(Michael Page vs. Ryan Sanders — strong front-runner for Phantom Punch of 2013. Props: videosei.)
Despite losing some of its star power due toinjuries, last night’s Bellator 93 event in Lewiston, Maine, turned out to be a mostly-satisfying affair, with eight of the ten scheduled matches ending within the first-round, and three ending within the first 20 seconds. But two unfortunate moments cast a shadow on the event.
First off, Michael Page‘s hotly-anticipated Bellator debut ended with a 10-second KO victory over Ryan Sanders, as the flashy British striker caught Sanders with a straight right as his victim was charging in…or so it seemed. Upon closer inspection, there was something a little fishy about the stoppage. Watch the replays in the video above, and you’ll see that Page either barely touched Sanders, or didn’t touch him at all. At any rate, the strike didn’t seem to justify the reaction of Sanders, who immediately flopped to the mat, clutching his head in agony. He was back on his feet moments later, looking somewhat disappointed. We’re not going to accuse Bellator of some vast conspiracy; it’s more likely that Sanders simply didn’t want to be there. And unfortunately, he may have robbed us of the opportunity to see Page produce another classic no-walk-off knockout.
Speaking of let-downs, the guaranteed barnburner between Marcus Davis vs. Waachiim Spiritwolf ended in a no-contest in the first round, after Davis nailed Spiritwolf with a knee to the groin; Spiritwolf couldn’t continue after the foul. (Sound familiar?) Though the Lewiston crowd chanted “Bullshit!” and booed Spiritwolf in an apparent indictment of his bitchassness, there was nothing fake about that low-blow. Check out the GIF below, via BloodyElbow…
Since switching to the “Thursday Night Fights” format, Bellator has been consistently cranking out high quality fight cards that often compensate for their lack of name value with exciting finishes and entertaining brawls to boot. Then again, with all of their biggest starts consistently underperforming, Bellator’s cards often live and die by the performances of their lesser known fighters. Tonight’s Bellator 93 card is no different, featuring a slew of relative unknowns and up-and-comers that are all but guaranteed to deliver in terms of entertainment. Here’s why you should be watching when they do…
1. Michael. F’in. Page.
Despite his short time in the sport, Michael “Venom” Page might just be the most hyped fighter currently outside of the UFC. At just 3-0, the British phenom has already drawn comparisons to Jimi Manuwa and even Anderson Silva for his flashy yet devastating style of striking. Just check out the above video of Page clowning Ben Dishman in his professional debut (fight starts at the 3 minute mark) and tell us that the sky isn’t the limit for this kid. On the heels of a doctor stoppage TKO victory at Super Fight League 7, Page will be taking on relative unknown Ryan Sanders, who has dropped three of his past four fights. Yeah, this is not going to end well for him. But it probably will for fans of horrifying knockouts.
But first, let’s go over the tournament bouts. In the evening’s main event, judo black belt Karl Amoussou made quick work of Jackson MMA’s Bryan “The Beast” Baker. After an early accidental eye poke from Baker, the two traded blows throughout the opening frame. Then, after a failed Super KickTM from Baker, Amoussou locked in a nasty heel hook that earned the submission just fifty six seconds into the bout. Seriously, that’s how this one ended. Take a look:
Just look at these two–like a couple of wild dogs you can’t keep apart.
With two bouts and two unsatisfying stoppages already under their belts, Waachiim Spiritwolf and Marius Zaromskis are slated to once more climb into a cage and go through the motions of fighting before a freak injury leaves the viewing audience with a massive case of blue balls.
The pair first locked horns at Strikeforce Challengers 12, where an inadvertent eyepoke just seconds into the fight left Spiritwolf unable to continue. The duo reloaded and clashed once more a few weeks back at Bellator 68, where cageside doctors would call a halt to the bout between the second and third frames due to a cut between Spiritwolf’s eyebrows.
With one ‘No Contest’ and one questionable tally in the win column for Zaromskis, Spiritwolf will have his chance to settle the score on July 20th at Bellator 72.
After the jump, season six Welterweight tournament finalists will tie up loose ends as well…
The fighters in Bellator may not get the same respect and acclaim as their Zuffa-based brethren, but at least they have video evidence to back up their wild fight stories. Season six of our favorite Friday night fights marched on last night, and here’s how it all went down.
