.

Now that Alvarez has moved on and with Scott Coker at the helm, the promotion can finally cut its own path, again! With Coker’s pedigree in MMA and with his new team of matchmakers it seems their only hurdle is the companies past transgressions. However with a group of solid young fighters that includes Chandler, Brooks, 205 lbs contender Liam McGeary, 170 lbs title holder Douglas Lima, 145 lbs champion Pat Curran, Daniel Straus and many others a bright future maybe only be a few roster tweaks away.

With Coker looking to book more big name fights, the Bellator PPV dream may once again become a viable option.

Odd Man Out: Ben Askren ‘Bad timing’

When Ben Askren was released CEO Bjorn Rebney based the decision on Askren’s “one dimensional’ style. Even though he was undefeated and the 170 lbs champion, he was cast aside. Happily Askren accepted the release, expecting his entrance into the UFC. However, Dana White had no intention in legitimizing the Bellator promotion by allowing Askren to continue his domination. So,he was told to sign elsewhere.

Now with One FC, Askren remains undefeated and is slowly becoming the poster child for the dominant Asian promotion.

Now that the regime has changed. It appears tensions have as well. Yes, Alvarez is more exciting to watch, but if the UFC claims to have the best fighters in the world, then you have to include the undefeated Askren. Especially when you consider the UFC even signed Jay Hieron following his loss to Askren.

Maybe Askren wanted too much money, or guarantees the UFC couldn’t grant. However with Alvarez being swallowed up right away, its begs the question. Why Alvarez and not Askren?

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Two battered Champions!

Two battered Champions!

By: Jonathan M King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Very rarely in the world of MMA do things go ‘according to plan’! This cliche extends from the fighters, to the judges and referee’s, and certainly reaches beyond even the promoters. Originally, and eventually are usually defined by the gulf between. If in that gap you find integrity, than there is a chance at success.

Bellator 106 was designed to be a Pay Per View. Although the scripted headline of Rampage vs Ortiz fell off due too Ortiz’s neck injury, the actual main event, was always going to be Eddie Alvarez vs Michael Chandler. No longer a PPV card the chasm of doubt in many circles began to grow. Executives at Bellator and their partners at Spike TV however, recognize opportunity where others saw disaster.

By offering the fight for free, on live television they allowed the world a glimpse at the absolute very best of Bellator MMA. Faith was placed in the fighters, and they did not disappoint.

The Pat Curran vs Daniel Straus fight was a clinical example of one fighter effectively executing a game plan throughout a fight. For 5 rounds, Daniel Straus blanketed the Champion, with his superior wrestling, and seemed to be the crisper of the two fighters, even after eating an illegal knee to the head, while grounded.

Curran, who is known to have some of the best hands in all of MMA, just couldn’t seem to get started. The challengers athleticism seemed to keep the champion in a mire, leaving him plodding instead of gliding, which Curran usually does. Unable to commit to combinations, Curran was effectively neutralized by Straus.

With the win Daniel Straus moves his name up the latter of 145 lbs fighter in the world rankings, and also picks up a nice shiny piece of hardware for the mantle piece. For Bellator, they can now legitimately claim have 2 of the top 145 lbs fighters in the world on their roster.

The one fight on the main card that was rather slow, was the King Mo vs Emanuel Newton fight. Newton, although he threw a sack load of strikes, most of them were moving backwards, and not many landed with any sauce on them. Mo, spent the night looking to counter with his wrestling, and inside game ended up on the short end of a unanimous decision. Despite landing the more damaging strikes, and the fights only take downs, the judges obviously scored for the busier fighter.

The Main Event may have been quite possibly Bellator MMA’s most spectacular moment. Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler collided at full speed, and the second fight seemed more like round 5 than it did a new fight. For 5 rounds, both fighters led all who watched on a violent elevator ride. Each appeared to be on the verge of defeat on numerous occasions, only to surge back with a flurry.

