Posts Tagged ‘#spiketv’

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!

Advertisements
Error
This video doesn’t exist

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.

 

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

,

All images and content are the property of The Clinch Report, LLC. All Rights are Reserved. Any unauthorized use of images or content is prohibited. Please contact news@theclinchreport.com for information.

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!

All content is owned by The Clinch Report, LLC All Rights Reserved. Any unauthorized use of any content is expressly prohibited, Please contact for information regarding use.

The Clinch Report Founder Jonathan King with UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz at OC Fight Club, Costa Mesa California. Photo by: John Walsh

The Clinch Report Founder Jonathan King with UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz at OC Fight Club, Costa Mesa California. Photo by: John Walsh

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Bellator MMA announced during the live fight card on Spike TV, that their first ever Pay Per View will take place this year headlined by newly signed UFC and Pride veteran Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson. Jackson was rumored to have been matched against boxer Roy Jones jr, however after a brief speech he said he wanted his first fight for Bellator to be against an MMA fighter.

Then through a cloud of smoke, appeared ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ Tito Ortiz. Ortiz, draped in his classic Peoples Champ flag trotted to the cage and told the world his intentions. “I’ve been fighting for a long, long time. We’ve been friends with each other, but it’s time to put the friendship aside and it’s time to give the fans what they want here in Bellator,” Ortiz said.

Immediately internet pundits opined about the legitimacy of such a fight. However, it makes perfect sense. Will either of these fighters ever be considered a legitimate title contender? Probably not. However, the match up on paper seems to be an interesting one. Rampage traditionally had issues with tenacious wrestlers (See fights with Bader, Evans, and Teixiera), and Ortiz’s chin has been questioned in his last few fights, which is right up Rampage’s alley.

Both fighters play into each others weakness, and in the fight game the match up makes the fight. The names help, but they never trump the match up. Despite what Dana White or any other Bellator critic will say, as an MMA fan its an interesting fight. Weather or not someone will pay for it, and ‘how much’, may be the real question.

The fight will take place in Orange County California, but no other specifics have been given. Stay tuned for more information!

kotc

King of The Cage: Validation San Manuel Indian Casino and Bingo

#1 Matt Ruiz v Daylin Murray 205 lbs

Rd1: Both fighters feeling each other out. Murray misses with a head kick.  Shot by Ruiz, is stuffed as he pushes Murray against the cage! Ruiz still looking for the take down, as Murray pommels and looks for the under hooks. Ruiz able to secure the take down. Ruiz looks for a Kimura, but Murray counters beautifully with one of his own. Winner: Daylin Murray via Kimura/Americana 2:47 rd 1.

Victor Henry v Kevin Michel 135 lbs

Rd1: Mike Beltran calling the action. Henry landing with kicks up the middle. big knee and Head kick also land for Henry. Michel stalking, as Henry stays busy with the feet. Another head kick lands for Henry. Michel lets his hands go landing a three punch combo before being chased back with kicks again. Michel lands a great counter right hand, followed by a vicious left. Henry, comes back pressing the action, and scoring a take down. Working from Side control, and then mount Henry postures, but Michel escapes back to his feet. Both fighters landing nice leg kicks, before Henry agains scores the take down. Now in side control, Michel looking to control the hands of Henry, as he continues to work for mount, and he has it. Nice sweep by Michel brings the fight back to the feet. Again Henry looking for the take down. Michel lands a big right hand,  but Henry walks through it. Liver kick by Henry lands, but he slips. Great first round! We have it for Henry 10-9.

rd 2: Henry starts out again busy landing a leg kick and right hand, before the clinch brings the fight back to the mat. Henry lands a big knee as they stand. More knees to the mid section of Michel, as Henry controls the fight. Blood pouring from the left eye of Michel. Again Henry scores the take down. Michel closes up his guard, but Henry again looking to posture. Back to the feet. Big left by Michel rocks Henry.  Michel posts an arm, as Henry lands a knee to the head causing a stoppage. One point deduction by Ref Mike Beltran. Henry again pushing the action, but Michel keeps looking for the right, but its not there. Again big knees land for Henry in the clinch.  9-9 with the deductions!

