Last night, Bellator 108 came to us from the Revel in Atlantic City with another of their season 9 cards. This one featured the Bellator debut of Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, who scored the KO over Joey Beltran at the close of round 1. Also of note on the card was the passing of Bellator’s Heavyweight title, as Vitaly Minakov took out fellow Russian countryman Alexander Volkov.
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Jackson did his job in taking out Beltran, who was going to have to keep up the clinching to stay safe. A match-up for Jackson with Emmanuel Newton is probably the biggest fight the organization can make in the weight class. There is also King Mo, but after two losses to Newton, and both being pretty definitive, Mo needs a long rehab before getting back in the title picture. Champion Attila Vegh vs Newton would consolidate the belt if they met, as Newton has an interim title, setting the winner up for Rampage. Bellator needs to work to get ‘Rampage’ back in the cage as soon as possible.
Bellator deserves credit for improving their Heavyweight division. Alexander Volkov was given the belt after winning a tournament and their champion retired, but Volkov has proven to be a tough customer, and an exciting fighter. In Minakov, Bellator may have themselves a real find. He is a multiple time world sambo champion, and he comes with the precise, cold-hearted attack that reminds people of the best Russian fighters we have seen.
Minakov’s next opponent is set, as UFC veteran Cheick Kongo won the season 9 Heavyweight tournament for Bellator, earning the next title shot. Kongo has proven himself to be serviceable in his Bellator stint, though he has not been spectacular. Look for Minakov, who remains undefeated at 13-0, to be favored in this match-up with Kongo when the lines hit the sport books.
Also on the card, Featherweight Patricio Freire took out Justin Wilcox in the finals of the season 9 tournament. Freiere closed out Wilcox with punches, earning a shot at Daniel Strauss in a match that figurres to have a near pick ‘em line.