Bellator is set to return with their 9th season, as Bellator 98 is set for September 7th, followed quickly by Bellator 99 on 9/13 and weekly shows building up to the November PPV. Both of the events have suffered injuries to the main card, as Doug Marshall is out of his title fight with champion Alexander Shlemenko, replaced by Brett Cooper at ’98, and the ’99 event will see UFC veteran Houston Alexander step in for the injured Christian M’Pumbu to face Vladimir Matyushenko. Let’s take a look.
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Not that the original matches were big on name recognition or loaded with talent. But when Marshall, who won the Season 8 middleweight tournament to earn the title shot, is replaced by the guy he beat, well that is a less than optimal situation any way you look at it. Marshall was going to be an underdog against Shlemenko, now look for Cooper to leave the Champion heavily favored in the bout.
The Bellator 99 match between Matyushenko and Alexander really doesn’t make any sense at all. Former Champion Christian M’Pumbu is out, but bringing in a pair of discarded UFC veterans for a match really shows that Bellator has a lot of work to do in the weight Light Heavyweight class. It is not inconceivable that the winner of this match could be the next bout for the winner of Quinton Jackson -Tito Ortiz. This is how bad the roster is from top to bottom. After nearly 100 shows, Bellator has a few odd pieces, but they do not approach the talent level of many now defunct MMA organizations.
It is hard to see how presenting maudlin, average cards on TV will lead people to pay for a PPV offering in November. The main big question to be answered is where will the price be set for a Bellator PPV? Because with the paper thin roster, their product is simply not worth $55 or $60 bucks like a UFC product is. The PPV is an Eddie Alvarez or Michael Chandler injury away from being a $7.99 special.