This past Thursday night, Bellator kicked off their 8th season and their first on the SPIKETV network with Bellator 85 coming out of Anaheim, California. Bellator’s Lightweight and Featherweight title holders Michael Chandler and Pat Curranput on a show in their title defenses, and almost 1 million viewers are reported to have watched the event. Also significant was the start of the company’s Light Heavyweight tournament, which may already be running into issues. Let’s take a look…
Lightweight champion Michael Chandler emphatically defended his title by taking out Olympic judoka Rick Hawn in the second round. It was a standout performance for the champion, and it is unclear what is next for him.
Bellator goes to court on the 25th of January in their lawsuit against former champion Eddie Alvarez, who is counter suing and wants to accept a UFC offer. Obviously if bellator retainss Alvarez the rematch is next, however it is unclear what Bellator has in store for Chandler otherwise.
In the featherweight division, Pat Curran prevailed in a five round fire fight with Patricio Freire in a bout that the judges saw as a split decision. A rematch down the line may be a certainty.
Both Curran and Chandler earned 6 month suspensions for foot injuries, but would be eligible to compete sooner if cleared by a doctor.
The Light heavyweight tournament for season 8 also kicked off, and the tournament is in chaos already. One of the favorites to reach the finals, veteran Renato ‘Babalu’ Sobral bowed out to Mikhail Zayats by TKO. Seth Petruzelli was taken out by Jacob Noe, but Noe suffered a possible orbital bone fracture. If that is the case, noe will not be able to continue in the tournament. ‘Babalu’ and Petruzelli are not options either, as both men were TKO’d and are suspended for 30 days.
Jason Lambert also advanced in the tournament, and Bellator 86 will feature ‘King Mo‘ taking on Przemyslaw Mysiala for the last quarter final spot.
Just to mention, the cross promotions that Bellator have been doing continued. The broadcast was preceded by the TnA Impact Wrestling show, and there was a brief mention of ‘Babalu’ on the show hyping Bellator, but I cannot say it was effective.
With Sobral out, the odds on favorite to win the tournament is ‘King Mo’ however the russian Zayats brings fists and aggression, and Lambert is a serviceable veteran who at 35 must see this as his last hurrah. Who the 4th member of the semi finals will be at this point is anybody’s guess.