MMA Fighter Challenges People to Punch Him in the Face, Everyone Fails

Tag: Vitaly Minakov

Bellator 115 Results: Vitaly Minakov Bests Cheick Kongo, Retains Bellator Heavyweight Title


(At least it’s better than the UFC Fight Night 39 poster…)

Cheick Kongo failed to capture Vitaly Minakov’s Bellator heavyweight title at Bellator 115. The main event was, essentially, the only noteworthy fight on the card. It didn’t start out this way though. A welterweight tournament semfinal was supposed to take place as well, but Andrey Koreshkov succumbed to the flu. His fight against Sam Oropeza will be rescheduled.

A middleweight tournament semifinal bout was canceled as well. Jeremy Kimball couldn’t make weight against Dan Cramer.  Not surprisingly, Bellator wasn’t able to salvage the card on such short notice. What we got was a patchwork card filled with one-off “feature fights” that meant nothing. In case you’re still interested, we’ve recapped it for you:

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Heart & Soul of MMA: Said Hatim, And The Virtue of Staying Ready


Said Hatim (center) cuts weight on a treadmill in Minsk, Belarus this week with student Andrei Arlovski (right) and coach Dino Costeas (left) | Photos via HatimStyle

By Elias Cepeda

MMA has come quite far in the past decade but very few fighters are featured on national television, sponsored by big companies and able to focus 100% of their energy on the sport. Many more put in the blood, sweat and tears without the bright lights or big bucks, filled with and fueled by love and an inexplicable drive to simply be a better fighter.

They hold down full-time jobs, have families and are known only to those truly in the know. They are the heart and soul of MMA.

Said Hatim is one such fighter.

The idea was initially proposed half-heartedly. Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski had recently booked his next fight — a main event contest on the Battle in Minsk card in his home of Belarus on Nov. 29 — and jokingly asked his Muay Thai coach Said Hatim if he also wanted to fight on the card.

Said was a pro kickboxer and boxer for years and has coached and trained with high level fighters like boxer Mike Mollo, UFC veteran Clay Guida, top Bellator featherweight Mike Corey and TUF veteran Mark Miller but his lone, albeit successful, MMA fight had taken place five years ago. Since that time, Hatim has focused on coaching and submission grappling tournaments.

Sure, he’d make the trip to Europe with Arlovski to be in his corner as he usually does, but Hatim was now 38 years old and half a decade removed from his last fight. “The Pitbull” was suggesting that Hatim add to his coaching responsibilities on fight night with his own contest against a much younger competitor. Said didn’t hesitate.

“Andrei told me that he was fighting in a main event November 29 and asked me, ‘Oh, do you want to fight too?,’” Hatim recounts to CagePotato.

“We were joking like that. I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll fight.’”

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Bellator 108 Recap: Rampage Finishes Beltran at the Bell, Minakov Becomes Bellator Heavyweight Champ


(Rampage intimidates Beltran while Bjorn Rebney continues to do his best Dana White impression. / Image via Sherdog)

Bellator 108 had the potential to be a disaster for the perennial runner-up promotion, but it wasn’t. All of the main card fights were exciting, first-round finishes. And, most importantly, the right guy won the main event.

Here’s the event recap, from bottom to top:

On the prelims, Bellator’s 6’6″ English light heavyweight prospect Liam McGeary advanced to 6-0. He’s raw but, from what we’ve seen so far, also quite talented and diverse. If he were in the UFC, there’d be dozens of “Is Liam McGeary the man to beat Jones in 2014?” articles written by now.

UFC and strikeforce veteran Nah-Shon Burrell won a forgettable unanimous decision against a guy named Jesus Martinez who also had a Jesus tattoo. Awesome.

Two other UFC vets were featured on the prelims: Tom DeBlass and Jason Lambert. The fight between them was short. DeBlass scored a walk-off KO with a devastating hook early in the first round.

The main card started with the featherweight tournament final between Bellator mainstray Patricio “Pitbull” Freire vs. Justin Wilcox. Pitbull finished Wilcox in the first round in largely uncompetitive fight. Every one of Freire’s frequently-landed punches seemed to rock Wilcox, who eventually succumbed to the Brazilian’s flurries. This was the second time Freire has won the Bellator featherweight tournament.

Read on to learn about the specifics of Rampage’s victory as well as of the Bellator heavyweight title fight.

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Bellator Was Just Kidding About Giving Rampage vs. Beltran Top Billing Over Shlemenko vs. Marshall


(Two unrelated Bellator stories on the same day? Tell us how you feel, Mugatu.)

When Quinton Jackson vs. Joey Beltran was announced as the main event of Bellator 108 (November 15th, Atlantic City), we couldn’t help but roll our eyes. Not only does Jackson/Beltran have the potential to be a sloppy, gassy brawl, it’s kind of a slap in the face to Alexander Shlemenko and Doug “The Rhino” Marshall, who were scheduled to face off in a middleweight title fight that same night. Keep in mind, Shlemenko is one of the most exciting and successful competitors in Bellator’s history, and Marshall has “Comeback MMA Fighter of 2013″ locked up if he manages to win this one — and yet they’ll be playing second fiddle to a couple of one-dimensional UFC refugees? Doesn’t seem fair to us.

Luckily, Bellator seems to have heard these complaints, because they just did a little flip-flopping with their event schedule. As confirmed by the promotion today, Shlemenko vs. Marshall will be pushed back one week so it can headline Bellator 109 (November 22nd; Bethlehem, PA), while the heavyweight title fight between Alexander Volkov and Vitaly Minakov has now been moved up from the main event of Bellator 109 to the co-main event of Bellator 108.

In other words, Rampage vs. Beltran will still be main-eventing over a title fight, but now it’s a title fight between two Russian dudes who you probably don’t care about. Plus, Rampage will likely be pulling out of his fight with an injury next week anyway. So good work, Bellator, you guys are on a roll lately. The full fight lineups for Bellator 108 and 109 are after the jump…

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Bellator 96 Recap: King Mo and War Machine Score First-Round Wins, Babalu Sobral Announces Retirement Following Loss


(Like I said, betting money on Petruzelli would be a *terrible* idea. / Photo via Facebook.com/BellatorMMA)

Bellator’s 2013 Summer Series kicked off last night in Thackerville, Oklahoma — population: 404 — with the semifinals of the promotion’s latest light-heavyweight and heavyweight tournaments. The televised card was an overall success, featuring fast action, brutal stoppages, and much-needed wins for a pair of marquee names. But it didn’t go well for everybody. Here are the important points…

War Machine Is Back in General Population
In a non-tournament bout that opened the broadcast, charmingly outspoken welterweight War Machine returned to competition for the first time since his latest stint in jail, facing journeyman Blas Avena. Machine appeared to be in fine form, putting Avena on his back in the second half of the opening round, trapping his arm, and slugging Avena with left hands until the match was stopped at the 3:55 mark. Random thought: War really needs to be a coach on season 2 of Fight Master. You want drama? There’s your drama.

Heavyweights Gonna Heavyweight
Both of the heavyweight tournament semi-finals resulted in gnarly first-round knockouts. During the prelims, Ryan Martinez — who came in as a short-notice replacement for the injured Vinicius Queiroz — slugged out Richard Hale with punches from the top. And on the main card, undefeated Russian prospect Vitaly Minakov needed just 32 seconds to beat the crap out of Ron Sparks. Minakov is now 11-0, with six of those wins coming in the first minute of the fight. He and Martinez will now face each other at Bellator 97, July 31st in Albuquerque.

Farewell, Sweet Babalu

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