Last night, Bellator 75 went down in Hammond, Indiana featuring the start of their heavyweight tournament for their seventh season. The tournament field was less than impressive, but they got off all 4 starter matches, and even had a few good highlight moments. There were some surprises, and some sloppy MMA once again as well, so let’s take a look at the good and the bad.
Big Mark Holata dropped Brazilian Vinicius Kappke de Queiroz, but the big Brazilian stayed composed and won via armbar. Queiroz has already washed out of the UFC and owns a suspension for steroids.
Richard Hale made short work of another UFC re-tread in Mike Wessell. He unleashed a flurry of punches that had the referee stepping in less than 90 seconds into the bout.
Bellator’s big signing for the tournament was STRIKEFORCE veteran Brett Rogers, who has been on a down slide that combines bad fighting with problems outside the ring. he faced off against unknown Russian Alexander Volkov, who proceeded to pick Rogers apart through three rounds on his way to a unanimous decision. Rogers was out of shape, and had no inkling how to get to the ground against a polished striker, so he had no choice but to stand in and take a beating.
The last bout of the tournament was the Eric Prindle versus Thiago Santos redux. Unfortunately for Bellator, these two men cannot stop attacking each other’s groins. An earlier match was called off when Santos struck Prindle in the cojones, and subsequent rematches were called off due to various injuries and Santos inability to make weight.
Well Santos, known as the ‘Big Monster’ was called an ‘elite’ heavyweight by Bellator President Bjorn Rebney, but nothing could be farther from the truth. He got an early takedown, yet was not able to finish Prindle on several submission attempts. He looked sloppy and appeared to be gassing. Prindle overcame a mount and was back on his feet when he drove an axe kick into Santos’ groin. The referee called for a DQ and Santos advances.
It will be interesting to see how the brackets are made, but I would like to see Hale versus Volkov in a match between two of the better guys in the tournament. That leaves Santos and Quieroz – let the two Brazilians slug it out. More on this tournament to come….