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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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Bustamante, Leites, Rizzo, Pulver, Goes and Lambert Slated to Compete on August 14 Hybrid MMA-Boxing Card in San Diego

CagePotato.com has been able to confirm with a source close to the show the participation of several former UFC and PRIDE veterans in an August 14 hybrid boxing and MMA card in San Diego, California.

War on the Mainland’s self-titled event will take place at the San Diego Sports Arena and will feature Murilo Bustamante, Thales Leites, Alan Goes,  Pedro Rizzo, Jens Pulver and Jason Lambert among others. Rizzo was originally scheduled to take on former UFC heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia for the WOTM heavyweight title, but is currently waiting on another opponent as Sylvia injured his foot in his May 21 Moosin bout with Mariusz "The World’s Strongest Man" Pudzianowski.

According to the poster for the event, there will be two more "MMA title fights" on the card, but the weight classes and bout participants have yet to be announced.

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And Now He’s Fired: Jason Lambert

Jason Lambert UFC MMA
(Jason Lambert, post-mastectomy. Photo courtesy of MMA Weekly.)

In addition to the 5,500 jobs that automaker GM cut last week, struggling light-heavyweight-turned-middleweight Jason Lambert has also joined the growing ranks of the unemployed in America. FiveOuncesofPain confirms that The Punisher — who had been knocked out twice and choked out once in his last three Octagon appearances — has been officially cut by the UFC.

Lambert began his UFC career on an impressive 4-1 tear, earning stoppage wins over Rob MacDonald (at his UFC debut in March 2006), Terry Martin, and Branden Lee Hinkle, and scoring an upset knockout of Renato Sobral at UFC 68; his sole loss during that time came via TKO at the fists of Rashad Evans. But then things started to go south. His occasionally lazy boxing got him smoked by Wilson Gouveia at UFC 80, and again by Luis Cane at UFC 85. Most recently, he made his middleweight debut at UFC 88 in September and succumbed to a rear-naked choke from Jason MacDonald.

Tough break, but that’s what happens when you drop three straight (unless you’re Houston Alexander, of course). We’re guessing that Josh Burkman will be getting his walking papers next; the People’s Warrior has been defeated consecutively by Mike Swick, Dustin Hazelett, and Pete Sell, and is now out-of-action indefinitely with a back injury.

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UFC 88: The Highlights


(Chuck Liddell vs. Rashad Evans)


(Nate Marquardt vs. Martin Kampmann)


(Dan Henderson vs. Rousimar Palhares)

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Quick Hits: MacDonald in for Day at UFC 88, ATT Shakeup, and More


(“The Athlete” is ready to get back after it.)

- Jason “Dooms” Day has been forced to pull out of his UFC 88 bout with fattie-turned-middleweight Jason Lambert because of a biceps injury, but those of you who are fans of seeing Lambert’s man-boobs in the Octagon needn’t worry. Jason “The Athlete” MacDonald is stepping in as a replacement for Day, despite the fact that he just went three rounds in a losing effort against Demian Maia at UFC 87. Good move for MacDonald. If you can’t win ‘em all, the next best way to keep the UFC happy is to fight ‘em all, especially when called upon on short notice.

- Poor Nate Quarry just can’t catch a break. After coming back from a nearly career-ending back injury only to be forced to chase Kalib Starnes in circles, Quarry has now been sidelined with an eye injury that is strangely not related to fighting. Apparently Quarry was at a party where people were hitting golf balls into the woods — like you do, just for kicks — and he accidentally walked into someone’s backswing. Despite breaking the Orbital Floor bone in his eye, Quarry is not seriously hurt, though he will be kept out of action for at least a few more months.

- American Top Team coach Andrei Benkei is leaving the squad due to “ideological disagreements” with head coach Ricardo Liborio. Benkei told Tatame that he’ll still work with several high profile ATT fighters like Thiago Alves and “Bigfoot” Silva, among others, but it’s been reported that Benkei disapproved of the way Liborio was turning ATT into “a big McDonald’s” by selling its name to karate gyms. For shame, Ricardo. Karate gyms? That’s the MMA gym equivalent of giving hand jobs in the Wal-Mart parking lot. You never need money that badly.

- It’s not MMA news, but it’s worth mentioning: Sumo wrestling has been rocked by a drug scandal. A totally lame drug scandal. Russian Sumo wrestler (they exist?) Soslan Aleksandrovich Gagloev was arrested for possessing a third of a gram of weed. According to CNN, it’s “enough to land him in prison on a diet of forced labor for five years if he’s convicted.” Five years for a third of a gram in Japan? Nick Diaz should really be informed about that before returning to fight for Dream again.

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F*CKING FINALLY: Jason Lambert Dropping to Middleweight!

Jason Lambert UFC MMA
(Arianny’s feeling a little outgunned. Photo courtesy of UFC.com.)

