With the bantamweight roster close to completion for the upcoming Bellator Season 6 tournament starting in March on an all new Friday night schedule, the Bellator brass is now compiling a stacked list of 145lbs. competitors to go to battle for a shot at championship gold. Eight men will enter the Bellator Season 6 Featherweight Tournament but only one will be declared tournament champion. With current champion Joe Warren (7-2) scheduled to face Summer Series winner Pat Curran (15-4) in the first defense of the 145lbs. division championship and “Pitbull” Patricio Freire (9-1) awaiting the winner of that bout, it seems the featherweight belt will be up in the air for the time.
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.
“The Cleveland Assassin” Chris Lozano (8-1) is taking no prisoners in his quest for glory. In just over two years as a professional mixed martial artist, Lozano has already made quite a name for himself, knocking out seven of his nine opponents and not only competing in Bellator’s Season 4 Welterweight Tournament, but also in serving as the headliner of the first fight card in history to be aired on MTV2, Bellator 35. That bout saw Lozano take on the promotion’s most recent former 170lbs. champion, “Cyborg” Lyman Good (11-2), in a hard fought three-round battle that rendered “The Cleveland Assassin” on the losing end for the first time in his career. Lozano then followed up his stint in Bellator with a pair of consecutive victories in the North American Allied Fight Series promotion, after which he was invited to return to the Bellator cage for the Season 5 Welterweight Tournament. Come September 10, “The Cleveland Assassin” will step into the national spotlight yet again, this time facing off with fellow knockout artist Brent Weedman (18-6) in the Bellator Season 5 Welterweight Tournament quarter-finals. MMA Gospel Editor-in-Chief Mallory Mejia got the opportunity to sit down with the rising star Lozano and discuss his evolving fight game, his mindset going into one of the most important match-ups of his career thus far, and what he plans on doing differently this time around.
The inaugural Bellator light heavyweight king was crowned last night in front of fans at the L’Auberge Du Lac in Lake Charles, Louisiana at the promotion’s season-ending show, Bellator 45, as Christian M’Pumbu (5-1) and Richard Hale (12-4) went to war for the titles of Bellator 205lbs. champ and Bellator Season 4 Light Heavyweight Tournament Champion. The main event was preceded by another Season 4 finals bout, with 145lb-ers Daniel Straus (16-3) and “Pitbull” Patricio Freire (9-1) locking horns to determine the next man to take on reigning champ Joe Warren (7-1). Before the pair of tournament bouts fans were treated to a competitive match-up in the middleweight division between former college wrestler and King of the Cage veteran “Smiling” Sam Alvey (14-2) and the well-rounded former M-1 fighter “Psycho” Karl Amoussou (12-3) with the winner gaining a spot in the Bellator Season 5 Middleweight Tournament. The evening wrapped up a season filled with solid fights, surprising upsets, and emerging contenders.
Bellator Season 4 Light Heavyweight Tournament Finals/Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship
Richard Hale vs. Christian M’Pumbu: M’Pumbu via TKO (strikes), Round 3, 4:19
Bellator Season 4 Featherweight Tournament Finals
Daniel Straus vs. Patricio Freire: Freire via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27), Round 3, 5:00
Bellator Season 5 Middleweight Tournament Qualifier
Sam Alvey vs. Karl Amoussou: Alvey via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Falaniko Vitale vs. Hector Lombard: Lombard via KO (Punch), Round 3, 0:54
Patricky Freire vs. Michael Chandler: Chandler via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27), Round 3, 5:00
Alexander Shlemenko vs. Brett Cooper: Shlemenko via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
The historic setting of Atlantic City, New Jersey, known for its casinos and night life, will host Bellator 44 tomorrow night with a locked and loaded main card that is perhaps the organization’s best offering to date. Even after the loss of “Cyborg” Lyman Good (11-2) to a hamstring injury last week that caused his fight with “The Handler” Dan Hornbuckle (18-4) to be put on hold, the card remains stacked with fighters known for their exciting styles. Bryan Goldsby (14-9) and Anthony Morrison (14-9) kick off the main card with a bantamweight fight that guarantees the winner the final spot in the Season 5 tournament, proceeded by returning title contender and self-proclaimed “pure striker” Russian-born kickboxer “The Storm” Alexander Shlemenko (29-4) meeting former welterweight Brett Cooper (12-5) who has found new life at a more natural weight of 185lbs. Then, Bellator Season 4 Lightweight Tournament finalist “Pitbull” Patricky Freire (3-0) will meet Mike Chandler Jr. (7-0) for the title of tournament champion and to earn his place as the next man in line for reigning 155lbs. champion Eddie Alvarez’s (21-2) belt. The trio of promising bouts will prime the pump for an explosive main event superfight in the middleweight division pitting UFC, Strikeforce, and SUPERBRAWL veteran “Niko” Falaniko Vitale (27-8) against the dangerous king of the Bellator middleweight division “Shango” Hector Lombard (26-2). Vitale’s slick Jiu-Jitsu may be enough to end one of the longest win streaks in MMA, but he will have to get past Lombard’s aggressive sweet science first or end his night sleeping on the canvas.