When two of the most skilled fighters in the world refuse too loose, we all win. Eddie Alvarez ended up on the sunny side of a split decision and returned the lightweight strap to his waist. For Chandler, an immediate rematch would certainly be justified. Its only a matter of time before the epic third contest is scheduled.

In the end, it is the result that more often than not matters most. The path across the divide may not be recognizable once you pass, but does it really matter? When you look back at that amazing fight, are you going to remember the two warriors that stood toe to toe, for 5 rounds, neither willing to relent? Or will you remember the two that didn’t even fight?

Michael Chandler v Eddie Alvarez for the Bellator MMA 155 lbs World Title

Michael Chandler v Eddie Alvarez for the Bellator MMA 155 lbs World Title

Bellator MMA Live from The Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, CA.

First fight is at 3:00 p.m. PST(6:00 pm EST) and the prelims will be streaming online at http://www.Spiketv.com

The main card will be shown live on SpikeTV. The card will feature three world title bouts.

Preliminary Card:

Fight #1: Josh Smith (8-5) vs Darren Smith (4-3) 155 lbs    3 X 5 Rounds:

Results: First fight end 29-28 on all cards Josh Smith via UD

Fight #2 Cleber Luciano (8-5) s Joe Camacho (16-18-3)

Rd 1: Camacho defends the early shot from Luciano, but is pressed back against hthe fence. Luciano with a nice roll, ends up in side control. Nice elbows from Luciano soften up Camacho, who is trying to pull his opponent close. Camacho able to close half guard, but Luciano is still landing with short elbows and punches. Luciano achieves mount, but is bucked back to side control. Both fighters trading from the mat, Luciano digs to the body. More short elbows from Luciano. Luciano landing several punches before the bell. 10-9 Luciano

Rd 2: Good movement from Cleber, as he immediately brings the fight to the mat. Camacho closes his guard, as Luciano postures. Now back in side control, Camacho doing a much better job controlling the body this round. Elbow from Camacho staves off the stand up. Luciano able to achieve mount. Quickly he transitions to the back, but he is unable to get the choke as the round comes to a close. 10-9 Luciano

Rd 3: Luciano again able to get the take down, Nice elbows from the top by Cleber. More ground strikes to Camacho’s head. Now in north south position, Cleber still landing at will. Camacho can’t get any significant damage. More strikes from top position as the fight come to a close. 10-9 Luciano

Winner: Via Decision Unanimous Cleber Luciano 

Fight #3 Michael ‘The Joker’ Guymon (14-6-1) vs Aaron ‘Blood Spiller’ Miller (14-8)

Rd 1: Long feeling out process from the two veterans. High kick from Guymon misses. Miller doubles up on the jab, and lands the second softly. Nice one two from Guymon before he instigates the clinch. Miller being pressed into the fence, reverses and takes Guymon down. Guymon back to his feet eats a knee and then circles out and presses Miller against the cage. Low knee from Miller catches the stones of Guymon who will have 5 minutes to recover. Action restarts and Guymon lands a nice right, before eating a kick. Guymon goes for the clinch, but Miller takes him down.  Miller looking to pass, and he takes Guymons back. Miller looking for the choke, but Guymon defends well. Guymon able to stand but Miller is draped all over him. Another takedown from Miller, Guymon flirts with the triangle, and stands. Nice knee to  the head from Guymon as the round ends. 10-9 Miller

Rd 2: Guymon able to grab a hold of the clinch, but Miller reverses briefly only to be taken down by Guymon. Mller back to his feet, but still in the Jokers grasp. Nice body shots from Guymon find a home. Guymon again with the take down, now has his back. Miller fights back to his feet, and is able to grab a leg that he parlays into a take down of his own. Miller working out Guymons guard. Guymon looking for the triangle, but Miller spins out. Miller back on top working out of side control, then back to north south. Miller looks for a kimura, which he sweeps to his back. Guymon looking for an armbar, swithces to a triangle, readjust and it is deep. Miller forced to Tap.

