Welterweight Title: (c) Ben Askren d. Jay Hieron (Split Decision)
This ended up being a really fun, competitive fight that went about as expected. Askren’s wrestling and grappling were fantastic and his striking seems to have improved, though Hieron was doing better work on the feet. Askren took a very close split decision that easily could have gone to Hieron, and honestly, probably should have gone to Hieron. Still, Askren’s win is far from the worst decision I’ve ever seen.
I would normally predict Hieron back in the tournament field and Askren to take on the winner of Saunders vs. Vianna, but who on earth knows what’s going to change with Viacom’s purchase of Bellator? I’m sure the winners of this season’s tournaments will get their shots, but will the format continue? Will Bellator adopt a more standard fight format? Are we going to see a whole new influx of talent into Bellator with their new found resources?
I’m pretty excited to see how things go for Bellator under new ownership just because things could stand to get a lot better from here, especially at the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions. Now it’s just a matter of the new men in charge making the right decisions.
Heavyweight Tournament Semifinals: Thiago Santos d. Neil Grove (Submission – Round 1, 0:38)
Fast fat boy submission!
Heavyweight Tournament Semifinals: Eric Prindle d. Ron Sparks (KO – Round 1, 0:40)
Fast fat boy knockout!
I put the over under on Santos vs. Prindle at 30 seconds. Then the winner will get pulverized by Cole Konrad.
Middleweight: Marcio Navarro d. Rudy Bears (Split Decision)
Featherweight: Jeremy Spoon d. Adam Schindler (Unanimous Decision)
Light Heavyweight: Kelvin Tiller d. Dan Spohn (Split Decision)
Lightweight: Emanuel Brooks d. Willian De Souza (Unanimous Decision)
Featherweight: Jacob Akin d. Jeimeson Saudino (Submission – Round 1, 3:26)
Bantamweight: Aaron Ely d. Owen Evinger (Submission – Round 1, 3:45)
Heavyweight: Daniel Gallemore d. Derrick Ruffin (TKO – Round 2, 5:00)
Bantamweight Tournament Semifinals: Alexis Vila d. Marcos Galvao (Split Decision)
This was a very close fight that could have gone either way. Vila didn’t have a lot of success with his takedown attempts and the fighters spent most of their time exchanging strikes. I felt like Vila generally got the best of Galvao and the split decision was warranted. Either way, Vila moves on to the bantamweight tournament finals!
Bantamweight Tournament Semifinals: Eduardo Dantas d. Ed West (Split Decision)
The split decision here? Not good. Eduardo Dantas won this fight, period. He at least won the first two rounds easily while the third could have gone either way. I’m pleased that Dantas didn’t get jobbed here as he was the clear winner. Ed West also somehow thought he won, which resulted in him making a comically serious shocked face when the decision was announced. How pleasing!
Light Heavyweight: Travis Wiuff d. Christian M’Pumbu (Unanimous Decision)
Christian M’Pumbu, I am disappoint. Wiuff did his best to hold M’Pumbu down in the first two rounds, though the champ did have success during his limited striking displays. M’Pumbu should have won the fight in the third after staggering Wiuff, but followed his much bigger opponent to the ground in a weak attempt to stop the fight. A very disappointing loss in a non-title fight. Wiuff said after the fight that he only won because he’s a big wrestler and he is right.
Lightweight: Ricardo Tirloni d. Steve Gable (Submission – Round 2, 3:54)
Hey, Ricardo Tirloni won! I was right! Tirloni looked pretty sharp, even if his opponent was a fairly inexperienced 35 year old dude. A win’s still a win. I thought I heard that Tirloni would be fighting Chris Horodecki later this season because of this victory, so whoopie?
Catchweight (210 lbs.): Richard Hale d. Carlos Flores (TKO – Round 1, 0:18)
Lightweight: Efrain Escudero d. Cesar Avila (Submission – Round 1, 1:55)
Middleweight: Jacob Ortiz d. Edgar Garcia (KO – Round 1, 4:06)
Lightweight: Erin Beach d. Roscoe Jackson (Submission – Round 1, 3:52)
Featherweight: Jade Porter d. Nick Piedmont (Unanimous Decision)
Middleweight: Steve Steinbeiss d. Dano Moore (Submission – Round 1, 4:52)
Middleweight Tournament Semifinals: Alexander Shlemenko d. Brian Rogers (TKO – Round 2, 2:30)
This ended up being a really fun fight. After an extremely tight first round, Shlemenko unloaded on Rogers with some crazy offense. Spinning backfist, punches and kicks, and knees ended up sealing the fate of Brian Rogers. I don’t know if anyone doubts that Shlemenko is the second best middleweight in Bellator, so him potentially winning this tournament will come as no surprise to anybody.
