The conclusion of the inaugural Bellator Summer Series went out with a bang at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut with the headlining bout and tournament final consisting of former Sengoku Featherweight Champion Marlon Sandro (19-3) against Season 2 Lightweight Tournament Champion and now featherweight juggernaut Pat Curran (15-4). Supporting the finale were two bouts both in the heavyweight divisions. Bellator Heavyweight Champion “The Polar Bear” Cole Konrad (8-0) took on UFC and Strikeforce knockout artist “The Headhunter” Paul Buentello (28-14) in a non-title super fight. Former UFC Heavyweight Champion “Suave” Ricco Rodriguez (47-12) put his 12-fight win streak on the line against the man often referred to as the “Kimbo Killer”, UFC and EliteXC veteran “The Silverback” Seth Petruzelli (14-6). The card was a solid display of entertaining mixed martial arts action just as fans have come to expect from Bellator.
Seth Petruzelli vs. Ricco Rodriguez: Seth Petruzelli and Ricco Rodriguez went to battle on the feet where two different striking styles shined. Petruzelli kept to his trademark elusive movements and karate style kicks while Rodriguez came forward with his hands up and ready to bully Petruzelli into a brawl. “The Silverback” kept the former UFC champ off-balance with head kicks, spinning back kicks, and chopping leg kicks; however a spinning back kick to the groin forced the referee to call a stop in the action. After a show of respect and sportsmanship by both men they picked up where they left off. Petruzelli started using overhands and wide hooks against the former UFC champion and was successful, tripping Rodriguez to the mat. After several moments of slow action the two stood back up. Rodriguez came forward but couldn’t time the fast pace of Petruzelli’s strikes. A chopping leg kick buckled Rodriguez and Petruzelli jumped on him against the cage. This actually gave Rodriguez the advantage for a short time but the final minute of the round was the beginning of the end. A spinning back kick from Petruzelli landed on Rodriguez’s chest followed by another glancing kick to the face.”Suave” tried to retaliate with a Superman punch, but the “Kimbo Killer” read it perfectly and blasted the former UFC king with an overhand right that ended the night in the closing seconds of the first stanza. Petruzelli via TKO (Strikes), Round 1, 4:21
Cole Konrad vs. Paul Buentello: “The Polar Bear” earned another decision win in Bellator but he did it in a very different fashion than his previous fights. Konrad took on MMA veteran Paul Buentello in a non-title bout that also marked his first trip back into the cage since winning the Bellator title last October. Konrad’s choice to stand with “The Headhunter” may have seemed like a bad idea on paper but the stiff jab, steady leg kicks, and foot work proved the pencil pushers wrong. Buentello looked very slow and timid to pull the trigger in the first round, rarely exchanging and moving away from the striking of Konrad. However, as the fight continued, Buentello opened up with his strikes after a thrashing by his corner man, using his uppercuts and solid punches to cripple the larger champion. Konrad kept his distance by sticking his jab into Buentello’s face and slowing the action to a crawl. Staying on the outside was “The Polar Bear’s” safest way to victory but it was not winning over the crowd. Although content with striking with Buentello, Konrad did return to his wrestling roots after a sloppy exchange resulted in a trip and Buentello on his back. After several wasted submission attempts Konrad grinded on Buentello until the two were stood back up with 67 seconds left in the fight. Buentello knew this was his last chance to come back and let his hands go but his efforts were not enough as the final seconds ticked down and Konrad clinched him until the end of the fight. The crowd showed no love for either fighter following the lackluster affair. Konrad via Unanimous Decision
(Video courtesy of Bellator and MTV2)
Pat Curran vs. Marlon Sandro: The featherweight finale featured two strikers of different styles, one a sharp technician the other a heavy-handed brawler. The bout opened with Sandro landing the first punch and Curran replying with one of his own. The pace of the fight had been set by the Brazilian as he came forward unleashing his fists of iron against Curran, who stayed offensive from a distance with kicks and jabs. Teep kicks and jumping knees, two of Curran’s most usual weapons, kept Sandro from blasting forward. The Sengoku veteran stayed smart with head movement and avoided several of Curran’s jabs and fired back with punches of his own. A back-and-forth round came to a close, seeing Sandro come out ahead due to control and strikes landed. The second round began the same as the first – Sandro on the offensive, but instead of punches it was leg kicks. Sandro still got the early lead with heavy shots but Curran countered back each time. The Season 2 lightweight winner was rocked by a heavy hand and forced to clinch but made up for it in stellar fashion moments later. After a pair of solid body shots, Curran goes on the attack with a basic hand combination designed to draw Sandro to the outside. It worked brilliantly and Sandro slipped the combo only to walk right into a head kick. The Sengoku vet crumbled to the mat, flat on his back, and Curran pounced to finish his opponent with several hammer fists. The bout is called off at four minutes even with Pat Curran the winner and the owner of a featherweight title shot, becoming the first fighter in Bellator to win a tournament in two different weight classes. From the underdog to a household name, Pat Curran has a bright future. Curran via KO, Round 2
Click here to see the full list of Bellator 48 results.