Posts Tagged ‘Spike TV’

Bellator 131-33

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Weight can be a finicky burden. Sometimes you don’t realize how heavy something is until you let it go. For the better part of 15 years Tito Ortiz carried a good portion of the load. Weather his former employers are willing to admit that or not, weather his detractors are willing to admit that or not, it is undeniable he was one if not the, torch bearer for a long time.

However that weight started to take its toll. Years of fighting injured, and ‘answering the call’ to duty had left the former Champion adrift in the rankings, injured and without any real love from the house he helped build. So he left. And it appeared the sun was setting on a former UFC Champion and UFC Hall of Famer. However, Tito Ortiz just didn’t feel ready to call it a career yet. And once again, the sun began to peek above the horizon.

So, he signed with Bellator MMA and after an initial fight with Rampage Jackson fizzled out due to an Ortiz neck injury, it seemed Tito would ride out the rest of his days in quasi relevancy appearing from time-to-time. However then they announced his first fight.

Ortiz debuted against former 185 lbs champion Alexander Shlemenko (51-9 MMA) and quickly dispatched him with a head and arm choke. Although the much larger man, Ortiz looked the part putting the smaller striker to sleep before digging his grave in the center of the cage, in classic Ortiz fashion.

Then he went on to systematically beat the tar out of an aging Stephan Bonnar (15-9 MMA). Again although Ortiz’s opponent didn’t look up too snuff, Ortiz certainly did. His wrestling looked as explosive as ever, and his gas tank never emptied. That win, although not against a top contender, led him to this title shot against current champion Liam McGeary (10-0 MMA). In McGeary, Ortiz not only faces the Champion but his toughest test since switching companies.

The champion McGeary on paper presents a ton of challenges, mainly his freakish reach. Ortiz not know for his boxing will somehow have to find a way inside in order to impose his will. If he ends up going backwards, or flailing for a takedown it could be long night, (or a short one) for Ortiz. However if Ortiz can bring the fight into his own neighborhood he certainly has the power and ability to end the fight himself. the one outcome that is assured is greatness! Greatness is bound to happen, either McGeary becomes bonafide, or Ortiz shocks the world, how can you not watch?

Win or loose Ortiz has already said his fighting career will continue, and from the way he has looked in the cage and in training who can argue? His performance against McGeary may steer some opinions one way or the other, but one thing seems certain, the sun may have set on the Huntington Beach Bad Boy, but its only rising for the ‘Peoples Champion’.

dynamite

Tito Ortiz took a second to talk with Aaron Tru from The Brutally Honest Radio Show about his upcoming fight, his journey for another world title, and about cementing his name in history. Plus his lovely girlfriend Amber Nicole also has a few things to say about how the ‘People’s Champion’ prepares. Check out the video below:

Brutally Honest Radio is hosted by Aaron Tru, Adrian Gallegos, and Jonathan King. The podcast is broadcast live each week from an undisclosed studio in Long Beach California. You can subscribe and download each episode on iTunes. Or you can listen on sound cloud.

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.

 

By: Jonathan M King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Once again the sights and sounds of Bellator MMA did not disappoint. Local fighters such as David Duran, Saad Awad, Keith Berry, Ray Sloan, and Fernando Gonzalez were all victorious while other fighters Karo Parisyan and Johnny Cisneros came up short on the Bellator 127 card.

Lesson 1.) In case anyone thought Daniel Straus was a pretender, they learned a valuable lesson! Straus solidified himself as the promotions #1 contender when he blitzed through Justin Wilcox as if he was standing still. The American Top Team product needed only :50 seconds to obliterate Wilcox, who at least on paper seemed like a good match up! The win catapults Straus into a showdown with current champion Patricio Pitbull.

Lesson 2.) Keith Berry showcased superior technique in his win over Joe Pacheco, however the bout was declared a split decision in what should have been a clear victory for Berry. Pacheco may have landed the heavier shots, but they were few and far between. Berry relentlessly pressured Pacheco and peppered him with his jab, sometime tripling up with success. Once again the judges who already screwed up one fight almost screwed up this one as well! (Note of interest Berry was 10 strikes away from the Bellator Record for strikes landed!)

Lesson 3.) Building off of lesson #2: I wonder how many more years have to pass before the CSAC realizes that one of their judging cures is right in front of their faces! Head inspector Chris Crail is probably one of the most qualified people in the entire state to judge a fight, however in CSAC’s infinite wisdom they have decided he would be better suited as a glorified valet. Maybe the inspector position should be reserved for people who can’t score a fight, lord knows there are plenty of them, some of them call themselves judges!

