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Tag: Bellator 85

Bellator 85 Results: Chandler Dominates Hawn, Curran Sneaks by Pitbull, Babalu and Petruzelli Wash Out of LHW Tournament


(Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting.com)

If we needed any more proof that Michael Chandler deserves to be mentioned among the world’s best 155′ers, we got it last night at Bellator 85 in Irvine, California, when the reigning Bellator lightweight champion made decorated judoka Rick Hawn look like it was his first time on the mats. Chandler completed his takedowns with impressive ease, and when he saw an opportunity to take Hawn’s neck during a scramble in round two, he seized on it, sinking a rear-naked choke and showcasing the killer instinct that has now become a hallmark of Chandler’s game. To be honest, it wasn’t much of a fight, and this season’s lightweight tournament field doesn’t suggest that his next challenger will make things any harder for him. On the bright side, Chandler may have just established himself as Bellator’s greatest home-grown fighter — a budding superstar for the promotion’s new Spike TV era.

While Michael Chandler made his title defense with little resistance, reigning featherweight champion Pat Curran faced a much trickier test in Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. Their title fight (which led off the Spike TV broadcast) played out as a 25-minute kickboxing match, which started slow but built into an entertaining and evenly-pitched battle. Curran’s striking was just a little more active and accurate, however, and if you were judging on facial damage through the fight, Pitbull’s swollen-shut right eye and bloodied mouth didn’t exactly scream “winner.” When the scores were announced, “Judo” Gene LeBell saw it for the challenger, but the other two judges made the right call in awarding the win to the defending champ.

In addition to the two title fights, Bellator 85′s main card also featured a pair of light-heavyweight tournament quarterfinals. Unfortunately, those UFC castoffs we mentioned yesterday are well on their way to becoming Bellator castoffs as well, as Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Seth Petruzelli were steamrolled by their lesser-known competitors. Russian M-1 Challenge vet Mikhail Zayats stunned Sobral with a spinning-backfist near the end of the first round of their fight, then swarmed him to the canvas and fired down punches until the fight was stopped. (Eddie Alvarez’s wife called that shit, you guys.)

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Four Reasons Why You Should Watch Bellator’s Spike TV Debut Tonight


(Pat Curran, King Mo, and Michael Chandler — co-nominees in the “Best Kiss” category. / Photo via Getty Images)

Bellator’s eighth season kicks off tonight on Spike TV (10/9c), and now that the promotion has left Friday nights, you might even be thinking about watching the show. Here’s why that’s a good idea…

1. Michael Chandler is the second-greatest undefeated fighter in the world. Since winning Bellator’s lightweight title from Eddie Alvarez in November 2011, Chandler has competed exactly once — a 56-second TKO of Akihiro Gono in a non-title mismatch last May. Now carrying a perfect record of 10-0, Chandler is once again facing a legit challenge in the form of Rick Hawn, the former Olympic judoka and Bellator mainstay who dropped down from welterweight last year and swept the Season 6 Lightweight Tournament.

2. Pat Curran is also an entertaining son-of-a-bitch. Undefeated at 145 pounds, Curran also competed just once last year, when he very nearly ended Joe Warren’s life to win Bellator’s featherweight title. We’ve been itching to see him back in the game, and he’ll be leading off tonight’s Spike broadcast with a belt-defense against Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. Speaking of guys who have been sidelined for a while, Pitbull hasn’t been in the cage since he won the Season Four Featherweight Tournament in 2011, partly due to a broken hand suffered in training last year.

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Bellator Confirms Stacked Lineup for Jan. 17 Spike TV Premiere, Debut Date for King Mo and ‘Babalu’

Bellator’s first event on Spike TV will take place Thursday, January 17th, at the University of California’s Bren Center in Irvine, California, and will be headlined by a pair of title fights. The promotion confirmed the news today, revealing that undefeated phenom Michael Chandler will make his first official lightweight title defense at the event (aka Bellator 85) against Rick Hawn, the 14-1 Olympic judoka who won the Season 5 lightweight tournament earlier this year.

Also on the card, featherweight champion Pat Curran — who’s 4-0 since dropping to 145 and is coming off his near-murder of Joe Warren — will be putting his belt on the line against explosive contender Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. Though Freire won all three of his fights in 2011, winning the Season 4 featherweight tournament, he wasn’t able to compete in 2012, partly due to injuries.

And that’s not all. During a Bellator/Spike TV conference call held earlier today, many more details about Bellator 85 and the promotion’s upcoming eighth season were announced. For instance…

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Report: Bellator’s Spike TV Debut Targeted for January 10th in Atlantic City [UPDATE: OR IS IT??]


(Taffer my good man, you finally have some competition.)

In its seven-season history, Bellator’s events have bounced from Friday nights to Thursdays, to Saturdays, and back to Fridays again. That, coupled with the promotion’s changes in cable partners (anybody remember the ESPN Deportes days?) and its traveling-circus approach to event scheduling, may have worked against the organization gaining a foothold in the market over the years.

Luckily, Bellator’s impending Spike TV deal will give its events a sharp boost in exposure — and they’ll no longer be shown on a night that translates into guaranteed death for viewership numbers. MMAJunkie is reporting that Bellator’s first event of the Spike era is slated for Thursday, January 10th, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. As Junkie wrote, the event will serve as Bellator 85, and will air on Spike TV following TNA Impact Wrestling.

Switching to Thursday nights can only be a good thing for Bellator, which has averaged just 168,700 viewers per broadcast this season on MTV2. Coincidentally, the UFC may be moving their own Friday-night cable show — The Ultimate Fighter — to a different night as well. Although Jon Jones’s manager Malki Kawa and UFC president Dana White both claimed recently that TUF was moving back to Wednesdays, FX’s Vice President of Media Relations told MMAFighting that such a move was “highly unlikely,” adding: “FX has not announced the official date or night that the next installment of TUF will air…The official announcement will be coming in the next two or three weeks.”

Bellator 85 will feature the winners of Spike TV’s “Vote for the Fight” fan poll — we already submitted a write-in vote for War Machine vs. Mika Tan’s Ex-Boyfriend II — but no matchups have been formally announced yet.

Update: The story just took a weird turn — now an unnamed Spike TV exec is saying that Bellator’s Thursday-night move isn’t official yet: “We are still deciding a few options, still looking at staying on Fridays or moving to the old TUF slot on Wednesdays.” Basically, the cable networks are playing a game of scheduling chicken. MMAFighting’s Dave Meltzer explains after the jump…

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