We glanced at this poster and though M’Pumbu’s nick name was “TomTom”. Like he hands out directions. Also, just seeing if you notice anything odd about this…. (PicProps: Bellator.com)
Remember when Bellator inked that deal with MTV2, and it was supposed to make BFC more accessible? Stable time slot, easy to find, no more worries about pre-emption? Yeah. We remember that. It was a Tuesday, we’d finally gotten all the Christmas cards in the mail, and it just felt like this was the best MMA news we could expect in early December. Our beloved Bellator was movin’ on up to the East Side. Fast forward three months, and we’ve cursed at our DVR so much that it’s now started to nervously record old re-runs of ALF and anything related to the Pro Bull Riders circuit in hopes of making amends. If you’re not manually setting, checking, and resetting your recording device of choice, catching a full episode of Bellator is an exercise in futility and frustration. Thanks, MTV2!
That said, Bellator has been making it more than worth your while to tune in the past few weeks, and last night’s light heavyweight tourney in Tunica, Mississippi was a prime example. Fun fact about Mississippi: couples have to be 21 years old to get married there without parental consent. Yes, we were shocked to hear that as well. If you’re young and madly in love in Mississippi, you’re going to have cross the border somewhere to declare your devotion in a legal fashion.
Come on in past the jump and we’ll share even more shocking tales about things you probably wouldn’t believe, if we couldn’t prove it to you with witnesses and video. There may possibly be cake.
FOOLS! The cake is a lie!
But the other stuff was totally true. FIGHTS!
Chris “The Professional” Davis (10-2) vs Christian “TonTon” M’Pumbu (15-3)
When Bellator announced a light heavyweight tournament, we were skeptical. For a time, the only announced participant was Daniel Gracie, and everyone just had to guess who would be showing up. We put together a list of 12-15 names, trying to predict who would get the call, and neither of these guys were on that list.
Chris Davis has losses to Vinny Magalhaes and Jeremy Horn, and wins over everybody else, including gogoplata master Brad Imes. More importantly, he’s got no decisions on his record–”The Professional” does his work inside the bells and those judges can keep snorting drain cleaner or whatever it is they do for fun while ignoring fights.
Christian M’Pumbu was born in the Republic of the Congo, and fights out of Paris, France. M’Pumbu has competed for M-1, KSW, and DEEP, and holds a win over Stephan Struve in the semifinals of an eight-man, one-night tournament three years back. (M’Pumbu continued on to win the whole thing.) Interestingly, M’Pumbu walks around just below 205, and cuts no weight.
M’Pumbu also cuts no slack for Davis, who controls the action for two rounds with takedowns and positional dominance, but runs out of gas inside of the second round. When the bell rings for the third, M’Pumbu is as fresh and ready to bang as a high school prom goer, while Davis is just ready for a nap. M’Pumbu is willing to tuck him in, peppering him with jabs, avoiding Davis’ now-desperate takedowns, and unleashing some nasty GnP when Davis turtles up. M’Pumbu blasts Davis with hooks, and The Professional slumps from the turtle position to the ready-for-a-massage position, and the ref calls it. Christian M’Pumbu defeats Chris Davis via TKO (punches) at 3:34 of Round 3. Looked like a knockout to me, though–Davis went completely limp for a second there.
Richard “Rare Breed” Hale (15-3) vs Nik “The Machete” Fekete (4-0)
Hale is one of those guys that speaks quickly, with the kind of intensity people usually associate with tiger blood and Adonis DNA. His gameplan is to “take Fekete out of his element” and show him that there is “no hope”.
Fekete is a Michigan State wrestler with a Mark Coleman look about him, and he reels off a who’s who of UFC vets that he’s helped train on the mats. Unfortunately, none of those dudes have done anything to him like what Hale is about to pull off.
Watch this shit:
Richard Hale defeats Nik Fekete via flying inverted triangle at 1:55 of the first round, Jimmy Smith and Sean Wheelock lose their shit, and Bellator uploaded the clip to YouTube with the quickness. You are welcome.