Rd3: Big head kick by Henry rocks Michel. Both fighters throwing bombs, and technique goes out the window. Michel sprawls away from a take down attempt, but Henry’s persistence pays off, as he scores with the second shot. Henry now takes Michel’s back and starts to soften him up with right hands to the temple. Henry now secures both hooks, but Michel defends well.  Nice elbow from Henry lands. Michel looks to shed off Henry, and lands in side control, before standing. Both fighters exchanging right hands. Liver kick by Henry lands, but Michel keeps charging. Henry again scores with the power double leg. 10 seconds left, as Henry stands and lands one last kick before the bell. 10-9 Henry. We have Henry 29-27. Winner Via UD rd 3: Victor Henry (29-27)

Leon Klee v Robert Otani 185 lbs

Rd1: Mike Beltran calling the action. Klee starts with a leg kick and another. Otani looks to counter, but immediately gets taken down. Klee takes the neck on a guilotine attempt, and lands several knees. Otani throws in side leg kick but gets his foot caught and dropped. back on their feet, Otani lands bigg knees from the clinch. Huge Knee again drops Klee, as Mike Beltran stops the fight, Klee continues to grapple the ref, he has no idea where he is! Great stoppage. Winner Otani via TKO rd: 1 (1:44)

Kenny Ento v Stephen Martinez 170 lbs

Rd1: Long feeling out process, as Martinez shoots and completes the take down. Ento closes his guard, as Martinez looks to posture. Martinez transitions to the half guard, and now has the mount, but Ento controls well. Martinez looks for the arm in choke, but Ento gives the thumbs up.  Martinez releases and moves to side control. Martinez looks for the Kimura but again Ento defends well.  Martinez finishes the round in  top position, and takes the round clearly 10-9.

Rd2: Nice left from Martinez starts the round. and again he shoots successfully putting Ento on his back. Martinez lands a few hammer fists, but Ento again does a decent job control the distance. More hammers land but there is not much behind them. Herb Dean stands them up. Nice head kick by Martinez lands. Ento looking to load up on the left, as again Martinez shoots. Ento momentarily resists, before being again dragged to the mat. Methodically Martinez works in the closed guard of Ento. Another round ends with Ento on his back. 10-9 Martinez

Rd3: Low blow at the onset calls a stop, as Herb Dean gives Ento some time. Action returns, with Ento looking to move to avoid the take down. However, once again the fight finds it way to the ground. Martinez looking for the neck, as he sets in one hook. Ento is in trouble, as Martinez looks to secure the choke. Martinez looks for the choke, and he has it. Winner via Submission RNC rd 3 (4:33)

Matt Lagler v Daniel Hernandez 185 lbs

Rd1: Hernandez misses with a leg kick. Lagler lands one of his own. Hernandez avodis the take down, and ends up on top. right hands from Hernandez land, and now the left. Lagler trying to hold on but Hernandez again lands this time with elbows. Big flurry from Hernandez, must have landed 30 shots. Lagler is still trying to control Hernandez, but is unable too. More ground and pound from Hernandez, but nothing is landing clean. Lagler has a guilotine from the bottom and it is deep! Winner Lagler via submission arm triangle rd 1 (3:51)

Carlos Ortega v Joshua Aveles 170 lbs

Rd1: Referee Mike Beltran in charge of the action. No touch of the gloves. Immediately Ortega shoots and scores the take down, but Aveles lands a few nice elbows. Ortega rolls, looking for a heel hook, but Aveles defends, and stands. Leg kick by Aveles lands. .Another shot by Ortega, but Aveles defends well. However Ortega eventually scores the take down. Ortega lands a one two. Aveles looked for the arm bar, but its not there. Both fighters again to there feet. Flying knee by Aveles lands after the inside leg kick, but Ortega again reverses position putting Aveles against the cage! Another take down by Ortega, as he is completely smothering the former champion. 10-9 Ortega

Rd2: Aveles again goes back to the leg kicks. Aveles slips, and Ortega lands leg kicks. Butt scoots by Aveles, as Ortega wont let him back to his feet. Aveles able to pop back up and lands a nice combo, before eating a knee. Big right hand by Aveles has Ortega rocked. Vicisous knees in the clinch by Aveles, as Ortega takes a big breathe. Nice body shots by Aveles, and he scores the take down. Working in side control Aeles looking for positioning, but Ortega closes the half guard. The round comes to a close with Aveles stealing it 10-9

