20 Jun 2013 06:50:07 AM
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.
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