Middleweight Tournament Semifinals: Vitor Vianna d. Bryan Baker (TKO – Round 1, 0:54)
Vianna caught Baker early with some big punches and landed a number of unanswered shots with Baker pinned up against the cage. The outcome was extremely surprising and Vianna will now challenge Alexander Shlemenko for a shot at Hector Lombard’s Middleweight Title. Vianna has put together a pretty impressive resume and adding a ranked fighter like “Storm” in the finals would be a real coup.
Bantamweight: Zach Makovsky d. Ryan Roberts (Submission – Round 1, 4:48)
Makovsky dispatch Roberts with a nice north/south choke in the closing moments of the first round. As far as I’m concerned, a fight with Alexis Vila can’t come soon enough. Makovsky is awesome and as I noted yesterday, it’s a shame that he’s relegated to these fights against less than contenders. Whoever wins the bantamweight tournament should give Makovsky a challenge, while Vila and Marcos Galvao seem to be the likeliest opponents.
Lightweight: Jacob Kirwan d. Rene Nazare (Unanimous Decision)
Nazare bloodied Kirwan in the opening round, but Kirwan did a nice job of holding Nazare down to earn the win. It was a far from impressive performance, but a win is a win for Kirwan.
Middleweight: Duane Bastress d. Daniel Gracie (TKO – Round 2, 5:00)
Light Heavyweight: Tim Carpenter d. Ryan Contaldi (TKO – Round 1, 2:06)
Middleweight: Joey Kirwan d. Lewis Rumsey (Submission – Round 1, 1:40)
Women’s Middleweight: Andria Caplan d. Adrienne Seiber (Unanimous Decision)
Bantamweight: Claudio Ledesma d. Brian Kelleher (Unanimous Decision)
Lightweight Title: (c) Frankie Edgar d. Gray Maynard (KO – Round 4, 3:54)
Frankie Edgar is my new man crush. This dude is my hero. The fight last night started much like their previous contest, Maynard scoring big early and coming close to finishing the fight. Edgar survived and looked much better from the second round on, but was then able to knock Maynard out in the fourth round.
I have no idea what’s wrong with Gray Maynard. Does he just blow his load in the first round and give up for the rest of the fight? He probably could have ended the fight in the second if he pushed forward and got in Edgar’s face, but the champ prevailed and impressed the hell out of me.
Ideally, Edgar will take on Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez sometime in early 2012, while Maynard should take on the winner of Guida vs. Henderson for the next title shot. I’m hopeful this will work out for Melendez’s debut as he absolutely deserves a title shot right away.
Featherweight Title: (c) Jose Aldo d. Kenny Florian (Unanimous Decision)
This fight ended up being pretty close, but to me, Aldo was very clearly the winner. His striking looked more crisp and he just seemed more comfortable here. Aldo will go on to greet another challenger, likely Chad Mendes, while who knows where Florian can go. Toil near the top of the featherweight division? Move back up to lightweight? He seems to have exhausted all of his options here and that’s kinda sad.
Middleweight: Chael Sonnen d. Brian Stann (Submission – Round 2, 3:51)
Briefly, Chael Sonnen looked scary good and dominated Brian Stann during this fight. End of story, right?
Oh, except Chael Sonnen called out Anderson Silva telling the champ that he “absolutely sucks” and challenging him to a loser leaves town match. That is, Sonnen will leave the UFC if he loses but Silva must leave the middleweight division if Sonnen wins. Silva looked bemused by the challenge and I’m sure we’ll be seeing the fight at the Super Bowl weekend card. Oh, and Chael Sonnen complimented Anderson Silva’s dancing after the fight.
This is awesome.
Lightweight: Joe Lauzon d. Melvin Guillard (Submission – Round 1, 0:47)
This win for Joe Lauzon may have surprised many, but I actually thought Lauzon could win. Guillard was so hot coming into this fight and a knockout win for the “Young Assassin” seemed to be a likely outcome, but Lauzon caught Guillard early and was able to pull off a quick submission.
