Tonight the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida will host what is perhaps Bellator Fighting Championship’s most impressive card of the season. Reigning Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez (20-2) is coming off a minor injury that sidelined him at Bellator 54 and he is finally meeting Season 4 lightweight tournament winner Michael Chandler (8-0). With the 155lbs. title up for grabs in the marquis event, only a solid main card can shoulder the weight and who better to do so than Bellator Middleweight Champion and powerhouse striker “Shango” Hector Lombard (28-2)? Fresh off his submission victory over “JT Money” Jesse Taylor (14-5) at AFC 2, Lombard meets UFC, Strikeforce, IFL, and Bodog Fight veteran and Shark Fights Light Heavyweight Champion Trevor Prangley (23-7). The non-title fight will be at a catchweight of 195lbs. Lombard’s current win streak of 20 is the longest active streak in the MMA world and the South African fighter will try to end it doing what no man has done, stop the man called “Shango”. Former Sengoku Featherweight Champion and Featherweight tournament finalist “The Monster from Rio” Marlon Sandro (19-3) is returning to the cage after his knockout loss to tournament winner Pat Curran (15-4) and is looking to rebound by taking on WEC veteran submission fighter Rafael Dias (16-8). Women’s MMA will kick off the action as “JAG” Jessica Aguilar (11-4) looks to take revenge against the woman who handed her her first defeat, Lisa Ward (14-5).
Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Center will act as host for the second showing of the Australian Fighting Championship (AFC), The Land Down Under’s fast rising new MMA promotion. On September 3 in Melbourne, Australia there will be a stacked card of fighters from all around the world as well as hometown heroes defending the pride of their nation and a newly minted crown fresh off the forging irons will be up for grabs in the middleweight division. The two men fighting in the main event title bout are none other than perhaps the most powerful middleweight in the world, the Bellator and CFC Middleweight Champion “Shango” Hector Lombard (27-2) and UFC, Strikeforce, MFC, and Battlefield tested strongman “JT Money” Jesse Taylor (14-5). Lombard is looking to further cement his place in history by extending his win streak to 17 fights. Taylor, fresh off a first-round submission over PRIDE veteran Denis Kang (35-13), looks to add another titan to his list of victims. A heavyweight bout will serve as the co-main event for the night as Australian born fighter and veteran of Shooto Australia “Ferocious” Soa Palelei (6-2) takes on New Zealand native Hiriwa Te Rangi (0-2). Aussie middleweight “The Bandit” Ross Dallow (3-4) and New Zealand’s CFC veteran middleweight “The Villain” Dylan Andrews (8-3) will meet; neither man has seen the judges, making the intensity of the match that much more explosive. Polish star Marcin Held (10-1) returns to the fighting game after his loss to Michael Chandler (8-0) by Arm Triangle at Bellator 36. He will meet CFC and Shooto Australia veteran Jai Bradney (4-1) who is known for his heavy hands. A battle in the welterweight division will set things off for the main card as “Banjo” Nick Patterson (1-2) looks for win number two against Dave Weston (1-0). Both Patterson and Weston are coming off their first career wins by submission and look to start their climb up the AFC 170lbs. ranks with a win against the other.
Australian Fighting Championship is making their sophomore effort, AFC 2: Lombard vs. Taylor, a bomb blast with the newly minted AFC Middleweight Championship belt up for grabs in the main event. The September 3 card, though very much still in the building process, is slated to feature a marquis match-up between Bellator and CFC Middleweight Champion “Shango” Hector Lombard (27-2) and TUF 7 alum “JT Money” Jesse Taylor (14-5).
Jesse Taylor is riding a three-fight win streak and is fresh off a first-round submission victory over PRIDE, Spirit MC, and UFC veteran Denis Kang (35-13). He has been a very busy man since his lone bout in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, providing several promotions including Strikeforce and MFC his fighting services and racking up a 10-3 record in less than three years. “JT Money” has proven his penchant for the ground game, earning the bulk of his wins via submission, but will have his hands full when stepping in the ring opposite multi-promotion champ Hector Lombard.
The Bellator and Cage Fighting Championship (CFC) middleweight champ is returning to his second home in The Land Down Under to continue on his trek to MMA glory. “Shango” Hector Lombard (27-2), the dominant champion and American Top Team standout, was recently given the green light from the Bellator brass to compete in the Australian Fighting Championships (AFC) against TUF Season 7, Strikeforce, Maximum Fighting Championship (MFC), and Battlefield veteran “JT Money” Jesse Taylor (14-5) on August 27.
Taylor has been quite busy since his numbered days in the UFC, shuffling between the welterweight, middleweight, and even light heavyweight divisions and going 10-3 since his UFC release including a notable win over Dennis Kang (35-13) via first-round submission. “JT Money’s” confidence surely is at an all-time high, and he will need all of it when he steps into the cage with perhaps his most dangerous opponent to date in Hector Lombard – and on “Shango’s” adopted home turf, nonetheless.
Oklahoma gets a second dose of Bellator Fighting Championships when the organization returns to the Sooner State for Bellator 40 tonight with a main event superfight between welterweight champion Ben Askren (7-0) and UFC, bodogFIGHT, Strikeforce, Sengoku, and Elite XC veteran “The Goat” Nick Thompson (38-12). Askren will have his hands full with this seasoned fighter, and Thompson is coming to fight for the 15 minutes that three of Askren’s four Bellator bouts have lasted. Opening the night for the champ will be the second pair of semi-final tournament bouts. Welterweight semi-finalists step in first as Brent Weedman (18-5) takes on former UFC and Strikeforce fighter and former IFL Welterweight Champion “The Thoroughbred” Jay Hieron (17-4) with the winner moving on to face undefeated Judo Olympian Rick Hawn (11-0) in the tournament finals. Then former semi-pro boxer and heavy handed striker Lloyd Woodard (11-0) takes on Strikeforce veteran and quick finisher Michael Chandler (6-0) in the lightweight semi-finals with the winner slated against ”Pitbull” Patricky Freire (3-0). Overall the night should promise another evening of excellent Bellator action for the fans.
In MMA Gospel’s first installment of Bellator: The Draft, the women, bantamweights, and featherweights were covered. This time, MMA Gospel looks to Bellator Fighting Championship’s (BFC) two strongest divisions: lightweight and welterweight. With top class fighters like Eddie Alvarez (19-2), “El Matador” Roger Huerta (21-5-1), Pat Curran (12-3), Ben Askren (7-0), and “The Assassin” Chris Lozano (6-0), BFC could be said to rival or even surpass Strikeforce and DREAM in these divisions. However, there is always room for improvement and the fighters listed below are exactly the kind of men Bellator needs to solidify a position as a promotion that belongs in the same league as its bigger rivals.
After three solid seasons of tournaments and signing mixed martial artists from across the globe, Bellator Fighting Championship (BFC) is building itself a roster of talent filled divisions. The organization is gaining the signatures of not only high level fighters but, in what distinguishes them from other big promotions, is also giving the young guns a shot at a championship belt. There are, however, a slew of prospective Bellator fighters that could help the promotion bulk up its roster with top notch competitors and potentially launch the organization into the big show.
In most major sports, the acquisition of fresh talent is handled in the draft. In this three part series, MMA Gospel will discuss what fighters should be Bellator’s top selections if MMA had such an institution. From the up-and-coming to the experienced gunslingers of MMA, here is a potential draft listing of fan favorites and showstoppers that would prove beneficial for both the fighter and Bellator to be added to the index. Up first are the women, bantamweights and featherweights.