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Bellator 47: Sandro and Curran Advance to Finals

Curran connects with flying knee #27.

Two of the three opening acts were short and sweet and the feature bouts went the distance, but it wasn’t hard to figure out who won any of the fights at last night’s Bellator 47. If anything, I’m more confident in the disparity of skill sets featured in the tournament semi-finals than I am the fights where someone got steamrolled. That’s not to say it was a bore to watch, and it’s not to say that the tournament finale won’t impress. It is to say if you missed the action, keep reading and I’ll clue you in.

The combined weight of the two fighters in the evening’s opening bout nearly equaled that of the four tournament competitors. Realizing that fans don’t want to see two big boys huffing and puffing at the start of round two, Zak Jensen and Neil Grove did us a solid and came out swinging in a fight that proved that the best defense is a good offense (well, at least it proved true for Grove). The heavyweights went right to work trading bombs, with Grove dropping in the first five seconds. He secured a single and the two continued to hockey-fight on the ground before Grove went for an ankle lock. Jensen countered by punching Grove in the gut, which reminded “Goliath” how fun it was to punch and he released the hold. A failed triangle attempt by Jensen ended up with Grove in his guard raining down blows and drawing the referee stoppage at 2:00 into the first round.

Looking at Chris Horodecki and Ronnie Mann walking to the cage last night made me question Canada’s child labor laws, but the “tale of the tape” insists that they are old enough to consent to getting punched in the face. The first round between Horodecki and Chris Saunders was just as entertaining as Jensen-Grove, only quite a bit more technical. Both men traded submission attempts in a ground battle that saw numerous transitions as they jockied for position and control. Horodecki more clearly took control in round two, taking Saunders down and working his body from full and half guard. Round three was yet another for the Canadian, but Saunders again worked for submissions and kept busy on the ground. Horodecki ended the final frame in full mount and full control of the fight, taking the win via unanimous decision.

Alexandre Bezerra made quick work of Jesse Gross. The Brazilian took Gross down promptly with a double. Gross worked hard to get back to his feet, but Bezerra took his back and locked in rear naked choke. Gross tucked his chin well and kept the arm from sneaking around his neck, but the pressure was too great and before long he went out cold. It is still not clear if referee Dan Miragliotta will face sanctions for recognizing the choke out and acting in a timely fashion.

All of those bouts were merely the back drop to the Bellator Featherweight Tourament semi-finals. It was clear from the opening bell that Marlon Sandro held a distinct stand-up advantage over Nazareno Malegarie. Naza looked tense and gunshy, backing away from the action. Their brief exchanges ended with Sadro connecting with powerful combos. Malegarie was dedicated to his first takedown attempt, but Sandro shook it off and continued to land solid jabs and combinations, and that was really the story of the fight. Malegarie would grow more confident and aggressive in his stand up, pressing the action in the later rounds, but that didn’t make it any more effective. Sandro clearly did more damage on the feet and even landed a few takedowns, easily securing the 30-27 unanimous decision victory and advancing to the tournament finals.

Pat Curran and Ronnie Mann started off round one with reserved exchanges as they felt each other out. Curran landed a nice flying knee, which he’d continue to throw like a jab throughout the three round affair. Round one would end with Curran getting the takedown, working free of Mann’s rubber guard, and landing some hammerfists until the bell sounded. Round two saw more tight exchanges from the two. Curran was the aggressor, throwing the flying knee like it was going out of style and keeping Mann from pushing forward. Mann would drop for a guillotine at the end of the round, but time would expire. A few boos would emanate from the crowd in round three, which saw brief exchanges and two-punch combos. Mann knew he was down 2-0, but still fought with no sense of urgency. Learning nothing from the end of round two, he waited until there were ten seconds left in the fight to go for a takedown and choke, but it was too little, too late. Curran took the obvious UD and will meet Sandro in the tournament finals.
Prelim bouts:

Alex Ricci def. Alka Matewa: TKO (Elbows & Punches) Round 2- 2:40

William Romero def. Daniel Langbeen: Decision (Unanimous)

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Very impressed by Dan Miragliotta performance in the Alexandre Bezerra versus Jesse Gross fight. He checked Gross just as soon as I thought he went out and grabbed Bezerra's wrist to stop hold. I'm slightly worried that a gap is beginning to build between high level officiating in MMA and the lower level competition. I haven't seen many screw ups on the bigger shows but there are so many horror stories taken from smaller MMA shows of knocked out fighters still being ragged on and unconscious fighters still being choked that it makes the sport unnecessarily dangerous to competitors.
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DangadaDang- July 24, 2011 at 10:04 am
Just watched the Grove/Jensen affair. Must say that it was a damn entertaining fight. Man is Grove a fan of those leg locks, now only if he could finish one...
intercept440- July 24, 2011 at 9:23 am
i watched this last night and i got to agree ..

a couple of these guys skills were nowwhere even close to being competitive
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