It was just the end of another training session on Wednesday afternoon, the last hard sparring session of fight camp before the big fight on December 2. The fighter who was in the shark tank was none other than 145lbs. Bellator veteran and top contender for the Tachi Palace Fights featherweight title, “Insane” Georgi Karakhanyan (17-3). Having defeated eight of his last ten opponents including Shooto, EliteXC, and Strikeforce veteran “The Taz” Bao Quach (17-10-1) via first-round knockout, Georgi has now put himself in line to take on Isaac DeJesus (9-3) for championship gold in the Tachi Palace Fights 11: Redemption main event this Friday. Karakhanyan is known for his come-forward style of fighting and lethal knees paired with a slick submission game that earned him the bulk of his career wins, but despite his aggressive demeanor in the cage, Georgi answered his phone with a friendly tone, welcoming a chat with MMA Gospel writer Cole Moorman about the biggest fight in his professional career thus far – and much more.
It was the conclusion to yet another successful and entertaining season for Bellator Fighting Championships, last night docking in Caesars Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey for the bantamweight and heavyweight tournament finals and the return of UFC veteran and hometown fighter “Batman” Kurt Pellegrino (16-7) against heavy-handed Brazilian “Pitbull” Patricky Freire (4-1). ”The American Soldier” Eric Prindle (6-1) faced “Big Monster” Thiago Santos (6-1) for the Season 5 Heavyweight Tournament title and a shot against champion “The Polar Bear” Cole Konrad (8-0). Bantamweights “The Executioner” Alexis Vila (10-1) and Eduardo Dantas (9-2) faced off in the youth versus experience, speed versus power match-up. A late addition to the main card in TUF Season 8 runner-up “The Filipino Assassin” Phillipe Nover (5-4) and Polish prospect Marcin Held (12-2) started off the night with a three-round battle between the young fighters looking to steal the spotlight of the organization’s 155lbs. division. Controversial decisions and stoppages aside, the evening closed out Bellator’s fifth season with the bang that is sure to leave fans clamoring for the start of Season 6.
Bellator Prelims Live Stream
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—MAIN CARD (on MTV2 and EPIX HD)—
Season 5 Heavyweight Tournament Finals Fight
Thiago Santos vs. Eric Prindle: Fight is ruled a No Contest due to Santos’ inadvertent groin strike
Lightweight Feature Fight
Patricky Freire vs. Kurt Pellegrino: Freire via TKO (Strikes), Round 1, 0:50
Season 5 Bantamweight Tournament Finals Fight
Alexis Vila vs. Eduardo Dantas: Dantas via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Lightweight Feature Fight
Marcin Held vs. Phillipe Nover: Held via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
The last of the Bellator Season 5 tournament finals are under way this Saturday in Atlantic City, New Jersey with the heavyweights and bantamweights taking to the cage determined to earn a bonus check to the tune of $100,000 as well as a shot at his division’s respective champion. Forty-year-old knockout artist and bantamweight underdog “The Exorcist” Alexis Vila (10-0) will face the young and wild Brazilian Eduardo Dantas (7-2) for the 135lbs. title shot against “Fun Size” Zach Makovsky (14-2). Boxing stand-out ”The American Soldier” Eric Prindle (6-1) will face the giant from Brazil in “Big Monster” Thiago Santos (6-1) for a shot at Bellator Heavyweight Champion “The Polar Bear” Cole Konrad (7-0). A treat for the locals will be the return to the cage and Bellator debut of UFC veteran and New Jersey native “Batman” Kurt Pellegrino (16-6); welcoming him to the cage is heavy handed “Pitbull” Patricky Freire (3-1). A 170lbs. bout was scheduled between former Bellator Welterweight Champion “Cyborg” Lyman Good (11-2) and Michael Costa (10-5), however a last-minute injury forced the bout off the card. Now a lightweight showdown between UFC veteran and TUF Season 8 runner up ”The Filipino Assassin” Phillipe Nover (5-3) and returning one-time Bellator veteran and Polish prodigy Marcin Held (11-2) will take the honors of opening up the Bellator 59 main card on MTV2.
Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, Ed Perdomo and Ben Ordonez wrap up the current jumbo-sized four-technique arc of MMA Gospel’s Technique of the Week. Every move in the arc so far has fed off of the Mount Escape and Half-Guard Sweep featured November 2. This basic straight Armbar, however, will feed off of the Colombian Necktie submission from last week. In a game that relies on being three moves ahead, it is important to know where to go if and when your first attack fails.
UFC 139 was not only a solid offering in the box office, it was one of the best overall MMA cards in recent memory headlined by a fight that is at the front of the running for greatest UFC fight of all time. In a five-round war that left both fighters unable to stand for several moments after the final bell, the victorious “Hendo” Dan Henderson (29-8) was carried from the Octagon on the arms of his corner men, much as “The Russian Bear” Oleg Taktarov (14-5-2) was after winning UFC 6, and “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (20-6) was bloodied, swollen, and barely able to speak in his post-fight interview he was so exhausted. “The Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva (35-11-1) overcame a very rough first round to knock out three-time world kickboxing champion Cung Le (7-2) in the co-main. “The California Kid” Urijah Faber (26-5) put on a stunning performance in his domination of Brian Bowles (10-2), earning a rubber match against “The Dominator” Dominick Cruz (18-1). Welterweights “The Hitman” Martin Kampmann (18-5) and “The Horror” Rick Story (11-4) clashed in a mostly stand-up war to restore their place in the divisional rankings and “The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar (14-7) ran the show against light heavyweight hopeful “Kingsbu” Kyle Kingsbury (12-3). While it is difficult to truly find fault with any fighter involved in such a stellar card, not everyone can come out a winner in the big picture.
Perhaps one of the greatest nights of MMA history was witnessed on Saturday, November 19. Among the historic events was Bellator 58 at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida, featuring the long awaited title defense of top-ranked Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez (20-3) against relentless challenger Michael Chandler (9-0). With the title fight as the event’s main attraction there was more star power to support the 155lbs. title bout. Bellator Middleweight Champion “Shango” Hector Lombard (29-2) met UFC and Strikeforce veteran Trevor Prangley (23-8) in a non-title catchweight bout of 195lbs. Two of the top five in Women’s MMA went to war in a rematch that had been five years in the making as “JAG” Jessica Aguilar (12-4) and Lisa Ellis-Ward (14-6) faced off in the cage. Starting off the action was former Sengoku featherweight king Marlon Sandro (20-3) and WEC veteran Rafael Dias (15-5) in a 145lbs. match-up with the hopes of the winner earning his way into the next featherweight tournament.