DJ “Da Protege” Linderman (8-1) vs Raphael “Noodle” Davis (10-1)
DJ Linderman was a rumored participant for the tourney early on, but Bellator didn’t announce anything until they were confident the former super heavyweight could make it down to 205. (Not so much “Da Protege” as “Da Tribute“, amiright?) Still, with an amateur boxing background and a win over heavyweight tournament fighter Mike Hayes, he’s an intriguing addition and a good test for Raphael Davis.
Davis is a grappler, with Division I wrestling experience and solid BJJ, and he turned some heads with a win over former KOTC dual-weightclass-champ Tony “Kryptonite” Lopez last year. Viewed by many as a favorite to win the 205 strap, Davis looked forward to tiring Linderman out after a tough cut and scoring an easy quarterfinal win.
Funny things, expectations. Linderman may have tired out in round three, but he did more than enough damage with his boxing en route. The first round is fairly even, but Linderman opens up a lead in the striking department in the second, and stays in the driver’s seat for the remainder. Early in the third, Linderman lands an accidental (but devastating) knee to Davis’ cash and prizes, prompting a five minute rest and recovery period for Davis. Referee Jason Herzog is so full of support and helpful advice for Davis during this recovery period, anyone with less patience and less strikes to the groin would probably have cheerfully punched him in the kidney and quietly told him to shut the hell up. When the action restarts, Linderman has found his second wind and Davis still has a throbbing pain in his family jewels, so it takes little time for Linderman to land some hard shots to the face and body. Linderman is tired, but Davis is badly wobbled and leaning on the cage. Linderman grabs Davis by the back of the head and the jaw and slings him to the canvas, and Davis faceplants painfully and turtles up. Herzog gives him a little more time to absorb punches, then jumps in to call it. DJ Linderman defeats Raphael Davis via TKO (punches) at 2:44 of the third round, and there’s a beatdown and an upset rolled up into one fight. (Shaky video of round three is available here, for now, if you want to see the ugly ending.) Linderman can take punishment and he can dish it, so let’s see if he can work on his cardio before the semis.
Tim Carpenter (6-0) vs Daniel Gracie (5-2)
Quick! How old is Daniel Gracie? If you said “Uh, twenty-something?”, you’re forgiven. At last count, the Gracie family has enough members to populate both Dakotas, with enough left over to start a “Little Brasil” in a metro area. Who can keep up? For the record, Daniel is 38 years old, and we spilled our beer trying to write that down.
Tim Carpenter is a black belt in BJJ from Phil and Rick Migliarese–his fight trunks even have a black belt graphic integrated on them–but surely he’s not going to try to roll with a Gracie and submit him. I mean, that would be crazy, right?
Fifteen minutes of crazy, actually. Carpenter gets the better of the striking exchanges, which is neither shocking nor particularly damaging. What is kind of shocking is his work on the ground, including his top control with striking and his mounting Gracie in the first round (keep in mind, mount is the most dominant position in BJJ, scoring four points in competition). Carpenter gamely worked to submit Gracie with two armbar attempts and a kimura in the first and second, but we all know there is no way Gracie is going to tap before a bone comes through his skin. He also lands a pretty stiff upkick that looked to have rocked Gracie in the second. In the third frame, Carpenter stuns Gracie with a punch, or maybe they both just want to lay down, because that’s what they do, with Carpenter on top. Gracie threatens with a guillotine and an omaplata, which would be dope, doesn’t get it. Gracie worms out from underneath, tries an armbar of his own. He beats Carpenter in the head, looking to open up the arm, Carpenter yanks out. Carpenter has a cut, and Gracie stays active trying to end it, maybe because he knows he’s behind on the cards and if time runs out then Tim Carpenter defeats Daniel Gracie via split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29). Now, maybe we just have too much love for the Gracie family, but did anyone see this coming? Carpenter goes on to the semifinals, probably with a big target on his back.
Amaechi Oselukwue defeated Abe Wilson via unanimous decision at 5:00 of the third round.
Blagoi Ivanov defeated William Penn via TKO (punches) at 2:58 of the first round.
Cody Donovan defeated Brian Albin via unanimous decision at 5:00 of the third round.
Jake Underwood defeated Tim Galluzzi via submission (triangle choke) at 1:04 of the first round.
Austin Lyons defeated Jimmy Van Horn via submission (Armbar) at 2:10 of the first round.