Hollywood, Florida played host to Bellator Fighting Championships as a stacked Bellator 46 card kicked off the Season 5 Featherweight Tournament. “Kid Ninja” Ronnie Mann (20-2) and Adam Schindler (9-2) opened the night at the Seminole Hard Rock while the rest of the featherweights followed. Jacob Devree (10-2) and returning 145lbs. competitor Nazareno Malegarie (20-1) each had a statement to make to prove they have what it takes to be in Bellator. Former Sengoku Featherweight Champion Marlon Sandro (18-2) made his Bellator debut against fellow Brazilian Genair Da Silva (9-4). The main event and closing act of the night featured former lightweight title challenger Pat Curran (14-4) and Luis Palomino (16-7). It was a night of action that the fans have come to expect from Bellator, and the new Summer Series did not disappoint.
Adam Schindler vs. Ronnie Mann: Both men touch gloves in the center of the cage and right away they go to work. No feeling out process is needed as they start throwing heat. The men get into a slugfest and Schindler clinches Mann. Schindler is the bigger man in the cage and plans to use his size against Mann, but they separate and each throw high kicks; Schindler barely clips Mann’s face. Mann is staying calm and is keeping his crisp strikes coming while Schindler is going for several takedowns with Mann throwing him off each time. Schindler is eating a lot of punches and Mann’s crisp strikes are starting to pay off. As the round goes to the final minute, Mann finds his target. He drops Schindler with a solid left hook to the jaw then jumps on Schindler and pounds him out as the referee calls off the action and advances Ronnie Mann to the next round of the Tournament. Mann via KO, Round 1, 4:14
Jacob Devree vs. Nazareno Malegarie: A show of respect between both men and they start off fast. Malegarie shoots for a takedown and moves like lighting to slap on a Guillotine Choke. He has it in tight and isn’t giving up, but Devree has a lot of heart and finally escapes. Malegarie then goes for a Heel Hook as Devree tries to jump out of the guard but fails and after a lack of action they are stood up and go back at it, where Devree is working his striking. Malegarie is doing well and not eating a lot of shots but he clearly wants this fight on the ground again. Devree though is using combos to keep the Argentinian at bay. Malegarie gets a takedown and lands in full guard. Devree goes for a Kimura of his own but lets it go, and Malegarie shows his superior abilities on the mat as he sweeps and gets the back of Devree and looks for the choke but is stopped by the bell. A very entertaining and close round where a slight edge goes to Malegarie.
Round 2 starts out with both men going back to the striking game. After a few exchanges Malegarie gets a takedown but Devree uses his wrestling and is able to reverse the position. Malegarie doesn’t give up and gets another Guillotine Choke and Devree is fighting to survive. They roll around the mat and Malegarie lands in full mount and releases the choke. Now Devree is in trouble with the superior grappler on top, however instead of going for a submission Malegarie starts throwing hammerfists. Devree eats some punches but stays defensive and gets back to half guard. Malegarie is staying close and in control on the ground, but Devree isn’t going to sleep just yet. He finally bucks Malegarie off and gets back to his feet against the cage only to get slammed to the mat again. Malegarie goes for the Heel Hook but Devree gets away with only 15 seconds in the round. In the last seconds he fires off a diving punch that proves to be too late, as the damage is done and Malegarie wins another round.
It’s the third and final round and Malegarie still looks fresh and continues mixing things up. After a few strikes he takes Devree to the mat against the cage. The BJJ black belt peppers Devree with strikes to the body and Devree bucks him away. Malegarie reads him perfectly and slaps on another tight choke. This time, it’s too tight and Devree taps seconds later. Malegarie is fired up and with the win moves onto the Bellator Season 5 Featherweight Tournament Semi-Finals along with Ronnie Mann. Malegarie via Submission (Guillotine Choke), Round 3, 1:25
Marlon Sandro vs. Genair Da Silva: It’s Brazilian vs. Brazilian and former champion against underdog in this fight and both men are showing great footwork and striking abilities to start. Sandro has Da Silva backing up but Da Silva is staying busy with punches and leg kicks. Sandro seems to be focusing on his boxing more than kicks but lands a solid leg kick that throws Da Silva off balance. Da Silva is moving back-and-forth on his toes while Sandro is stalking his opponent. A big right hand from drops Da Silva and Sandro pounces and throws bombs. Da Silva is still alive and gets to his feet. The featherweight King of Pancrase goes for a choke but misses it and the two fight for position against the cage. After the surge of offense they separate to the center of the cage and Sandro goes back to stalking. Da Silva clips Sandro with a looping punch but Sandro comes right back at him. Da Silva continues to use the kicks as a primary weapon at keeping the powerful Sandro at bay. The round ends with Da Silva backpedaling away from Sandro who is looking a bit frustrated. A fun round but clearly goes to Sandro for landing more shots and controlling the action. The punch that seemed to have clipped Sandro turned out to be a miss upon replay.
The second round begins the same with more striking to display, but a low blow from Sandro causes a break in the action. Da Silva doesn’t take much time and returns but Sandro wastes no time and gets right back in his face. Da Silva backpedals and eventually runs from Sandro until Sandro gives him some space. He is using leg kicks in this round along with his punches, while Da Silva seems too timid to pull the trigger. Da Silva is attacking in short busts of straight punches while Sandro backs away and counters. Da Silva throws a Badr Hari-style heel kick but Sandro ducks away. Sandro continues stalking him around the cage and Da Silva keeps back pedaling; the crowd becomes restless at the lack of action on Da Silva’s part. The round ends with Da Silva sprinting away from a right hand thrown by Sandro. The Sengoku star takes the round due to a lack of aggression on Da Silva’s part.
Round three and five minutes away from the final bell, Da Silva pops Sandro in the groin hard and drops him to his knees. He takes some time to recover but gets right back out to fight. Da Silva is more aggressive in this round. Sandro seems to be trying to figure out the timing of Da Silva, who is throwing more punches now. Sandro goes for a takedown but Da Silva stuffs it and they get back to striking with Da Silva is winging hooks at Sandro, who turns the tables and takes Da Silva down, landing in open half-guard, and starts working his ground-and-pound. Da Silva is showing his skills on the mat as well and cancels out Sandro. They both stand up and Sandro lifts his hands to tell Da Silva to bring it in the closing seconds. Da Silva throws a combo that misses and Sandro fires back and also misses. Sandro may not have gotten the knockout he wanted but he won the fight. Sandro via Split Decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)
Pat Curran vs. Luis Palomino: Palomino is a Season 1 returning featherweight and looks to defeat a former title challenger in Pat Curran. The Peruvian is staying on his toes and using a lot of kicks while Curran is in his usual stance with his hands high. Curran is clearly looking to box and use his jab to keep Palomino out of his face, and is effectively dictating the pace of the fight. He hits Palomino with a solid right hand that buckles him and Curran rushes in with a series of knees but Palomino recovers and gets back to his wrestling roots. Curran takes Palomino to the mat and is working on getting the mount; after doing some damage Curran locks on a D’arce Choke but Palomino is defending. Curran changes to a Peruvian Neck Tie and Palomino taps. Curran is on to the semi-finals and has shown a lot of evolution since his fight against Eddie Alvarez (21-2). Curran via Submission (Peruvian Neck Tie), Round 1, 3:49
Click here for the full list of Bellator 46 results.