Bellator MMA debuts on Spike TV
Bellator 85 debuted on Spike TV last night after broadcasting their recent shows on MTV2 (viacom). The show was strong and the ratings were huge for the company. It is being reported the numbers tripled in viewers (938,000).
The first fight featured Pat Curran defending his featherweight title against Patricio "Pitbull" Freire. Curran utilized his jab and beat Pitbull to the punch. The fight started out slowly with a rather long feeling out process. And then Curran just controlled the stand-up for most of the 5 rounds. There were hardly any take down attempts and Curran stuffed Pitbull when he did try. I was rather stunned by the judges’ decision. Curran won via split decision which has been deemed 'controversial.' However, with the exception of a few exchanges, Curran dominated. I'm perplexed that one judge thought Pitbull won the fight. I scored the fight 49-46 Curran.
The second fight is where the UFC fan can laugh and claim Bellator is the minor leagues or just a place where UFC rejects go to die. Former UFC Light Heavyweight contender Renato “Babalu” Sobral was brought in along with former Strikeforce fighter King Mo Lawal to help solidify their Light Heavyweight division. Babulu is clearly years removed from his prime and is just hanging on, trying to recapture anything to make himself relevant again. His opponent was Mikhail Zayats, a guy I never heard of. However, based on how little I think of Babalu these days, I thought Zayats could pull the "upset." In the first round Zayats connected with a nice spinning back fist and seconds later referee Jon McCarthy had to step in and stop the fight. I think the time now now for Babalu to retire.
The next fight featured lightweight champion Michael Chandler defending against 2004 Olympian Rick Hawn. Hawn known for his insane Judo and great standup; Chandler is known for his wrestling and shocking upset win over former champion and top 10 lightweight Eddie Alavarez.
Chandler won via rear naked choke in the second round. Hawn was unable to do any damage in the standup game or with his Judo throws. Chandler controlled him with his wrestling. I thought Hawn displayed rudimentary jiu-jitsu in defending the choke. I was shocked by how easily Chandler took his back and got the hooks in. I think even the announce team didn't realize how fast it happened. Hawn didn't tuck his chin or do much of anything to show resistance.
I'm still not sure how the title fight wasn't the main event, but in the final fight Jacob Noe defeated former UFC and Elite XC fighter Seth Petruzelli. Petruzelli became a household name after destroying Kimbo Slice. However, in this fight it was all Noe. The fight ended via TKO in the first round. Petruzelli claimed after the fight he had torn his PCL and a sprained MCL in training, that later tore during the fight with Noe.
Good start for Bellator on Spike. Check it out next Thursday at 10pm on Spike TV.