Featherweight: Nam Phan d. Leonard Garcia (Unanimous Decision)
This turned out to be quite the exciting fight and was especially notable since Leonard Garcia lost a decision! Nam Phan looked pretty good last night and won the striking battle with Leonard Garcia, earning a clear decision victory that should be a measure of retribution for their previous fight.
Middleweight: Demian Maia d. Jorge Santiago (Unanimous Decision)
Jorge Santiago kind of sucks, doesn’t he?
Lightweight: Anthony Pettis d. Jeremy Stephens (Split Decision)
This fight wasn’t as close as the decision might lead you to believe. Pettis was in control for the majority of this fight, winning the limited striking exchanges and controlling most of the fight on the ground. The top of the lightweight division is so congested and Pettis is going to have to keep winning fights like this to stay relevant in the division.
Heavyweight: Stipe Miocic d. Joey Beltran (Unanimous Decision)
Middleweight: Aaron Simpson d. Eric Schafer (Unanimous Decision)
Middleweight: Mike Massenzio d. Steve Cantwell (Unanimous Decision)
Featherweight: Darren Elkins d. Zhang Tie Quan (Unanimous Decision)
Welterweight Tournament Semifinals: Ben Saunders d. Luis Santos (Submission – Round 3, 1:45)
Ben Saunders looked really great last night and strung together some great submission attempts. He was finally able to finish the fight with a third round keylock, gaining entry to the welterweight tournament finals. Saunders is tough and keeps working and will be a tough opponent for anyone.
Welterweight Tournament Semifinals: Douglas Lima d. Chris Lozano (KO – Round 2, 3:14)
Douglas Lima will be really hard for Saunders to get past in the tournament finals the way he brutally knocked out Chris Lozano last night. Lima has looked good in the tournament thus far and is quickly climbing the ranks at 170 pounds. Saunders vs. Lima may not have been the likeliest outcome, but it should be a good finals match.
Featherweight: Ronnie Mann d. Kenny Foster (Submission – Round 1, 3:51)
Foster was completely outmatched here and was submitted by Mann in relatively short order. Mann will now be a participant in the season six featherweight tournament next spring, giving him another chance to earn a title shot.
Heavyweight: Thiago Santos d. Josh Burns (Submission – Round 1, 2:23)
In the war of the fat boys, it was the most massive fat boy who pulled off the win. That is, the extremely tall and scary Thiago Santos choked out Josh Burns. With an injury in the heavyweight tournament, it looks like Santos might get a shot in the heavyweight tournament semifinals.
Middleweight: Giva Santana d. Darryl Cobb (Submission – Round 1, 2:00)
Catchweight (175 lbs.): A.J. Matthews d. Rudy Bears (Unanimous Decision)
Light Heavyweight: Raphael Davis d. Myron Dennis (KO – Round 2, 0:29)
Catchweight (157 lbs.): Emanuel Brooks d. Greg Scott (TKO – Round 2, 2:40)
Welterweight: David Rickels d. Levi Avera (Submission – Round 2, 1:06)
Catchweight (140 lbs.): Luis Nogueira d. Zak Laird (Submission – Round 1, 0:51)
Bantamweight Title: (c) Dominick Cruz d. Demetrious Johnson (Unanimous Decision
Cruz and Johnson put on a show last night, both men utilizing great speed to entertain us all for 25 minutes. In the end, Cruz’s striking and grappling won out as “Mighty Mouse” was just outmatched. Cruz landed some nice suplexes and almost finished the fight with some submissions, notably a rear naked choke in the third round. Cruz appeared to tire a bit, but he still won what was a closely contested bout.
Dominick Cruz is the best fighter in the world. You can’t change my mind, he’s proven this during his stellar run at bantamweight. Cruz has been completely dominant with fighters currently ranked 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7 at bantamweight. He also has a win over 2nd ranked flyweight Ian McCall. Cruz has very little left to prove, though Brad Picket should probably get a shot. I figure that the winner of Bowles/Faber will take on Cruz, then Pickett should earn a shot, and then…who knows? Maybe Cruz vs. Aldo?
For Demetrious Johnson, his next fight should realistically be at flyweight. Dana White confirmed that flyweights should be competing in the UFC at the end of this year or beginning of 2012, so Johnson could see his next bout at 125 pounds. Johnson is one of the more exciting fighters in MMA, pushing a constant pace and hanging in there with some of the best in the world. I think he could really be a fixture at 135 pounds, but should he choose to drop down, he can be a force at flyweight.