Rd3: Ortega starts off by pushing Aveles against the cage. Aveles lets his hands go, and lands a 3 punch combo. Aveles looking to land to the mid section, as Ortega is clearly covering up. Ortega throwing single punches, and breathing heavy through his mouth. But Aveles cans seem to flurry. Aveles landing lefts and rights, as both fighters are completely as the round comes. We have Aveles winning the round 10-9 and the fight (29-28)

Winner via UD rd 3 (29-28) Aveles

Cooper Gibson v Henry Corrales 145 lbs

Rd1: Low blow lands on Cooper prompting a stoppage. As they restart Cooper immediately lands a inside trip, but Corrales is able to get back to his feet. Nice single leg by Corrales is parlayed into a double and brings Gibson to the mat. Gibson closes his guard, as Corrales lands a single shot. Herb Dean stands them up. Nice 3 strike combo by Gibson, but Corrales responds. Gubson goes for a throw, but Corrales defends well. Nice counter left by Corrales starches Gibson, and immediately forces the retreat. Corrales institutes the clinch, and pushes Gibson back against the cage. Head kick by Gibson lands. Round comes to a close. Close round but we have Corrales edging it out! 10-9 Corrales.

Rd2: Leg kick by Gibson opens the frame.Big counter left again by Corrales. Both fighters trading kicks in the center of the cage, and then some dirty boxing. Nothing clean landing. Gibson alternating on leg kicks. And scores again with the counter left hand. Gibson has significantly slowed his pace. Another take down by Corrales, and immediatley transitions to the back. Gibson stands, and shrugs Corrales off his back. Hip toss by Gibson, momentarily brings Corrales down, but again he pops back to his feet. Gibson rolls through looking for a leg, but Corrales avoids it well. Elbows from the top land for Corrales.  Corrales 10-9

Rd3: Another take down by Corrales finds him in side control. Now back in full guard. Gibson utilizing a rubber guard, but to little effect. Gibson trying to land elbows from the bottom, but they have very little power. Herb Dean stands them up. Nice combo by Corrales on the break, with Gibson also landing, Another take down for Corrales, but Herb Dean is calling for action. Corrales stands momentarily before diving into Gibson’s guard. Gibson looks for an arm bar, but its not there. Gibson tries to return to his feet, but again gets dragged back down. Corrales finishes the fight in top position, again we have him winning the round 10-9 and the fight 30-27

Winner Via UD rd 3 Corrales (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Nick Piedmont v Seth Dikun 145 lbs

Rd1: Referee Mike Beltran in charge of the action. Piedmont lands a leg kick to start, and now has Dikun n trouble against the cage. Over hand by Dikun misses with a big overhand left. now Dikun is throwing in bulk, but missing mostly. Piedmont driven back against the cage. More ones and twos from Piedmont. Piedmont has the single, but Dikun defends well. Now Piedmont presses Dikun against the cage. Big upper cut by Piedmont rocks Dikun, as both fighters trade the round comes to a close. 10-9 Piedmont in a close round.

Rd2: Both fighters exchanging jabs, as Dikun swings and misses with the leg kick. Good boxing from Dikun as he doubles up the jab, but eats a kick to the pills, prompting a stoppage. Both fighters ready. Piedmont with a short jab lands. And again with a right cross. Dikun bleeding from the nose, as Piedmont slams him to the mat for a moment. Now both standing. Dikun charges forward with a Griffen-esqu jab cross. Nice right hand from Piedmont clears the blood from Dikun’s nose. Dikun countering well, but Piedmont gets the better of the exchange before forcing the clinch. Both fighters exchange in the clinch. As the round comes to a close we have Piedmont again winning a very close round 10-9.

Rd3: Both fighters step to the center. As the round begins both pugilists are gassed. Dikun looking to be busy, as Piedmont seems content to counter. Another quasi take down from Piedmont. Dikun back to his feet, but immediately pressed against the cage. Both fighters separate and throw heavy shots, with Piedmont maybe getting the best of the exchange. Again Piedmont separates and lands with heavy hands before returning to the grind. Dikun lets loose as the round ends, We have Piedmont 10-9 winning the fight as well.

