(Video via MMAJunkie)
Maybe one day there will be a Bellator lightweight contender who’s talented enough to defeat champion Michael Chandler — but it ain’t gonna be the dinosaur guy. (No offense.) Season 8 lightweight tournament winner David Rickels had a good head of steam going into his title challenge against Chandler last night at Bellator 97, with four straight wins including a TKO of Saad Awad back in March. But against a truly world-class lightweight, the Caveman was in way over his head.
As you can see in the video above, Rickels didn’t even have a chance to get started. Chandler swarmed as soon as he staggered Rickels with a right straight, landing more follow-up power shots and diving after Rickels when the challenger hit the mat. In just 44 seconds, Rickels was unconscious and Michael Chandler (now 12-0 overall) had made his second title defense with another fearsome display of killer instinct.
Chandler’s next fight will likely come against Dave Jansen, the Season 7 lightweight tournament winner who hasn’t been able to face Chandler yet due to injury. Jansen is 6-0 in Bellator, and is clearly the most qualified man for the job. And yet, we can’t help but wonder how Chandler would stack up against some of the top 155′ers in the UFC — not like that would ever happen.
Speaking of dominant Bellator champions who could use a higher level of competition…
Before his welterweight title defense last night against Season 7 tourney winner Andrey Koreshkov, Ben Askren completely wrote off his formerly unbeaten opponent, describing Koreshkov’s ground game as “embarrassing.” It turned out to be a very apt description, although Askren should feel free to share some of that embarrassment.
If you’ve watched any of Askren’s performances before, I probably don’t need to tell you what happened, but in short, Funky Ben took Koreshkov to the mat in every single round, and threw down enough half-hearted strikes to avoid being stood up by the ref. He racked up a truly absurd striking differential, and there were moments in the fight where Askren was confident enough to do absolutely nothing without fear of reprisal. That’s undoubtedly impressive, although not particularly entertaining to watch.
But while Askren was successfully able to lead the crowd in chants of “USA!” early in the fight, the fans eventually turned on him, as they always do. After nearly 18 minutes of Askren’s safe, stifling, tedious top control, the referee called it a TKO, more out of boredom than anything else. Afterwards, Askren accused the fans of being Communists. If booing lay-and-pray makes you a Communist, then yes, I believe the workers should own the means of production. Fun fact: Ben Askren is currently without a contract. Let the bidding war begin!
Elsewhere on the card, Muhammad Lawal went back to his wrestling roots for a ground-and-pound-based victory over Jacob Noe to win the 2013 Summer Series light-heavyweight tournament final, while Patricio Freire bounced back to the W column with a savage third-round TKO against Jared Downing. (Note: Downing was an injury replacement for Rob Emerson, who reportedly pulled a muscle while banging Ian McCall’s wife.)
And of course, this happened.
Video highlights and full results are below…
July 31st, 2013
Santa Ana Star Center; Rio Rancho, New Mexico
- Michael Chandler def. David Rickels via KO, 0:44 of round 1 [for Bellator lightweight title]
- Ben Askren def. Andrey Koreshkov via TKO, at 2:58 of round 4 [for Bellator welterweight title]
- Muhammed Lawal def. Jacob Noe via verbal submission (punches), 2:51 of round 3 [light-heavyweight tournament final]
- Vitaly Minakov def. Ryan Martinez via TKO, 4:02 of round 3 [heavyweight tournament final]
- Patricio Freire def. Jared Downing via TKO, 0:54 of round 3
- Bubba Jenkins def. Mike Barreras via TKO, 1:05 of round 2
- Anthony Leone def. Frank Baca via submission (rear-naked choke), 1:07 of round 3
- Rafael Silva def. Rodrigo Lima via submission (rear-naked choke), 2:03 of round 3
- Will Brooks def. Cris Leyva via TKO, 2:20 of round 3
- Jeremy Kimball def. Keith Berry via KO, 1:45 of round 2
- Shawn Bunch def. Russell Wilson via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Donald Sanchez def. Cliff Wright via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Adrian Cruz def. Felipe Chavez via TKO, 4:24 of round 2
- Javier Palacios def. Richard Jacques via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)