Winner: Via Submission Triangle Choke Michael Guymon (4:20) rd 2

Fight #4

Brandon Halsey v Hector Ramirez

Rd 1: Halsey with the take-down, immediately reigning blows down from the back mount. Ramirez in trouble, and Big John McCarthy calls a stop to the action.

Winner: Via TKO Rd 1 Brandon Halsey

Fight #5  Alejandro Garcia (14-5) vs Cristiano Souza (6-0)

Rd 1: Souza utilizing some heavy hands, but Garcia is countering well. Both fighters are swinging for the fences. Every strike is a commitment. Nice take down from Souza as he ducked under a jab nicely to secure position. Souza working in Garcia’s guard/ Both fighters back up and Garcia lands a nice elbow before eating a low knee at the bell. Souza landed several strikes before the low blow.  10-9 Souza with the late take down.

Rd 2: Souza flirts with the liver kick, but Garcia circle out. Leg Kick from Souza. Garcia is stalking Souza. Souza again lands to the leg. Souza misses with lead left, but able to get a hold of Garcia, apparently something landed low, Garcia is down. Action starts back up. Now Souza is the one stalking forward. Garcia ducks under the right hand and gets the body lock. Nice knee from Souza in the clinch, and again. Garcia grounds himself with a hand to avoid further knees. Garcia able to get away, but Souza again gets a hold of him. More knees from the clinch as the round comes to a close. 10-9 Souza

Rd 3: Flying knee from Souza, but he heats a big right hand counter from Garcia. Garcia backs him up, momentarily. Souza able to get the take down. Souza transitions to Gracia’s back and is looking for the choke. Garcia fighting the hands well enough to survive for now. Souza trying to soften him up with strikes. The choke looks tighter now, and Garcia taps.

Winner: Cristiano Souza Via submission rear naked choke. rd

Live on Spike TV:

Main Card Fight 1: Akop Stepanyan vs Mike Richman

Mike Richman wins via TKO (strikes) Rd 2

Daniel Straus vs Pat Curran for the 145 lbs World Title

Rd 1: Straus was able to take down Curran a couple of times and controlled position throughout the round ! Curran was able to land sporadically but 10 -9 Straus.

Rd 2: very close round, but Curran was striking with more urgency. Straus was able to secure a late take down, but Curran had him rocked on more than one occasion. 10-9 Curran

Rd 3: Curran in control of the clinch, He takes Straus down with a throw, but lands an illegal knee to the grounded Straus. Straus is hurt badly, this will cost Curran a point, and Straus will have 5 minutes to recover. He looks to be ok, but now the doctor is in the cage to take a look. Dr seems satisfied and we are going to continue. Pat Curran will be deducted 1 point. Nice show of sportsmanship as Curran apologizes. Straus takes him down immediately on the restart. Straus in side control. 10-8 Straus as he rides out the round on top. 10-8 Straus

Rd 4: Again Straus in charge as he has Curran pressed against the cage. Straus has hip control and slams Curran to the mat. Now looking for the back, Straus is in complete control up too this point. Straus is smothering Curran who can’t seem to get any offense going. Another take down for Straus, as Curran attacks the neck. Curran looking for a guillotine pulls guard, it looks tight, but Straus holding tight. Straus gets his head out, and is back in the open guard. Body head from Straus. Nice elbow from the challenger. Curran busted open, and Straus with a standing guillotine but the round comes to a close. 10-9 Straus

Rd 5: Nice body kick from Straus starts the frame. Curran looking to counter but can’t seem to get off. Straus is beating him to the punch every time. Flying knee from Straus finds the solar plexus of Curran, Big flurry from Straus, knees an punches have the champion on his bicycle. Curran now looking to do damage against the cage, but time is running out. Curran looks for a last minute sub, as he pulls guard, but Straus gets free and should be the new champion!

Winner: Via Decision and New Featherweight Champion of the World Daniel Straus 

King Mo vs Emanuel Newton for interim 205 lbs title.