Last night MMA fans of Newkirk, Oklahoma witnessed a night of explosive fights and finishes, courtesy of Bellator 43. The twists and turns of the Bellator Season 4 Welterweight Tournament also came to a close, as a tourney champion was declared and dubbed the next man to take on reigning Bellator Welterweight Champion Ben Askren (8-0) for the belt. IFL veteran “The Thoroughbred” Jay Hieron (19-4) took on undefeated Judo Olympian Rick Hawn (11-1) in the main event and tournament final. Returning middleweight finalist “The Beast” Bryan Baker (12-2) teed off with UFC and Strikeforce veteran “Diesel” Joe Riggs (33-14). Former WEC Bantamweight Champion “The Rage” Chase Beebe (17-5) faced Bellator veteran Jose Vega (9-5); with a ticket into the Season 5 Bantamweight Tournament hanging in the balance only one could proceed to a shot at glory. A late main card addition in the form of a heavyweight tilt between heavy hitter “The Monster” Ron Sparks (4-0) and journeyman Vince Lucero (20-19) opened the event of the MTV2 broadcast.
The recently announced Bellator Fighting Championships Featherweight “Summer Series” Tournament begins May 14 with perhaps their most stacked card to date. The event will take place in Atlantic City, New Jersey and also hosts a middleweight elimination match to determine who will grace the Season 5 Tournament as Bellator Season 2 Middleweight Tournament winner and title challenger “The Storm” Alexander Shlemenko (29-4) steps back into the cage against Brett Cooper (12-5).
Today Bellator Fighting Championships announced that its May 7 card, Bellator 43, in Newkirk, Oklahoma will not only host the Season 4 Welterweight Tournament finals between undefeated Judo Olympian Rick Hawn (11-0) and former International Fight League (IFL) 170lbs. champ “The Thoroughbred” Jay Hieron (18-4) but also will feature a stacked night of fights leading up to the main event.
I’ll tell ya what, Icemigos… So far, I’m not feeling this season of The Ultimate Fighter. I mean, I’ll keep watching it but how I miss people getting KOS’d. Plunger fights. A Male Nurse. Jean-Charles: The French kickboxing badass who liked to get drunk before sparring. Cody McKenzie and his “McKenzietine”. Those were the days! When the most entertaining thing that happens is Ramsey Nijem whipping his junk around and Brock Lesnar saying “chickenshit” again, you start to curse fate for not letting Chael Sonnen be one of the coaches this season. Seriously, Dana, you owe us one. Next season better have Chael and Michael Bisping as the coaches. Or “Mayhem” Miller and Nick Diaz. Here’s what I’ve learned thus far from this season of TUF:
Chicago-based MMA promotion Bellator Fighting Championships returned to Oklahoma tonight with Bellator 42, featuring its Season 4 Light Heavyweight Tournament semi-finals as well as a special feature fight between Shark Fights and Cage Rage Featherweight Champion Ronnie Mann (19-2-1) and Josh Arocho (13-10). In the 205lbs. tournament French striker Christian M’Pumbu (3-1) took on the bigger man Tim Carpenter (7-1) and heavy handed DJ Linderman (10-1) went up against Richard Hale (11-4-1) to determine who would earn the two spots in the finals for a chance to become Bellator’s inaugural light heavyweight champion. Here’s how the main card played out.
Season 4 Light Heavyweight Tournament Semi-Final
Richard Hale vs. DJ Linderman: Hale via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Non-Tournament Featherweight Bout
Ronnie Mann vs. Josh Arocho: Mann via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25), Round 3, 5:00
Season 4 Light Heavyweight Tournament Semi-Final
Tim Carpenter vs. Christian M’Pumbu: M’Pumbu via TKO (Punches), Round 1, 2:08
Non-Tournament Bantamweight Bout
Luis Nogueira vs. Jerod Spoon: Nogueira via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
Tonight’s Bellator 42 main event originally was intended to be a non-title superfight between Bellator Heavyweight Champion “The Polar Bear” Cole Konrad (7-0) and Strikeforce and UFC Strikeforce veteran KO artist “The Headhunter” Paul Buentello (28-13), but Buentello had to withdraw from the fight due to a back injury. Then Konrad bowed out of the event as well, deciding to wait for Buentello to heal and meet at a later event rather than face a late replacement. However, Concho Oklahoma will still be in for an exciting night of fights with a solid featherweight showing and both Season 4 Light Heavyweight Tournament semi-finals on the card. French import Christian M’Pumbu (2-1) goes to battle against undefeated Tim Carpenter (7-0) and heavy handed DJ Linderman (9-1) goes against the second man to gain instant Bellator super-stardom due to an Inverted Triangle Choke, Richard Hale (11-3). In the night’s remaining main card affair, the Bellator debut of Sengoku veteran and former Shark Fights and Cage Rage Featherweight Champion Ronnie Mann (18-2) lands him across the cage from a man who has submitted four of his last five opponents, Josh Arocho (13-9), with the winner most likely gaining a spot in the Season 5 Featherweight Tournament brackets. As always, MMA Gospel is here with the inside look.