Lesson 4.) Stephan Bonnar and Tito Ortiz do not like each other. In case you were wondering. And just in case you forgot, Bonnar is a really charismatic guy who can work a stick almost as well as Chael Sonnen. Tito however, cannot! He can however shoot a double and pound out the best in the world. Hopefully the fight  cashes the checks these two are writing. Even if you think the hype is completely ridiculous you have to at least be slightly intrigued by this fight.

Lesson 5.) Rafael Silva is a beast, that eventually a champion will have to contend with.

Lesson 6.)  Shawn Bunch ( See lesson #5, same lesson)

Lesson 7.) Since Scott Coker has taken over the look and feel of the events have improved tremendously. Gone are the delays, and in their place a smooth machine that operates efficiently and fires on all cylinders. Coker and his team are building an incredible roster of talent that fuses the well known veterans, to the little known up and comers with pedigree, solidifying the future while entertaining the hell out of the present.

Bellator-125-Fight-PosterBy: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Kickboxing legend and Mixed Martial Arts veteran Melvin Manhoef (28-11 MMA) is set to make his Bellator MMA debut against Doug ‘The Rhino’ Marshall at Bellator 125. Both men can end the fight with one shot, and both would prefer to stand and strike. A fight that has most MMA fans frothing at the mouth. Not because there is anything at stake, but simply because this is  a powder keg of a fight.

The well travelled Manhoef finds his way to Bellator MMA after successful stints in well known promotions such as Dream, Cage Rage, K-1, and most recently One FC. Now fighting in the United States, Manhoef hopes to make a big impression. “I want to show America who Melvin Manhoef is and I think Bellator is the perfect organization to let the fans enjoy my skills.” Manhoef said.

Manhoef transitioned from kickboxing to MMA years ago, and continues to fight in both disciplines today.  Although he has other kickboxing engagements already booked, make no mistake this is not a ‘one and done’ scenario for Manhoef. He has one goal in mind, and that is securing the Bellator MMA World Title. “I want to be Champion. This is my goal!” Manhoef said.

His first step towards achieving that goal is an extremely dangerous one. Doug Marshall may not be as technical as Manhoef in the striking department, but make no mistake he is just as dangerous. Marshall generates tremendous power in his punches, and can just as easily end this fight with one punch. Just ask Brett Cooper, who is known for having a granite chin. Marshall is that strong, and coming off of his suspension for PED’s he will be looking to make a statement.

With both fighters eager to stake their claims in a wide open division, its best to take Manhoef’s advice. “Don’t Blink!”

Prediction: Manhoef via TKO Rd 2 in one of the most entertaining fights of the year!

Photo By: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

When word broke last, I like most chalked it up to rumors fueled by the Alvarez release. Then for a few days it disappeared. Waking this morning to the news that former TUF 1 Finalist and UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar came out of retirement to sign a multi-fight deal with the UFC’s rival Bellator MMA was not shocking, but it does seem intriguing.

‘The American Psycho” released a statement with regards to the signing, and hinted as to why..

I want everyone to know I’m coming out of retirement because it’s time to free the MMA world of the virus that’s known as Tito Ortiz. We’ve been suffering through his boring fights for too many years, and it’s about time that someone beats it out of him once and for all.” Stephan Bonnar

Earlier this week the UFC signed Bellator MMA’s 155 lbs champion Eddie Alvarez setting him up for his promotional debut against Donald Cerrone at UFC 178. Now with the Bonnar signing; although much less relevant, Bellator has shown they mean business. Even if they are past their primes, Bonnar v Ortiz is a fight that is guaranteed to entertain. Bonnar’s chin down head first style, and Ortiz’s traditional ground and pound make this a chess match on paper that should not be missed.

Does Stephan Bonnar v Tito Ortiz matter in the MMA world? Sure it does. The fight matters as long as it is promoted properly. If its a grudge match pitting two guys who clearly dont like each other, then its a fun fight. If this ends up being a setup for a 205 lbs contender, then its a joke. A joke that may end up costing the promotion credibility.

Is Bonnar the same guy he was when he carried the sport on his shoulders in his first fight with Forrest Griffin? No, but that doesn’t mean he still cant entertain in the cage.

Setting either one of these guys up for a title run, will only solidify the companies position as a UFC pretender. However, if they utilize both of these guys the way the UFC uses fighters like Cung Le and Rich Franklin, it could be a pretty smart move. Bonnar is also a polished broadcaster, so he will probably see double duty when he is not fighting.

