Bellator return from their mid season week off with a strange card, which was meant to feature this season’s welterweight tournament final but instead features last season’s lightweight tournament final, with both bouts being delayed from their intended fulfilment by injury.
Sometimes, in combat sports, something as simple as a tournament can get awfy complicated.
Anyways, that delayed tournament final to see who wins the honour of being next to be beaten up by Michael Chandler will be played out between Dave Jansen (18-2) who beat Ricardo Tirloni and Magomed Saadulaev to qualify for the final, and the much younger Marcin Held (15-2) who took out veteran Rich Clementi and Murad Machaev to get this far.
Both of these guys have very good submission games and good records, especially in Bellator where they combine to 9-1 with the sole loss being Held to Chandler in the young Pole’s US debut.
Jansen’s only losses came in the WEC to Kamal Shalorus and Ricardo Lamas and as such, I’m loathe to bet against him, but I’ve got a feeling that Held is a fighter on the rise and not to be denied his rematch with Chandler.
Filling up the rest of the main card is an… interesting mix of matches, with the biggest (literally) pitting heavyweights Travis Wiuff (68-16, 1NC) and Ryan Martinez (8-2) in a somewhat lopsided looking contest.
Wiuff has the edge in experience, (by a hefty margin of 75 bouts) and holding wins of the likes of Jeff Monson, Christian M’Pumbu, Chris Tuscherer and Ricco Rodriguez he’s competed at a far higher level than Martinez.
However, Wiuff is also coming off two successive losses for his worst run since 2006 and perhaps the miles on the clock are starting to show…
We were to get another match between supposedly hard hitting heavyweights Brett Rogers and Eric Prindle but that has been canned due to an injury to Prindle.
I can’t imagine how the MMA world will cope with the loss of a bout between a wife beater and a guy who blows his shot at a title with a deliberate kick to the nuts.
Aside from the main event, the featured match in the card stars UFC veteran Marcus Davis (21-9) facing off against a game warhorse in the shape of Waachiim Spiritwolf (9-11-1, 1NC) but that surely has more to do with Davis being a familiar face from his UFC days and is also a local Maine lad, seeing as its between two ageing fighters who have lost eleven of their last twenty combined fights.
I don’t mean to disrespect fight veterans like Davis or Spiritwolf, but their bout and Rogers vs. Prindle has no business being scheduled on the main card of a halfway credible, nationally televised MMA event in 2013.
Bellator’s gimmick is credibility, with a secondary selling point of seeing tomorrow’s talent, today and having half the main card filled with fighters who are the wrong side of 30 and have a losing recent record is hardly going to scare the UFC a great deal.
I’m much more interested in one of the undercard bouts, as British striking sensation Michael Page (3-0) makes his US debut against fellow Bellator newbie Ryan Sanders (4-3) who has spent his career so far in the local scene in New England.
Hey, is it wrong that I’m more interested in how a highly touted British prospect does in his first stateside bout, rather than watching some pretty stodgy heavyweights and ageing welterweights?
In any case, the point is moot as despite platitudes to the contrary, Bellator continue to have NO provision for international fans, setting them behind World Series of Fights, Invicta, Cage Warriors, BAMMA and probably a fair few more in terms of being made to seem small time.
Close to challenging the UFC? Not based on current offerings…
MAIN (Spike TV, 10 p.m. ET)
• Marcin Held vs. Dave Jansen – lightweight tourney final
• Ryan Martinez vs. Travis Wiuff
• Marcus Davis vs. Waachiim Spiritwolf
PRELIMINARY (Spike.com, 8 p.m. ET)
• Vince Murdock vs. John Raio
• Michael Page vs. Ryan Sanders
• Brett Dillingham vs. Mike Mucitelli
• Luc Bondole vs. Joe Pacheco
• Jason Butcher vs. Jack Hermansson
• Jesse Peterson vs. Dave Vitkay
• Jesse Erickson vs. Jon Lemke