“I’ve warned you. I’ll be forced to thrash you.” PicProps: Bellator
Perhaps you remember just a few days ago when MMA judging was held in contempt, publicly flagellated, and crucified for all to see. Fighters and fans alike tore at their garments, lamenting the apparent death of the ability to trust judges to deliver a decision faithful to the efforts expended. The skies darkened and the heavens poured out upon the earth. Dark times, Potato Nation. Miraculously, though, MMA judging has risen, and shall return again. We’re pleased to report that there were no robberies last night in Concho, Oklahoma, or at least, none involving combat sport. In fairness, though, the fighters took matters out of the judges’ hands most of the evening. Baby steps, people.
Bellator’s fourth season is winding down, with just three shows left, and we’re seeing more and more of the fighters we’ll see next season in tournament action. We were originally slated to see a heavyweight super fight between Bellator’s pound for pound heaviest champ Cole Konrad against Paul Buentello, but that bout was scratched after Buentello wrecked his back. Happily, Bellator just bumped up an undercard fight featuring Ronnie Mann and soldiered on, and we’re just tickled about it. Also scheduled were the two semifinal matches in the light heavyweight brackets, and Bellator’s Brazilian Invasion storyline continues with Luis Nogueira (no relation).
Come in after the jump and we’ll share all the spoilers with you (along with a healthy dose of inappropriate humor) and we’ll regale you with facts about the Toughest MMA Fighter in the business.
Welcome to the spoiler section! If you’re still reading the Book, don’t worry: Jesus comes back.
Luis “Betao” Nogueira (10-1) vs Jerod “There Is No” Spoon (5-1-1)
Luis Alberto Nogueira picks up a showcase fight against a relative unknown, before presumably being formally announced for the next bantamweight tourney. Carrying one loss to highly touted 135er Eduardo Dantas against ten wins, Nogueira trains out of Renovacao Fight Team and is called a “proud Luta Livre fighter”. We looked all over the Renovacao roster, and we couldn’t find Rey Mysterio anywhere. Anyways, someone told us that “Betao” translates as “Concrete”, plus he had a fight in the UFC; so he’ll probably wreck shop.
His opponent is Jerod Spoon, who is some guy, he’s has had some professional fights against some other guys, and, oh yeah, he has a twin brother who also fights. (This is the kind of hard analysis we provide here at the Potato. You’re welcome, internet.) Spoon insists that he’ll outbox Nogueira with precision and patience.
The fight is a three round kickboxing match, and Spoon shows little sign of that whole “tight boxing” thing. It’s actually Nogueira who shows a more proficient boxing game, specifically counter punching and stringing together combos. The fighters trade a few takedowns, but the story of the fight is Nogueira pressing the action, throwing punches in tight bursts and keeping Spoon off balance with a steady diet of leg kicks. Spoon fires off solitary jabs and whistling overhand rights, and he seems to wobble Nogueira a couple of times, but he just can’t compete with the sheer volume of strikes from Betao. It doesn’t help that he might as well be wearing a t shirt that says “I HEART OVERHAND RITES”. The judges hand down their ruling, awarding Luis Alberto Nogueira the victory over Jerod Spoon via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2).
Nogueira will join the burgeoning bantamweight field when Bellator cranks up season five, which will also feature the aforementioned Eduardo Dantas, as well as Joe Warren and Marcos Galvao, the guy who beat Warren last week. If Bellator has any damn sense for drama (and they do), the 135 quarters will have some very interesting rematches.
Tim “The Guida” Carpenter (7-0) vs Christian “Tonton” M’Pumbu (16-3-1)
Tim Carpenter defeated Daniel Gracie in the quarterfinals, earning a split decision victory in a mostly grappling affair, and continuing his string of victories over dangerous submission fighters. He didn’t look particularly dangerous on the feet against Gracie, however, and his opponent is no slouch on the feet.
Christian M’Pumbu has fought all over Europe and Asia, entertaining crowds with a well-rounded game that piled up 15 wins against three losses before making his US debut. M’Pumbu scored what was recorded as a TKO victory over Chris Davis in the quarters, but trust us, that fool was out. Jimmy Smith and Sean Wheelock mention again that M’Pumbu walks around just under the 205 pound weight limit, and doesn’t have to cut weight. He’s long and lean and he’ll touch Carpenter about 3 inches before Carpenter touches him.
Carpenter is willing to take the fight to M’Pumbu, but he has to catch him first. M’Pumbu circles away and slings leg kicks, keeping Carpenter outside of effective range. An overhand right stuns Carpenter, who bows parallel to the canvas, and Tonton snakes another right under Carpenter’s outstretched arms and sends him crashing onto his ass. It’s enough to convince the ref that Carpenter is done, and he calls the fight. Christian M’Pumbu defeats Tim Carpenter via TKO (ref stoppage due to strikes) at 2:20 of the first round. Carpenter invokes the “what the fuck is your problem?” stoppage test, and it’s obvious in replay that he was alert and defending when it was called off, but referee Kevin Nix made a fair call. From Nix’s angle, Carpenter looked like he’d been kicked in the nuts and then tasered, so we say he was doing his job properly. Carpenter will get another chance, M’Pumbu gets a shot a giant check.