Winner via Decision (29- 28, 29-28, 30-27) Nick Piedmont

By Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Video by: John Walsh The Clinch Report

In the world of mixed martial arts, few names are more recognizable than Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture. He is the only 3x Light Heavyweight and 3x Heavyweight champion in the sports history, and has also transitioned outside the sport into main stream media better than almost any other fighter. His fights are legendary and so are the training camps that he founded.

Team Quest and Xtreme Couture are two of the sports most recognizable camps, and both were founded in part by Couture. We have seen his coaching skill first hand on the UFC’s Ultimate Fighter, so he is the perfect fit for Bellator and for the show.

Couture has endured a media backlash from the UFC since signing with the rival promotions new endeavor. Dana White has said publicly that Couture is now persona non grata at all UFC events including ones where Randy’s son, Ryan( who is on the UFC roster) is fighting. The elder Couture was in the UFC employ up until recently, but decided to sign elsewhere when he felt his status with the company was left in limbo.

Now with “Fight Masters”, Couture is looking forward to the shows reception. Which should be well received. The show itself on the surface may seem like a ‘TUF’ retread, however after watching the premier episode it is evident that this is not the case. The show offers a completely fresh look at the reality concept with regard to fighters.

Each fighter gets to choose his coach for the season. After a short interview process each fighter decides between Frank Shamrock, Joe Warren, Greg Jackson, or Couture.  Each coach evaluates the fighters, and in some cases, even lobby to be chosen. The show somewhat represents what a real fighter would do, by choosing his own path.

With a diverse mix of talent and incredible coaching; the show is all about pure mixed martial arts. However the coaches add a dynamic of competition between themselves that is not only genuine, but at times it is hysterical. The added entertainment value is a refreshing change to the buffoonery we have become use to on the other reality shows.

The show debuts  Wednesday, June 19 at 10 PM / 9 PM Central on SPIKE TV, and offers a mid week MMA fix for both the avid and casual fight fan alike. With the network having previous success with this reality show format in the past, and with Bellator’s current growth ‘Fight Master’s’ success is all but guaranteed.

Bjorn Rebney bellator Owner and CEO

Bjorn Rebney bellator Owner and CEO

By Jonathan M King The Clinch Report

Last week Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney came out and said that talks between the company and the former champion had broken down, and seemed less than hopeful that a resolution would be made. In fact the Bellator Chairman seemed content to allow the courts to settle the issue.

“I had hope a month ago there was a door opening,” Rebney said. “But that door isn’t open at this point. So I don’t know. The court system is slow and methodical, and we’re just going through the process. I don’t have any projections of it getting settled at this point because we’re not talking”, Rebney said.

“The essence of it is, the promoter is never going to get everything he wants and the fighter is never going to get everything he wants. We have a position that we did everything right legally, and the court has supported us. I thought we were headed down a road (to resolution), and then everything went real dark.” (From an interview with http://www.MMAJUNKIE.com)

Yesterday, Eddie Alvarez used twitter to rattle of a few of his contentions. First of all he claimed that the issue was more with Viacom and SpikeTv, and went further to claim that Bjorn had little to do with the situation at all. “Bjorns a Grunt in this . It’s Viacom and Spike and a group of idiots a money who don’t know shit about Mma” Alvarez tweeted.

Then Alvarez went further, claiming he is not the only fighter being mistreated. “I have nothing to complain about I get paid we’ll enough to keep bills paid but to bully guyslike @ZachFunSize(Zach Macovsky) n @CosmoAlexandre (Cosmo Alexandre)is a sin.” Alvarez tweeted.


Alexandre jokingly tweeted about spending his last four dollars and gas, with the hashtag “ThanksBjorn”. Alvarez is not in that dire of straights, but he is in the prime of his career, and should be fighting. No one can say for sure how this drama will unfold, but as for now one of the best fighters in the world is relegated to the shelf, at least for the foreseeable future.

Eddie Alvarez will be n the MMA HOUR with Ariel Helwani on Monday. However saty tuned to his twitter feed, because he teased that he might not be able to wait! “I might just dump just real shit tonight until I get a call from someone to stop. Soooo much to talk about,now that the gloves are off” Alvarez tweeted.

Follow Eddie Alvarez on twitter here: @Ealvarezfight

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


Shop the Official UFC Store

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