It looks like he punched him out, woke him up, and then punched him out again, all inside of two seconds. Damn, playa.
Well kids, it’s another lazy Sunday, and another look back on Bellator’s last card, conceived and executed for maximum entertainment. Bjorn Rebney and company pour their hearts and souls into each season, and if something goes wrong, there’s only one party to blame: the terrorists. Bellator 41 popped off under the desert sun in Yuma, Arizona yesterday, and we’re tempted to call this a mistake — an outdoor event in the harsh late afternoon sun, where it’s 99 degrees in April? Sure, it sounds harsh and perhaps cruel to the fighters who spent Thursday and Friday purging any spare liquids out of their bodies, but anyone believing that just can’t grasp the next-level meta-thinking that goes on inside Bellator HQ. There’s a higher purpose here, and we’re just too pedestrian in our thinking to follow it.
Something else we cannot always understand is the logic that MMA judges apply when filling out their cute little “official scorecards”, which are apparently legally binding even when no one on the planet agrees with them. We’ve seen this phenomenon before at all levels in every promotion, but it still never fails to incite much wailing and gnashing of teeth among the common MMA fan, including calls for the promotion’s owner to fire the judges involved. For the last time, guy at the bar who tranes UFC: the judges are not employed by the organization, they are meant to be fair and impartial employees of the state’s athletic commission. That judges occasionally seem to be drunker than a cricket in a hubcap cannot be blamed on Scott, Dana, and Bjorn. You blame that on stupid.
Come on in past the jump and we’ll fill you in on last night’s televised card, and discuss the latest “worst decision EVAR”.
Kenny “The Tooth Fairy” Foster (9-2) vs Daniel Straus (15-3)
Kenny Foster will tell you that he’s lost more teeth sparring than he has forcibly removed from his opponents, but someone started the “Tooth Fairy” thing, and it seems like he’s stuck with it. Foster was counted out of the featherweight tournament almost as soon as his participation was announced, but he scored an impressive first round win over Eric Larkin in the quarterfinals, busting him open and then jumping into a guillotine so tight viewers all over the world reached for their inhalers.
Across the cage from him is Daniel Straus, who has embraced his tag as a grinder by pointing out that anyone can finish, but it takes impressive cardio to slowly work a guy down for a decision win. It’s one way of looking at it, we guess. Straus won a very entertaining bout over Nazareno Malegarie last month in Oklahoma, so maybe he’s got a point, but he did try to finish that fight, and that’s really all we ask.
Foster and Straus meet in the cage and we spend the first round remarking how much it probably sucks to be the guy with the sun in your eyes (seriously, whose idea was the outside venue?). Straus takes the action to Foster the entire fight, who seems strangely tentative, but he’s from New York and it’s a hundred freaking degrees out, so, yeah. Straus scores big with hip toss takedowns and knees in the clinch, and he explores the possibility of submissions throughout. Foster resists a few takedowns and returns fire when he can, but he spends a good chunk of time trying to get Straus off of him and protecting his neck. It looks like Straus is on his way to another gritty decision win in the third, until he finally sinks that guillotine he’s been flirting with. Daniel Straus defeats Kenny Foster via submission (guillotine choke) at 3:48 of Round 3, which ups his win streak to twelve and sets him up for the finals. A grinding wrestler that hangs dudes by their tracheas? You can’t hate on that, people.
Zackherie “Fun Size” Makovsky (12-2) vs Chad “Robo” Robichaux (11-0)
No one can agree how to spell Fun Size Makovsky’s first name. You’d think someone would ask the guy how he wants it spelled (Zachery), but the inevitable “Lego Maniac” jokes start and there goes any hope of productivity for at least an hour. Luckily, Makovsky has one of our favorite fighter nicknames since anyone, ever, and his undefeated streak at 135 is pretty sweet as well.
The reigning Bellator bantamweight king draws undefeated Chad Robichaux, a US Marine who has so many tours in Afghanistan that we wonder if he actually has cybernetic parts. You know how every high school kid started bragging about joining the Marines’ Force Rewcon unit after Modern Warfare blew up? Robo did it when those kids were pooping their diapers. Tommy Lee Jones was a badass in The Fugitive? Robo had his Master’s degree and his Marshal’s badge before that. Now 11-0 (with 10 subs) against mostly unheralded competition, the 36 year old Robichaux is ready to make some noise against a tough fighter and get some exposure.
Robichaux isn’t shy to start the fight, rushing Makovsky with a one-two-kick combo, but Makovsky demonstrates why you don’t kick a wrestler unless you want to be on your back. Robo has a good grip on Fun Size’s neck, but he doesn’t have guard, can’t control Makovsky’s hips, so we have no idea why he hangs on the way he does. Robichaux will attack Makovsky’s neck over and over again, but Makovsky has an impressive ability to completely bypass an opponent’s guard during the takedown, moving straight to side control where his carotid is safe from capture. Makovsky tries a choke of his own to start the second frame, a rear naked that looks like the business, but Robo escapes the submission and works to his feet. Robichaux is impressive in regaining his feet after Makovsky’s takedowns, and he doesn’t shrink from a standup exchange, but Fun Size will bulldoze anyone close to his own size to the mat. Once again in side control in the third, Makovsky moves to mount and then secures back mount with hooks when Robichaux rolls away from him. Makovsky pounds on Robichaux until the ref calls it. Actually, Fun Size pounds on him from back mount like he’s trying to break down Corissa Furr’s front door (still disappointed in you, Nation) until the ref calls it. Zach Makovsky defeats Chad Robichaux via TKO (referee’s stoppage due to strikes) at 2:02 of the third round, and that’s another wrestler stopping the fight on his own terms. Expect Makovsky to get another superfight or two before facing the winner of next season’s bantamweight tournament.
