Above is the decidedly high-def looking promo for Bellator’s fifth season, kicking off on September 10th in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I mention the spiffyness of the visuals because one of the few complaints that I’ve ever leveled at BFC is the standard definition broadcasting. When the trailer was released a few weeks ago, I honestly thought it was just a little accidental irony.
Nope. A couple of days ago, it was announced that Bellator season five tournaments will be broadcast in HD baby! Now go dig out your cable programming guide and try to determine if you have EPIX. I’ve never heard of it, but apparently it’s an actual channel somewhere, so I’m going to call DISH Network and start offering them money until they can confirm that I’ll see Bellator in 1080p.
If you’re not excited about the upcoming season, watch that video again. You may not realize it, but that’s Bruce Lee talking about being like water. It’s some deep philosophical type shit, and it’s pretty much him guaranteeing that he’s going to join a tournament and wreck shop. Seeing the founder of Jeet Kun Do step away from his acting career and FINALLY step into the cage is going to be sick, and I’m looking forward to putting an end to all that speculation about how good he’d be.
(For an actual preview of two of the four planned tournaments this season, come on in past the jump.)
The 135 pound tournament is packed full of storylines and rivalries. Current featherweight champ Joe Warren is joining the field in an attempt to earn Bellator gold in two weight classes. Here’s the thing about Joe Warren: before Chael Sonnen, there was Joe Warren: he doesn’t lack confidence and he’s not afraid to tell you what’s on his mind. The self-proclaimed “Baddest Man on the Planet” missed the 2008 Olympics due to smoking a little reefer, where he would have represented the US at 60kg in wrestling. (Just my opinion, but if you can smoke grass and stay on weight , you deserve a medal at something. Damn IOC always trying to bring a man down. )
His opponent will be the Cuban Olympic wrestler Alexis Vila, who won a bronze medal in at the 1996 Games at 48kg. You may remember Vila from his appearance in the Genghis Con web documentary Miami Hustle, in which he was angry a lot and hit people really hard. If anyone wants to bet me that Vila does not beat the absolute piss out Warren in the first round, I will laugh and take your money.
Chase Beebe, who fought Warren in his first pro MMA fight and lost (Beebe was 12-3 at the time), joins the tournament looking for redemption. To get it, Beebe will have to get through Marcos Galvao, who gave Warren all he could handle at Bellator 41 (and lost a controversial split decision). Still with me?
Eduardo Dantas out of Brazilian powerhouse Nova Uniao signed on with Bellator, and will face perennial contender Wilson Reis for his North American debut. Dantas won the Shooto South American title, but failed to win the world title in a bout with Masakatsu Ueda in 2009.
Ed West made it to the finals in season three before losing to current champ Zach Makovsky, and he draws Team Renovacao product Luis Alberto Nogueira in the quarterfinals. Nogueira has a loss on his record to Dantas, and if the two meet, expect Bellator to fill you in on Luta Livre vs BJJ.
Welterweights will kick off the fifth season, with the quarterfinals in the 170 pound tournament taking up the card at Bellator 49 on the 10th. Welterweight has always been a deep division for Bellator, and new free agents add some spice to the brackets.
Hornbuckle, meanwhile, will run into a welterweight almost as tall as he is — Luis “Sapo” Santos, a Brazilian wrecking machine that’s every bit as well-rounded as Hornbuckle. Check your DVR twice, because you are not going to want to miss this fight.
Ben Saunders draws Chris Cisneros, a 13-3 Hawaiian fighter who stepped in for the recently injured Rick Hawn, and Kentucky fighter-philosopher Brent Weedman battles the Cleveland Assassin Chris Lozano. Weedman went 5-0 in Bellator until he met Jay Hieron in the semifinals a few months ago, and he’s totally worth following on Twitter. Lozano has earned all eight of his wins via stoppage, with just one loss — a decision to former Bellator champ Lyman Good.