Heavyweight: Stefan Struve d. Pat Barry (Submission – Round 2, 3:22)
Ugh, what a fucking awful fight. The first round was supremely boring, as we saw a seven foot tall fighter who had no clue how to use his reach as Barry stood by waiting for Struve to use his reach. The second round saw Struve gain control and score the win with a triangle choke, surviving a big slam attempt from Pat Barry.
This was a solid win for Struve, who needed a victory to get back on track. Of course, Pat Barry was the perfect opponent as he somehow has no idea how to fight despite being very talented. It’s as if Barry turns off his brain at fight time and just kinda hangs out. I’m a Pat Barry fan, but he really pisses me off. Goofing around and being everybody’s friend is fine until you end up getting cut for not being very good. Bellator has a bit of a void at heavyweight, so maybe Barry can ply his trade there!
Welterweight: Anthony Johnson d. Charlie Brenneman (KO – Round 1, 2:49)
Though the stoppage seemed a little early, it was just a matter of time before Brenneman was murdered by Rumble. Anthony Johnson was landing pretty much everything and Brenneman had no answer but to pray. By the time Johnson landed a big head kick, Mario Yamasaki was quick to stop the fight despite Brenneman being totally conscious.
Frankly, I think continuing the fight would have delayed the inevitable. Brenneman wouldn’t have been able to finish Johnson and he couldn’t have lasted 15 minutes in that fight. Rumble is looking pretty scary and should see a step up in competition at welterweight.
Lightweight: Matt Wiman d. Mac Danzig (Unanimous Decision)
This was a really great battle between Wiman and Danzig that could have gone either way, but somehow, all three judges scored the contest for Wiman. Wiman did look very good, but I’m surprised that Danzig didn’t win on at least one scorecard. Wiman was very active with submission attempts, while both men traded some heavy strikes in an exciting fight. I’m not disappointed in the win for Wiman, whose looked very good at 155 pounds as of late.
Lightweight: Paul Sass d. Michael Johnson (Submission – Round 1, 3:00)
Bantamweight: Mike Easton d. Byron Bloodworth (TKO – Round 2, 4:52)
Lightweight: Yves Edwards d. Rafaello Oliveira (TKO – Round 2, 2:44)
Lightweight: T.J. Grant d. Shane Roller (Submission – Round 3, 2:12)
Welterweight: Josh Neer d. Keith Wisniewski (TKO – Round 2, 5:00)
Bantamweight: Walel Watson d. Joseph Sandoval (TKO – Round 1, 1:17)
Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinals: Mike Hayes d. Neil Grove (Split Decision)
Well this was fairly surprising. Not only did Neil Grove not knock out Mike Hayes, but he didn’t even win! Hayes won a fairly uneventful fight in somewhat convincing fashion. Grove didn’t do a ton throughout the fight and Hayes took the second and third rounds of the fight. Grove had previously been a favorite in this tournament and his loss will likely open things up a bit.
Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinals: Blagoi Ivanov d. Zak Jensen (Submission – Round 2, 2:35)
Jensen was a late substitution for Thiago Santos, who was unable to enter the country for this fight. Jensen was rewarded by being choked unconscious by Blagoi Ivanov. Ivanov looked good last night, getting the better of the striking and flashing some grappling skills. I ultimately think he’s the favorite in this tournament given Grove’s loss.
Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinals: Eric Prindle d. Abe Wagner (Unanimous Decision)
Ugh, what a mess of a fight this was. Prindle should have finished the fight some time in the second round, but instead, we were subjected to a three round fat boy mess. Wagner looked gassed less than half way through the contest, though Prindle wasn’t in much better shape.
Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinals: Ron Sparks d. Mark Holata (KO – Round 1, 1:24)
So Ron Sparks likes to punch people. This isn’t something new, we’re all aware of it. Unfortunately, Mark Holata found out the hard way when he was pounded by Sparks last night.
Catchweight (150 lbs.): Genair da Silva d. Bryan Goldsby (Submission – Round 1, 3:51)
Heavyweight: Justin Frazier d. Liron Wilson (TKO – Round 1, 1:50)
Catchweight (213 lbs.): Matt Van Buren d. Nick Nichols (TKO – Round 2, 2:29)
Lightweight: Josh Quayhagen d. Cosmo Alexandre (Unanimous Decision)