Wilson Reis (12-2) vs Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (15-1)
What can we say about this fight? Reis and Li’l Pitbull have met before in a Bellator tournament, resulting in a decision win for Patricio. Reis is still a tough customer for anyone, as he demonstated with his quick win over Zac George last month. Of course, the Brothers Pitbull have been turning out Bellator highlights like it’s their job, so we were stoked for this fight. We give Reis the advantage on the ground, while Pitbull is a bit sharper and quicker in the standup phase.
It’s an entertaining scrap, alright, highlights of which are at the top of this post. Reis is unafraid to engage on the feet, but Freire is able to avoid contact and counter effectively throughout. It’s completely different than their first fight, which was mostly even on the feet. Pitbull scores, but it seems like he doesn’t have the power to put Reis away. The ground game is still relatively even with no real damage done, so after two rounds for Freire it looks like a UD is coming. Freire, of course, has an older brother to compete with, so he says “fuck that” and pours on the violence in the third. At this point he’s got the straight right zeroed in pretty good, and he lands a counter right against the southpaw Reis at will. The cumulative effect of those fists starts to wear on Reis, and Freire throws a ridiculous 50 punch combo that rocks Reis, moving his head along every axis the human neck can withstand, and Reis falls to the mat. Patricio Pitbull defeats Wilson Reis via KO (Ultra Combo) at 3:29 of the third round, and he moves to the finals (again) to face Daniel Straus. Chalk up another GIF-worthy victory for the Pitbull Bros, who have both moved to the finals in their respective weight classes.
Joe “Frate Trane” Warren (6-1) vs Marcos “Loro” Galvao (9-3-1)
If you don’t believe that Joe Warren is the baddest man on the planet, just ask Joe Warren. The guy picked up the Bellator featherweight strap last year, and he’s been telling everyone he’s going to drop down to 135, run the table in the season five bantamweight tournament, whup up on Fun Size and take that belt, then stop off in Brazil to work on his tan and pick up Olympic gold. If Joe Warren and John Hodgman joined forces, we’d all live in a Utopia without hunger, religious strife, or parking tickets.
Anyway, Warren’s victim for Bellator 41 is Marcos Galvao, a mighty mite out of Nova Uniao who trains with a bunch of other little dudes who would wreck you, your shop, and your boys. Currently training and teaching in NYC, Galvao made the trip to the Great American Desert to take part in the most legit superfight Bellator has put on to date.
Jimmy Smith and Sean Wheelock spend a couple of minutes joking about how Warren never starts off impressively and guts out come-from-behind wins, but this is just flirting with disaster from Warren. In the first round, he looks dangerously close to losing via ref’s stoppage for taking a few dozen shots to the head while back mounted, then Galvao almost manages to pull off an armbar from guard. C’mon, Joe–there’s exciting and then there’s “WTF is he doing?!?” Warren takedowns aren’t working for him; Galvao does an impressive job stuffing and reversing Warren’s wrestling tricks, which is shocking to watch. The second round adds a new wrinkle, with Galvao shelling Warren with knees that look like they should be removing bits and pieces of Warren’s childhood. Warren is a tough SOB, but his offense isn’t very offensive–Galvao seems to have an answer for everything the champ does. Galvao reverses another takedown, landing on top, but Warren escapes to the feet again, eating another patellar assault on the way out. Warren finally scores with a good takedown in the last minute, and tries to end it with some GnP, but Galvao answers from his back and the bell signals the end of the round.
Third round begins, and Warren finally starts working his gameplan, but you have to think he’s down two rounds and needs to finish. Galvao is no easy mark, staying active off his back with elbows and looking for a submission finish. Warren stays busy, working for a dominant position and maybe a stoppage win, but he can’t put the Brazilian away. The bell ends the fight, and it’s on to the judges. Hey guess what? The judges make some kind of colossal error, because Joe Warren defeats Marcos Galvao via unanimous decision. What’s more, one judge sees all three rounds for Warren, which is so crazy that Gary Busey sat up in bed and made a note to skip his medication twice today. Warren himself doesn’t see what the big deal is, but holy shit how did that happen? (If you live in Arizona, maybe now would be a good time to work toward your dream of becoming an MMA judge, because there are obviously some guys working fights with a crippling sight deficiency.) This certainly adds a twist to all that talk about taking the bantamweight belt while simultaneously training for the Olympics, huh? We love Joe Warren, but damn. Wow. Wowdamn. Holyshitslapchop.
Carlos Flores defeated Rudy Aguilar via TKO (punches) at 1:19 of round 1, because it’s fucking hot out there.
Anthony Birchak defeated Tyler Bialecki via submission (D’Arce choke) at 4:06 of round 1, because the locker rooms had air conditioning and this fighting outside was some bullshit.
Nick Piedmont defeated Michael Parker via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28), and you can’t help but wonder what the hell is going on with that scoring.
Brendan Tierney defeated Dano Moore via submission (armbar) at 0:49 of round 1, because he’s a model (true story) and didn’t want to burn.
If you watched the Warren-Galvao fight, leave your comments below. Maybe we were just stupid drunk last night.