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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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