Rd 1: King Mo is busting up Newton after a clinch. Newton lands a low blow, and Herb Dean halts the action for a moment. Newton lands with a right, goes for the back fist, as Mo shot and ends up on his back again. Mo working in the open guard of Newton. Newton gets back to his feet and flirts with a high kick that flails. Mo starts clowning an Manny lands a head kick before the round ends 10-9 King Mo

Rd 2: Both fighters cautious as the second frame begins. Newton charging forward with a single leg kick, Mo walks through it. Mo looks for the single leg, then lets it go. Knees against the cage from Mo find Newtons body. Another take down scores for Lawal. Newton lands a head kick after he stands and Mo is rocked. Knee from Newton lands. Mo on his bicycle. Lazy shot from Mo is stuffed by Newton. Mo back to moving forward, the cobwebs appear to have cleared. Newton now in the center of the cage, lands a nice over hand right. 10-9 Newton

Rd 3: Newton starts the round with range effective kicks, that keep Mo at bay. Newton lands a nice right, and eats the counter from Lawal. King Mo appears to be looking to land one big shot. Nice exchange as both fighters land. Mo may have got the better of the exchange. Nice kick to the thigh for Newton. Newton landing the cleaner shots, as both fighters are looking to explode. Kin Mo moving forward, backs Newton against the cage again. Nice right from King Mo, after a brief clinch, but Newton also lands. 10-9 Mo in a razor close round.

Rd 4: Emanuel again looking for the spinning strike, but Mo backs off then returns fire. Nice kick from Newton lands. Lead left from Mo lands on the temple of Newton. Punch and Kick from Newton find Mo’s face. 3 punch combo for Mo lands, but Newton fires back to the lead leg. Lawal ducks under a right and attempts the take down, but Newton breaks free. Lawal with a double leg, secures the take down. Newton back to his feet, but Lawal is blanketing him against the cage. Knees to thethgh of Newton before both fighters separate. Spinning back fist from Newton misses again, body shot from Lawal doesn’t! Starching jab from Lawal snaps Newtons head back. Front kick from Newton finds Lawal’s mid section as the round comes to a close. 10-9 Lawal in a close round

Rd 5: Nice right hand from Newton glances of the temple of Lawal. Newton moving forward eats a left from Lawal then circles off. Lawal showing some urgency now. Newton lands with a nice over hand right, and a loud cracking left on the exit. Lawal now has Newton’s back, but is unable to take him down. Newton misses with a kick and a flailing left. Mo circling to his right. Nice combination from Lawal, followed by a kick from Newton. Nice right hands from Lawal have Newton leaking some awesomeness. IQ changing right hand from Lawal has Newtons attention. Big breath from Newton. Lawal again with the single leg, and he is able to take Newton down. Spinning back fist from Newton lands with seconds remaining he shoots in and Mo stuffs him. 10-9 Lawal

Winner: Via Unanimous Decision Emanuel Newton is the New Interim 205 lbs World Champion 

MAIN EVENT:

Michael Chandler (Champion) vs Eddie Alvarez (challenger) 5 X 5 rounds for the 155 lbs Bellator World Title

Rd 1: Nice punches from both fighters start. Chandler lands with a heavy left, Alvarez with the right. Chanders right eye already has a small mouse growing. Alvarez searching for a leg, but Chandler gets away easily. Nice jab from Alvarez. Nice jab from the champion. Nice right hand from Chandler lands, Alvarez on his bicycle. Alvarez with a nice counter right hand. Big right hand from Chandler sends Alvarez in search of a leg. The champion is starting to land now. Nice counter from Alvarez. Chadler misses with a big left hook. Big take down from Chadler, he almost has the choke, but Alvarez gets free. Great scramble.  Chandler bullying Alvarez as the round comes to a close. 10-9 Chandler.

Rd 2: Nice jab from the Champion starts us off. Big 2 punch combo from Chandler lands, as does the counter from Alvarez. Nice combination from the Alvarez gets away from the take down, and lands a right and a left to the head. Nice kick from Chandler, sets up the take down. Alvarez back up, and goes for a ride. Another take down for Chandler. Belly to back Suplex by Chandler. Alvarez back to his feet against the cage, but again dragged down by the champion. Alvarez trying to fight the body lock, is able to escape. Alvarez rocks Chandler for a second with a big left hand. Chandler again able to score the take down. Chandler trying to posture up as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Chandler Very close round.