Ronnie Mann is a veteran of 20+ fights with Cage Rage, Shark Fights, and Sengoku at just 24 years of age (though he looks more like 15). He participated in Sengoku’s 2009 featherweight Grand Prix, losing to Hatsu “Kind of a Big Deal” Hioki, and went on to pick up two more wins before joining Bellator. Mann has eyed the North American market for sometime, and he’ll be a nice addition to the next featherweight tournament. Two notes: Mann enjoys a five inch reach advantage, and Mann introducing himself as “Kid Ninja” is hilariously unintelligible. We really thought “No Longer a Boy, Not Yet A” would be a better nickname.
The other man in the cage is Josh Arocho, who promises that he’ll win come hell or high water. If he somehow doesn’t win, he assures us in his interview, it will be one hell of a fight and Mann will have to beat him to death, most likely with an illegal weapon, before Arocho will surrender.
The fight was three rounds of domination by the young Englishman, who managed to spend most of the fight on top of Arocho without ever initiating a takedown. Arocho, for his part, refuses to give up or go away but Mann’s wrestling defense is surprisingly good, and his ground and pound manual has just two chapters: 1) Intro to Elbows and 2) Punches an’ Everyfing Else. Kid Ninja does lots of visible damage to Arocho’s face, and he’s never in any real trouble. Fifteen minutes later, the judges hand in their scores. Ronnie Mann defeats Josh Arocho via unanimous decision (30-25(!), 30-27 x2), and you can go ahead and pencil him in for a featherweight tourney sometime later this year.
Chris “Triple Threat” Bell (10-3) vs Jared “The Test” Hess (10-2-1)
Jared Hess is BACK ladies and gentlemen. After suffering a gruesome injury in a fight he was winning against Alexander “The Gravitron” Shlemenko, Hess spent most of last year reacquainting himself with his tibia and everything connected to it. The toughest SOB to ever dress up as Lt. Dangle, Hess grills steaks barehanded and throws trucks into trees. Jared Hess is so tough, if you cry in his presence your testicles will shrink by 39%, unless you are female. If a woman cries in the presence of Hess, the man is unmoved — dude is tough, you heard?
Across the cage is Chris Bell, out of nearby Texas. Bell reeled off eight straight wins to start his professional career, but his last five have yielded a spotty 3-2 record, including a quick submission loss to Marcus Sursa via triangle choke. Jared Hess is so tough that the production crew played Anita Ward as Chris Bell’s entrance music.
Round one begins and Hess can’t wait to get his hands on Bell. He moves in quickly to apply his wrestling, and they go to the ground. Hess attempts a guillotine, but Bell pops his head out. Hess leans back and brings his legs up, triangling them behind Bell’s head. He spends a few seconds cinching the hold; once it’s looked in, the tap comes soon enough. Jared Hess defeats Chris Bell via submission (triangle choke) at 1:40 of the first round. Welcome back Hess, you towering example of all that is man.
Rich “Rare Breed” Hale (16-3-1) vs D.J. “Da Protege” Linderman (9-1)
So far, Rich Hale hasn’t shown us much more than his black belt in intensity and that crazy submission that keeps showing up in Bellator. He’s a huge light heavyweight though, and and he’s got a ridiculous 7 inch inch reach advantage on his opponent.
D.J. Linderman slew the presumptive favorite in the quarterfinals, when he battered Rafael Davis for thirteen minutes before the ref called the fight. Linderman has fought all the way up at super heavyweight, and he still seems a little soft and lacking in cardio, but he’s earned his spot and he’s ready to bang.
The first two rounds of Hale-Linderman are a standup match, with the two trading punches and leg kicks fairly evenly. Hale steals the first round with a flurry that rocks Linderman in the final seconds. Linderman puts on a decent effort in the second round, clubbing Hale early with a spinning backfist and following up with a takedown. Hale recovers his feet and keeps the round tight with some good counterpunching and leg kicks. The third round starts much like the first two, until Linderman attempts an ill-advised takedown. Hale trips the smaller Linderman and lands right into full mount, with three minutes to finish the fight. Hale maintains mount for the rest of the round, moving between front and back, and he tries his damndest to sink a rear naked choke. Linderman defends the choke attempts valiantly, but spending three minutes under an opponent in a close fight is too much. Rich Hale defeats D.J. Linderman via split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29) and moves forward to face Christian M’Pumbu in the finals for the vacant Bellator light heavyweight championship. Linderman has shown plenty of guts, but he may want to continue his journey down in weight. With a bit more cardio work and down around 190, he could be a factor in the tournaments.
In undercard action…
Brandon Shelton defeated Owen Evinger via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:35 of round 1.
Shane Howell defeated Mark Oshiro via submission (D’Arce choke) at 4:15 of round 1.
Mark Holata defeated Tracy Willis via submission (strikes) at 0:49 of round 1. (Jared Hess offered to adopt Willis and teach him the ways of being a man.)