The rematch between Waachiim Spiritwolf and Marius Zaromskis was far more eventful than their initial clash, though the ending was just as unsatisfying. After spending the opening minutes pressed against the cage, Zaromskis took advantage of the space created by a ‘Tan’ Dan Miragliotta break to land a backward elbow that opened a small vertical cut between Spiritwolf’s brows. The Native American responded with a slam, but Zaromskis was immediately back to his feet. The pair spent the remainder of the round tightly clinched with Spiritwolf working very hard for short-lived takedowns. Round two looked less promising for Waachiim, who had missed weight the day before. He showed signs of fatigue early on and had trouble finding the clinch at the end of his lunging punches. Zaromskis backed him up with a series of knees and kicks to the head, but a bloodied Spiritwolf responded with a torrent of heavy hands that forced the wobbled Lithuanian to retreat. Spritwolf downed him with another punch and closed out the final two minutes of the frame on top, trying to land finishing blows through Zaromskis tight defense.
Unfortunately, the battle would end on the stools and not the canvas…
Fresh off of his upset victory over then top ranked flyweight Jussier da Silva, “Uncle Creepy” Ian McCall returned to action last night against Nashville prospect Dustin Ortiz. Before dropping to flyweight, Uncle Creepy compiled an 8-2 record as a bantamweight. You may remember him from his brief stint with the WEC, where he went 1-2 in three fights, including a unanimous decision loss to Dominick Cruz at WEC 38. Last night McCall dominated the entire fight, showboating to the crowd throughout the third round on his way to a unanimous decision win. The victory likely propels him to a flyweight title fight against Darrell Montague.
Yes, this was a lazy choice for the leading picture. Suck it, Trebek.
Sometimes when major news breaks, there’s news that falls through the cracks. So while everyone and their brother is talking about middle eastern uprisings, Japanese earthquakes and #tigerblood, can we point out that we’re watching two major MMA organizations initiate their melodramatic death scenes? If you had Dream/FEG in your office MMA org death pool, well, we compliment your good sense, and sympathize with your loss.
Anyways, with yesterday’s seismic changes in the MMA scene (and if you believe the “business as usual” line, we have a used space shuttle to sell you), it’s possible you forgot about Bellator XXXVI. This was the kind of show that Bellator built its rep on: an eclectic mix of journeymen and young prospects competing in a field in which your predictions are about as solid as a coin toss, seasoned with the best undercard fights to round out the show. Bellator continues to stay on the cutting edge of free agent acquisition, and the tournaments are only becoming more compelling. If you DVR’d the Louisiana show last night, go watch it right now. Don’t worry, we’ll wait. If you can’t, you missed a solid card. Of the seven fights last night, exactly zero went to decision, although the much-requested Spiritwolf-Jara bloodbath from last week did actually make it to the judges. Come on in and we’ll tell you about it, without rubbing it in too much.
“I’m just saying that teachers should stop being so greedy, make some sacrifices for the common good. I mean really, full dental? That just seems like–hey, why are you guys looking at me like that?” -Lyman Good, on the state of the economy.
Bellator Fighting Championships premiered last night on MTV2 with its first broadcast of the fourth season with the full quarterfinal lineup in the welterweight division, aiming to come in like a lion on the new network. Bellator’s welterweights are possibly the most talented weight class for BFC, and the matchups looked to be pure dynamite, at least on paper. Well, the field is narrowed down to the four semifinalists, with one upset, one awkward stoppage, and an undercard fight that stole the show from everyone. Curious?
Well, of course you’re curious–you watched that other promotion’s show last night, and you have no idea what happened. Lyman “Cyborg” Good could’ve changed his name to Cyrax and developed a Fatality, and you’d be none the wiser because some old guy was fighting some Brazilian guy for some belt that no one can hold onto. Whatevs, brah. I’ll fill you in this time, but you may want to tune in for Bellator XXXVI. I hear Johnny Cage is showing up.
Without question, the most memorable part of Friday night’s Strikeforce Challengers 12 broadcast came not from the fights, but during an unexpected television appearance by Strikeforce rules director Cory Schafer. After the tepidly anticipated bout between Marius Zaromskis and Waachiim Spiritwolf was declared a no contest when Zaromskis opened the first round with a flying finger to Spiritwolf’s eyeball, Schafer didn’t just afford himself well during his 30 seconds on camera with Mauro Ranallo, he owned it. In fact, immediately following five minutes of the Strikeforce announce team bitching about how no one understands the rules of MMA, Schafer gave the impression that he’d been waiting his whole life to come on TV and tell us all – especially Mauro – off about it. Also, Strikeforce has a rules director. Who knew?
In all our excitement for Rampage vs. Machida, we haven’t really put much effort into covering the *other* event this weekend — Strikeforce Challengers: Wilcox vs. Ribeiro, which goes down tomorrow night at the Jackson Convention Complex in Jackson, Mississippi. The main card will be broadcast live on Showtime beginning at 11 p.m. ET. But should you actually take the time to watch it? Consult the flowchart below and find out. For the vision-impaired, there’s a larger version right here.