Rd 3: Both fighters trade in the center of the cage, with Alvarez getting the best of the exchange. Chandler looks for the take down, but Alvarez effectively sprawls away. Both fighter reset, nice leg kick from the champion. Alvarez now pressing the action. Alvarez trying his best to get away from another take down, but Chandler is still very deep on the legs. Alvarez slips away. Leg kick from Alvarez. The challenger now landing with jabs and right hands. Chandler again looking for the take down. Alvarez has his back, and is now piecing up the champion with his hands. Alvarez now looking for the take down. But Chandler gets away only to eat a big right hand. Nice take down from Chandler and he gets to Alvarez’s back. Chandler able to secure the take down. Alvarez trying to elbow from the bottom, but the round comes to a close. Alvarez get his first round 10-9 Alvarez.

Rd 4: Chandler starches Alvarez with the jab as we start the fourth round. Alvarez with  feigns with the level change, then presses chandler against he cage. Chandler with a nice knee, and a right hand. Chandler again scores with the take down, Nice ground and pound from the champion. Big right hands from Chandler, and 3 more. Alvarez in trouble on his back, nice elbow from Chandler. Alvarez getting worked by the champion on the ground. Chandler smothering Alvarez. seat-belt from the champion has Alvarez’s arm pinned behind his back. Short elbows from the champ. Alvarez is busted up. Big right hands form Chandler go unanswered, Alvarez trying to survive the round. Chandler finishes a dominant round in top position 10-9 Chandler

Rd 5: Final Round. Alvarez with a lot of urgency to start throws a few punches that miss, but he is charging forward. Chandler looks for a take down, that Alvarez sprawls away from. Chandler lands a nice right hand, and gets Alvarez down, Quick tansition to the back, and the choke is close. Alvarez fights the hands, and gets back to his feet. Now Alvarez pressing Chandler against the cage. Roll from Chandler to get free doesnt work, but he gets up anyway. Chandler lets go of a single leg, as Alvarez lands a big left. Another shot from Chandler misses and Alvarez capitalizing with strikes against the cage. Alvarez now has Chandler’s back, both hooks are in the choke is deep, but Chandler gets out, Again the choke is tight, but Chandler again gets free. He is not out of trouble, as Alvarez still has control. Chandler turns free, and is back on top. Now mounted, Alvarez bucks free, but Chandler still able to take him down. The fight ends with Chandler on top. What a great rematch! 10-9 Alvarez.

Winner: Via Split Decision And New 155 lbs World Champion Eddie Alvarez. WOW

 

Bellator MMA is all set, and the fighters are all on weight for three title fights. Michael Chandler, Eddie Alvarez, Pat Curran, Daniel Straus , King Mo, and Emanuel Newton are all set for their championship matches, in what promises to be Bellator’s best card ever.

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

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Champions Smile

A Champions Smile

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Bellator MMA The Toughest Tournament in Sports, hosted open workouts for the upcoming event on Saturday evening.

The main card features three world title fights, headlined by the rematch of Chandler v Alvarez II. Eddie Alvarez makes his much anticipated return to the Bellator cage since having over a year off due to contractual disputes. With those issues in the rear view mirror (for now), Alvarez is attempting to regain the title he lost to a much improved Michael Chandler.

Pat Curran will also put his 145 title on the line against tournament winner Daniel Straus. Now known as one of the top 145 lbs fighters in the world, Curran will look to solidify those rankings, while Daniel Straus will attempt to end that discussion.

Also on the main card are 205 lbs heavy hitters Emanuel Newton and King Mo Lawal who will face off for the second time, this time with the interim title on the line. The last meeting ended with a surprising spinning back fist KO, that left Lawal prone, and Newton on top of the world. However, each fight is different and whoever wins, it certainly going to be worth watching.