It’s at least two fights overdue, but Jason Lambert is finally doing the right thing and dropping to 185 pounds for his next fight, which will take place at UFC 88 (September 6th, Atlanta) against Jason “Dooms” Day. Though he holds impressive wins against Terry Martin, Matt Horwich, Renato “Babalu” Sobral, and Dan Quinn, “The Punisher” has had it rough lately, suffering three KO/TKO losses in his last four fights; he was most recently outslugged by Luis Arthur Cane at UFC 85 in June. It seems likely that the drop to middleweight was a direct order from the UFC, and if he can’t make it happen at the lower weight, he’ll probably be kissing his contract goodbye. The situation is nearly as desperate for Day, who needs a solid win to prove himself after getting steamrolled by Michael Bisping, also at UFC 85.

Lambert’s interesting physique contributed to my most recent Rule of Fight Prediction: If there’s a flabby-looking guy fighting a jacked-looking guy, bet against the chubbo. Had I known this before UFC 85, I wouldn’t have thrown down on Lambert and Eddie Sanchez, and maybe I wouldn’t have had to spend an evening wearing a plastic tank top. (Note: the No Fatties Rule is often trumped by the Nelson Exception.)

Somewhat Related: DEEP Megaton GP Fight Videos

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UFC 85: Monday Morning Post-Mortem

Thiago Alves Matt Hughes UFC MMA
(“Boom! Another hit is landed…” The Pitbull mauls old-ass Matt Hughes. Photo courtesy of UFC.com.)

Now that the adrenaline has subsided, we can have a normal conversation. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about since Saturday afternoon…

— Matt Hughes carved out a legendary career without ever being a particularly dangerous striker. And good for him, but the young fighters coming up these days will not stand for that shit. There’s no way you can compete at an elite level anymore without a complete game. Hughes never had one, and it’s now been fully exposed. After Alves stuffed Hughes’s takedown attempts during their fight, the former champ had no more weapons left, and it was only a countdown until the inevitable. I’m interested in seeing Hughes settle his grudge match with Matt Serra; I’m not really interested in seeing Hughes continue to be tooled by other athletic and well-rounded members of the UFC’s welterweight division.

— Michael Bisping looked deadly once again. Obviously he’d be wrecked by Silva, Franklin, or Henderson (or Marquardt on a good day), but he’d have to be the favorite against any other middleweight in the UFC. I’d guess he’s two wins away from a title shot, and luckily for him, Anderson Silva might not be around by the time he gets there. (The chatter is that Silva may move up to light-heavyweight for a marquee fight, but it’s totally unsubstantiated at this point, so don’t get your hopes up.)

— I don’t care what Jason Lambert needs to do to get down to 185 — stomach stapling, breast reduction surgery, whatever — he just needs to get there. He also needs to understand that his boxing sucks; just like in his fight with Wilson Gouveia, Lambert’s wild and sloppy haymakers led to his own damn self getting knocked out against Luis Cane. I think the biggest lesson I learned from “Bedlam” was that if there’s a noticeably out-of-shape guy fighting a guy in great physical condition, don’t bet on the fatty. (See also: Eddie Sanchez.)

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UFC Now Accepting Apps for TUF 8

TUF8
(Seriously, click it.)

A new link on UFC.com (shown above) is soliciting applicants for the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter, which will apparently focus on the big boys and the wee ones. The link takes you to TUF‘s standard application; the deadline is just two weeks from now, so if you’re actually thinking about giving it a shot, get movin’. Or just sit on your ass and let life pass you by, either way.

In other Octagon news…

— Jason “The Punisher” Lambert will likely be returning to the cage at UFC 85 (June 7th, London) against Luis Arthur Cane. Both men are coming off of losses — Lambert due to an out-of-nowhere comeback knockout at the fists of Wilson Gouveia at UFC 80, and Cane due to an illegal-knee disqualification loss against James Irvin at UFC 79.

— Lanky TUF 6 weirdo Ben Saunders may be returning to the Octagon at UFC 86 (July 5th, Las Vegas, headlined by Rampage vs. Forrest). Saunders is 5-0-2 professionally, and has been training with the murderer’s row at American Top Team.

— Speaking of ATT fighters, Marcus Aurelio may actually be facing UFC newbie Ryan Roberts at UFN 13 rather than Jim Miller. Spencer Fisher is definitely still injured.

(Props: MMA Junkie)

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Fight of the Day: Jason Lambert vs. Renato Sobral

Jason “The Punisher” Lambert — who takes on Wilson Gouveia on Saturday night — hasn’t fought since UFC 68 (3/3/07), but he proved himself to be a fighter of incredible heart during that match. Lambert was in big trouble during the first round, as Renato “Babalu” Sobral took his back and tried to sink in one of his infamous choke holds. But Lambert was able to defend the submission attempts and escape, and rocked Sobral with a couple of big punches when the fight went standing. Energized by his near-death, Lambert came out bashing in the second round, working Sobral over with ground-and-pound until Big John McCarthy stood the fighters up — which turned out to be the end for Babalu.

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