Bellator recently announced the lineup and first round match-ups for its 6th season middleweight tournament, and it features more than its fair share of familiar faces. First off, after reportedly suffering a heart attack during training back in November, former UFC middleweight Maiquel Falcao will be returning to action against 10-1-1 Norman Paraisy. Paraisy, a Paris, France native, previously fell to a first round rear-naked choke at the hands of inaugural UFC middleweight champion Dave Menne in his last Bellator appearance, which took place back in April of 2009. Paraisy has gone 5-0-1 since the loss, picking up wins over Paulo Filho and Jack Mason among others. True to his fighting style, Falcao last picked up a first round TKO victory over Douglas Del Rio, a video of which is below.
(Falcao also strayed from his usual fighting style that night, as he actually managed to stop punching his opponent when the ref intervened.)
Also scheduled to throw down are Giva “The Arm Collector” Santana and undefeated Bruno Santos. Owning an incredible 13 wins by armbar in 17 victories, with all but one of those wins coming in the first round, Santana last picked up another first round armbar over Darryl Cobb at Bellator 53. Santos is perhaps Santana’s polar opposite, as ten of his twelve victories have gone the distance, so it will be interesting to see how things play out if this one drags into the later rounds. Our prediction, however, is that Santana collects yet another arm before, in Bryan Baker-esque fashion, proposing to Ronda Rousey and giving birth to the child that will eventually save the limbs of mankind from Rousimar Palhares. Fight fire with fire, Potato Nation.
Elsewhere on the card, season 5 runner-up Vitor Vianna will square off against Brian “The Predator” Rogers. Both men are coming off losses to eventual season winner Alexander Shlemenko; Rogers succumbed to a second round TKO at Bellator 54 and Vianna dropped a unanimous decision at Bellator 57.
And finally, submission specialist Vitor O’Donnell will lock horns with 15-1 Sambo practitioner Vyacheslav “Slava” Vasilevsky. For the love of Krzysztof Soszynski was that name hard to spell. O’Donnell’s last Bellator appearance was a quick one, a first round TKO via head kick at the hands of Brian Rogers in the season 5 quarterfinals.
Any of these names starting to sound familiar? Bjorn Rebney might want to consider adding a few more new faces to Bellator’s next middleweight tourney, because as much as we love rematches, we can only watch the same guys kick each other’s asses for so long. Unless those two happen to be Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard.
Bellator’s sixth season is set to kick off on March 9th, and features CP lifer/steroid aficionado Sean McCorkle taking on Richard White, Joe Warren defending his featherweight title against Pat Curran, and the featherweight tournament quarterfinals.
Bellator has just announced that its middleweight tournament is set for Bellator 61, and will be capped off by a heavyweight rematch between Eric Prindle and Thiago Santos. The first meeting between these two, which took place back at Bellator 59 in November, was meant to determine the fifth season heavyweight tournament winner, but ended in a controversial no contest after Santos blatantly kicked Prindle in the groin despite controlling the action up to the point of the foul. The video of that fight is below, just in case you didn’t feel like following the link. The winner of the match will get a title shot against current Bellator heavyweight champion Cole Konrad.
Bellator 61 is set to go down on March 16th from The Riverdome at Horseshoe Casino and Hotel in Bossier City, Louisiana. The prelims will be the first broadcast of Bellator’s recent deal with Spike TV shown on the actual network and not just the website, and will kick off at 7 p.m. with the main card fights being broadcast live on MTV 2 starting at 8 p.m.
(Look at it this way, Eric, it could’ve been worse.)
On that note, have a pleasant weekend, Potato Nation.