Other notable match-ups worth watching on SpikeTV.com are Michael ‘Joker’ Guymon v Aaron ‘Blood Spiller’ Miller; and Akop Stepanyan v Mike Richman.

The preliminary bouts can be viewed on SpikeTV.com while the main card will air live on Spike TV. Make sure you tune in to what should be one hell of a night of MMA action.

All photos and created content are the property of The Clinch Report, LLC  . Any unauthorized use of video, content, images, or likeness is prohibited. ALL RIGHTS ARE RESERVED. Please contact news@theclinchreport.com for any further information.

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Main Card Analysis and Predictions

Karo ‘The Heat’ Parisyan (22-9) vs Rick Hawn (14-2)

An very interesting match-up kicks off the Spike TV televised main card, as former UFC title contender Karo Parisyan makes his Bellator debut against former lightweight tournament winner Rick Hawn. As high level Judo practitioners they are no stranger too each other, and the competition has fueled a heated rivalry. Simply put these guys don’t like each other. Parisyan is finally healthy again, after several years of injuries, and personal issues that cost him his status in the division.  Hawn, makes his return to welterweight in hopes of winning another title shot. However, Parisyan is a savvy veteran, who is in great shape for the first time in a long time, so he should turn some heads with his performance.

Predictions: Rick Hawn via Decision


Magomedrasul ‘Frodo’ Khasbulaev (20-5) vs Mike Richman (15-2)

Khasbulaev won his last fight vs Marlon Sandro in very impressive fashion. Dominating the perennial contender for 2 1/2 rounds before finishing him with strikes late in the third frame. In doing so ‘Frodo’ (as he is called), earned a featherweight tournament finals position against Mike Richman who won a hotly contested decision to Alexander ‘Popo’ Bezzera. Richman may have the edge in striking technique, but Khasbulaev will have a decisive strength advantage.

Prediction: Khasbulaev via TKO rd 2


Brett Cooper (19-7) vs Doug ‘The Rhino’ Marshall (17-6)

The middleweight tournament finals features the classic striker vs grappler match-up. Cooper is a very well rounded mixed martial artist, who has a very strong wrestling base. However, it was his chin and fortitude that was on display in his last fight, which saw Cooper nearly out on his feet at one point, only to come back and win by KO. Marshall’s journey to the finals was much more controversial as he won a a split decision over Sultan Aliev, in a fight many thought he lost. Marshall will need to learn from that fight, and avoid the wrestling of Cooper if he wants to win this fight. Cooper, needs to stay away from Marshall’s power striking game, and stay in his chest.

Prediction: Cooper via Decision


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Pat Curran Champion (18-4) vs Shahbulat Shamhalaev Challenger (12-1-1) For The Featherweight Title

Shamhalev is riding a 6 fight win streak, that allowed him to step in for the injured Daniel Strauss (who will get his shot eventually according to Bjorn Rebeney) and stake his claim to the title. In his way, is one of the “Faces” of  Bellator Pat Curran. Curran is currently ranked #3 or #4 in the world at featherweight, and is in the midst of a 5 fight win streak that has seen him win and defend the featherweight strap. Shamhalaev will look to neutralize Curran’s strong wrestling with his Sambo back-round. This fight should be an exciting slug fest.

Prediction: Shamhalaev via 3rd rd TKO

Commentary on Bellator:

In the movie “Field of Dreams” the voice of a ghost eerily yet soothingly tells Kevin Costner’s character “if you build it, they will come!” In summary, he does…and they do!

This seems to be the exact format that Bellator has been using from the beginning. Simply put, if they have exciting fights, people will watch, no matter what the names of the fighters are, and even if you can’t pronounce them.

Since the move to Spike TV, Bellator has enjoyed very high ratings. The simple reason for the surge, the fighters! Unlike other promotions that use pomp and circumstance to create drama, and too build hype, Bellator approaches their setup as a fight fan would, not as an event coordinator! The result, a rear view mirror filled with exciting fights.