The move will certainly illicit some sort of response from his former employer. Dana White has always been a huge supporter of Bonnar, and even went to great lengths to defend his enshrinement into the Hall of Fame. So it will be interesting to hear his response.

Quelled as a rumor when first reported a week or so ago, the signing may be a sign that the two promotions have put to rest the animosity. Under Bjorn Rebney’s control Bellator MMA was consistently the target for well placed jabs by Dana White, who referred to his counterpart “Bjork”. Now with Rebney out, and Scott Coker in, maybe the two promotions have decided to co exist.

If so it would be a decision that could benefit both companies and the sport as a whole. Perhaps a united front from both Viacom and Zuffa would present a hurdle that even Sheldon Silver could not jleap over, paving the way for the sport to be legalized in New York State. If these two giants could unite if only for that purpose…..Oh the humanity that would result!

 

By: Jonathan M. King

Videoed and Edited By: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

The cliche rings true that creativity is the mother of all invention. Instances, examples of, and lessons learned form patterns that if you examine them creatively enough, they will offer you the solutions you seek.

Dean Lassiter may be familiar to fight fans as the guy on Spike TV that stops the bleeding in between rounds of Bellator MMA fights. However the man is not only a ‘cut-man’ but he is also the Bellator MMA Operations Manager. You could also paint him with another two brushes, Inventor and Fighter advocate.

Many fans will know that one of the most common injuries in mixed martial arts are broken hands. Some fighters like Douglas Lima almost schedule hand surgery when they sign to fight, because it happens so epidemically. So, Lassiter noticing the trend began to analyze the situation. He started by examining the human hand, taking a look at what fractures were the most frequent.

After examining “what the good lord gave us” Lassiter next focused his attention on the layer between the hand and the glove known as the wrap. Noticing that wraps varied (depending on type, and who wrapped the hand), the gloves rarely fit perfectly over the top. The final step was teaming with a major glove manufacturer to come up with potential solutions.

Everlast Worldwide Inc. decided to pick up the torch Lassiter had lit, and together they developed what is now known as the Everlast Powerlock MMA glove.everlast-gloves

The glove has led to what Lassiter claims is over a 90% reduction in hand injuries, which was the primary function. However other injuries became less frequent as well. The forced curvature of the glove reduces the chance of eye poke, because the glove restricts a fighter’s ability to extend his fingers flat.

The padding configuration of the glove has also been changed, moving most of the ‘meat’ up front on top of the knuckled and metacarpals. This has also lead to less orbital injuries, however the research hasn’t been conducted to back that fact up yet. The gloves will soon be available for the public to purchase, however for now they will remain Bellator MMA’s unkept secret.

This technology will lead to less fighter injuries. With the average mixed martial artist fighting only 3 times a year, losing a paycheck because of a broken hand, or crushed orbital could be devastating financially. Especially to the lower level fighters who count on sponsorship money and loose that when an injury occurs.

So, basically as Lassiter puts it this technology is literally “feeding” fighters. Keeping fighters healthier was the goal, and the gloves are being offered to other promotions so they can benefit from the innovation as well.

Lassiter himself, is rewarded only with the knowledge that he did his part to help keep the guys he admires in the cage. He is a true fan of the sport, and as a cut-man he always has the health of his fighters as his first priority. Its refreshing to see that fighter-first mentality carry over into the board room. Its nice to know that as long as Lassiter is there, fighters will have an advocate always looking to keep them in good form.

 

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Article By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Video By: Bob Fisher www.pugilpix.com

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

 

Brandon Halsey (7-0 MMA) won the Bellator MMA 185 lbs tournament in impressive fashion. Halsey was able to bring a very tough Brett Cooper (20-10 MMA) to the mat early in the opening round. Once established in side control, Halsey quickly trapped the arm and began working for the submission. Cooper defended at first, but once Halsey rolled belly-down the arm came free and the tap followed.

The win earns the 27 year old Halsey a hefty 100,000 dollar check, and more importantly a shot at Alexander Shlemenko and his 185 lbs crown. Shlemenko is coming off an out of division loss to Tito Ortiz, and Halsey will certainly look to utilize the same game plan. “Tito already showed where the holes in his game are, I’m going to pretty much do the same thing!” Halsey said.

Andrey Koreshkov (17-1 MMA) also earned a 6 figure check tied to a title shot when he systematically dismantled Adam McDonough (11-1 MMA) for three rounds and cruised to a unanimous decision win. Koreshkov was able to thwart almost all of McDonough’s grappling attempts and maintained the distance utilizing an array of kicks and punches.