Leading the charge, is a long list of talented fighters from Russia, with even longer names. A place now dubbed “The New Brazil” according Bjorn Rebeney Bellator CEO. Fighters such as: Shahbulat Shamhalaev, Magomedrasul Khasbulaev have followed the success of Alexander Schlemenko and are now on the precipice of their own title shots.

Bellator’s growth is assured, not because of the popularity of the sport, but because people will always watch exciting fighters fight each other, no matter who is listed on the marquee.



TUF 17 - Wear What the Fighters Wear

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Bellator made its debut on Spike TV, and did so in tremendous style. The partnerships first joint venture featured two title fights, and two light heavyweight tournament quarter final fights. Early results in show that just under 1 million people tuned in to watch the inaugural event. A huge increase from the numbers they had been seeing on MTV2.

Once all the pieces were in place and the lights heated up, it was out of the promoters hands. The fighters themselves would dictate the success or failure of this event. The gladiators made their intentions known from the onset, as several hotly contested preliminary fights got the crowd juiced, and more importantly the fighters waiting to perform. The under card was featured on Spiketv.com. Savant Young provided the spark with a tremendous one punch knock out of heavily favored Mike ‘The Joker’ Guymon. After being behind in the fight, Young countered an advancing Guymon with a well time left hand that floored the former UFC vet. A thunderous shot, on the ground was purely academic as the ref leaped in too stop any further damage.

The live portion of the Spike TV card began with an incredible back and forth scrap between featherweight title holder Pat Curran and aggressive challenger Patricio Pitbull. The crowd and the audience may have been expecting fireworks, however instead they were treated to a back and forth battle of attrition, that left both fighter swollen, battered, and bleeding. Curran narrowly eked out a split decision, holding on to his coveted featherweight crown.

Not may people gave a young unknown fighter from Russia a chance against a former UFC title contender, but Mikhail Zayats could care less about being an underdog. He only cares about winning, and he proved that after he over came huge odds, and a lopsided crowd to destroy UFC and Strikeforce veteran Renato ‘Babalu’ Sobral. A vicious spinning back fist, was the beginning of the end. Zayats left the crowd stunned, and the tournament with a new favorite!

The main event of the evening made several points clear. First of all after defeating a very game Rick Hawn, Michael Chandler’s name certainly has to be mentioned in the pound for pound category. His striking, and dominating wrestling made the fight look easy, although i am sure it was not. Chandler never looked to be out of control, and his pedigree as a champion has been solidified.

Thoughts on Bellator: Bellator provides an extremely exciting format with their tournament based champions. The roster of fighters has always been an exciting fusion of homegrown young talent, mixed with savvy veterans who have fought in several organizations. Bjorn Rebney and his partners have created a juggernaut of a promotion that seems to be creating its own path. For years, many companies have tried to follow the UFC business model and have failed miserably, simply because they were not the UFC. Bellator seems content to succeed in areas that UFC is either no longer interested in (fighters), or in avenues the UFC has no interest in such as: Pro wrestling. As long as the fights are exciting, and the product is not watered down the promotions success appears to be a guarantee at this point. 2013 could be the year Bellator becomes a true rival for the UFC, although it appears they don’t seem to care either way. Bellator seems only concerned with Bellator, and in the combat sports world, that is a refreshing take!

All Photos are provided by: John Walsh

The Calm Before the Storm

The Calm Before the Storm

Superman or Silverback? or Both! Seth Petruzelli

Joker

Joker

Two Lions

Two Lions

Intensity in Pitbull

Intensity in Pitbull

Confident Champion

Confident Champion

Challenger vs Champion Featherweight Fury!

Challenger vs Champion Featherweight Fury!

The Legend Babalu!

The Legend Babalu!

The Champion Michael Chandler

The Champion Michael Chandler

Hawn v Chandler

Hawn v Chandler

Noe v Petruzelli

Noe v Petruzelli

Superman or Silverback? Seth Petruzelli or Both!

Live on Spike TV DEBUT!Live on Spike TV DEBUT!

Jaime Yeagar

Jaime Yeagar

Yoked!

Yoked!

Bellator 85
Date: January 17, 2013
Venue: Bren Center
Location: Irvine, Calif.WEIGH In ResultsMain Card (on Spike TV):
-Michael Chandler (10-0) weight 154.6 vs. Rick Hawn (14-1) weight 155
-Renato “Babalu” Sobral (37-9) weight 205.2 vs. Mikhail Zayats (19-6) weight 205.7
-Seth Petruzelli (14-6) weight 205.4 vs. Jacob Noe (8-1) weight 205.9
-Pat Curran (17-4) weight 144.8 vs. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (17-1) weight 144.5

Preliminary Card (on Spike.com):
-Emanuel Newton (18 – 7) weight 205.4 vs. Atanas Djambazov (17 – 2) weight 205.6
-Hector Ramirez (9 – 4) weight 204.8 vs. Jason Lambert (24 – 13) weight 205.5
-Aaron Miller (12 – 8) weight 145.8 vs. Joe Camacho (13 – 17) weight 145.8
-Joe Williams (7 – 1) weight 170.7 vs. Jamie Yager (6 – 3) weight 170.8
-Savant Young (10 – 9) weight 155.5 vs. Mike Guymon (14 – 5) weight 155.7
-Brian Warren (18 – 15) weight  165 vs. J.J. Ambrose (17 – 4) weight 164.5

-Mario Navarro (4 – 2) weight 144.8 vs. Cleber Luciano (7 – 4) weight 144.9

By Jonathan King

Photo by John Walsh

Photo by John Walsh

By Jonathan King The Clinch Report

With a mere 48 hours before Bellator is set to make their historic debut on Spike TV, an obviously anxious Bjorn Rebney walked thru the Huntington Beach training center to see the fighters warm up, wish them well, and of course speak with the press. With an absolutely stacked fight card featuring two world title fights, and also the opening round of the light heavyweight tournament; the promotion is set to hit the ground running with what on paper seems to be the most exciting card in their distinguished history.

Rebney spoke eagerly about the new venture on Spike Television. With this contract in place, the company seems destined to demand a larger sare of the MMA universe. Spike has always done really well in the world of  MMA, with both live events, and highlight shows. Also in the future are possible pay per view deals, that are being discussed. With the partnership with Viacom, and now with companies like TNA, Bellator seems to be gathering up a pretty sizable partnerships that will market the product to the highest level.

Recently Bellator was in the news as word broke that former title holder and fan favorite Eddie Alvarez was contesting the contract matching offer that kept him in Bellator and away from the competing UFC.  Rebney, however seemed optimistic that the former title holder would again be in the Bellator family. “Yes, I do see Eddie fighting in Bellator again.” Rebeney said. “We have had a really good relationship in the past, and hopefully we will again!”

The competitive under card  features UFC veteran Mike Guymon vs crafty veteran Savant Young. Guymon is making his Bellator debut after returning from a recent retirement from the sport, the hometown favorite is 2-0 since returning to the cage, and is looking to make one last run at a world title in the 155 lbs division.

The premiere of Bellator on Spike TV will air three live bouts. The first will be the third of the light heavyweight quarterfinal fights, as former UFC and Strikeforce title contender Renato ‘Babalu’ Sobral faces off against heavy handed Mikhail Zayats. ‘Babalu’ was present for the open workouts, shadow boxing lightly. After a quick bout with the media, he was looking to make an exit.

Other combatants such as the two fighters who will be putting their belts on the line, Michael Chandler and Pat Curran took there time answering questions, and working out. Chandler even admitted to appreciating the added attention “The fact that  you guys want to take pictures of me, still gets me!” Chandler humbly said. “Its something athletes take for granted.” 

Also present were Mike ‘The Joker’ Guymon, featherweight contender Patricio Pitbull Friere, lightweight title challenger and Rick Hawn.

Interviews will be up soon!

Gallery:

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Mike 'Joker' Guymon checking in.

Mike ‘Joker’ Guymon checking in.