McDonough was never able to get into rhythm and ate a few big shots from Koreshkov, including a spinning heel kick that landed flush on his jaw. However he was able to survive, but lost by unanimous decision. Koreshkov earns his second tournament win, and will now face off with welterweight champion Douglas Lima at a place and time yet to be determined.

In the Light Heavyweight Tournament Semi Finals, Liam McGeary (8-0 MMA) tore through Egidijus Valavicius with vicious strikes (27-11 MMA) earning a spot in the finals against Kelly Anundson (9-2 MMA) who also advanced earlier in the evening when his opponent Philipe Lins (9-1 MMA) injured his knee in the first round of their semi final bout. Lins’s knee appeared to buckle as he attempted to throw the right hand off his jab. As he moved forward he crumbled, and referee Big John McCarthy recognized the injury right away, and stopped the contest.

Karo Parisyan (23-10 MMA) scored his second consecutive KO win when he removed perennial pro Phil Baroni (15-18 MMA) from consciousness early in the first round of their fight. Both fighters came out throwing heavy leather, but it was Parisyan was able to land first. With Baroni hurt, Parisyan swarmed and continued the assault on the ground after Baroni fell, prompting referee John McCarthy to stop the fight.

The win propels Parisyan into the welterweight rankings and with 2 consecutive wins, he will certainly be on new CEO Scott Coker’s radar. Baroni has already made plans to drop in weight to 155 lbs where he hopes to reignite his career.

Also victorious were Bubba Jenkins (7-1 MMA) who dominated Poppies Martinez (29-10 MMA) en route to a first round TKO win. Fernando Gonzalez (21-12 MMA) provided the evenings biggest upset when he cruised to a unanimous decision win over Karl Amoussou (17-7-2 MMA). Saad Awad (16-6 MMA) was able to withstand an early flurry from Joe Duarte (10-4 MMA) to secure the fight via TKO due to unanswered elbow strikes.

Brazilian heavyweight Augusto Sakai (7-0 MMA) remained unbeaten when he was able to comeback against Matt Frembling (9-3 MMA) and TKO him late in the third round with some nasty knees. Sergio Rios (8-0 MMA) removed Stephen Martinez (10-3MMA) from his senses with a head kick and follow up ground in pound. And in the evenings final swing bout Linton Vassel (14-3 MMA) defeated Virgil Swicker (12-4 MMA) via rear naked choke submission.

 

By Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Bellator 99 delivered some key opportunities for featherweights in the opening round of the tournament. First up, Justin Wilcox survived an early and dynamic battering from Akop Stepanyan, only to secure a submission victory. Wilcox, who took the fight on just 7 days notice, could barely stand after Stepanyan dismantled his lead leg with snapping kicks. However, he could not finish him.

Late in the second round, Wilcox was able to bring Stepanyan down and once he did, the transition to the back and subsequent choke, was lightning fast. Stepanyan did his best to escape, but eventually went to sleep after refusing to tap. With the win Wilcox moves on to the next round where he will face ‘Baby’ Joe Taimanglo.

Taimanglo was able to secure his spot in the next round with a win over Andrew Fisher. Utilizing excellent movement, Taimanglo was able to close the distance well, effectively neutralizing Fisher’s reach advantage. At times the fight lacked action, but that was because both fighters were utilizing their game plans. Fisher flurried late in the third round, but it wasn’t enough to sway the judges.

Also fighting in the opening round of the featherweight tournament were two of the promotions youngest prospects. Former #1 155 lbs prospect Fabricio Guerreiro was able to out point a very dynamic Desmond Green. Guerreiro was able to control the pace of the fight, and aside from a few take downs from Green clearly won the fight.

With the win Guerreiro now is faced with the daunting task of going up against Patricio Pitbull in the next round. Pitbull needed just 1:19 to move on, after he blasted Diego Nunes with an incredible hook to the ear that dropped the former UFC standout. Follow up punches removed all doubt.

Also on the card, Vladimir Matyushenko utilized an effective striking game plan to keep heavy handed Houston Alexander at bay for most of the fight. When Alexander did land, ‘The Janitor’ smothered him with a combination of dominating wrestling and grappling skills. Both fighters refuse to look or act their age (41) and the result was one hell of a fight.

With the win, Matyushenko should be on a short list of names for the next 205 lbs tournament.

More pictures will be added later today!

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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.



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