Sunday, 29 September 2013

Bellator 100 on Viva - TV Review

It's time to step across the pond once again as we take a look at the night of welterweight action at Bellator's 100th show, shown this past Friday night on Viva here in Britain.

The show began with the quarter-finals of the welterweight tournament. Quarter-final #1 saw Justin Baesman going up against Brent Weedman.
This was a great way to kick things off. They began with an exchange of kicks, and after Weedman came forward with a flurry of blows a clinch against the cage followed, which quickly led to Weedman scoring with the takedown.
Once they got there he delivered a couple of body shots before he went looking for the submissions, and it wasn't long before he applied an arm bar. Baesman managed to escape from the hold, but Weedman wasn't letting him get away that easily as he went for the hold again. Baesman managed to fight him off for as long as he could, but when Weedman went belly don Baesman quickly tapped to give Weedman the submission win.
Quarter-final #2 saw Sergio Junior taking on Ron Keslar.
Well, this certainly proved to be an interesting encounter. It began with the usual exchange of kicks before Keslar scored with the takedown, and even though his offence wasn't exactly spectacular he clearly had the better of the first round.
It was early in the second that the fight could have had had an early ending when Keslar connected with a big right that sent Junior crashing down and his head bouncing of the mat. Keslar followed him down and took his back a few moments later. But instead of going in for the kill he seemed content to keep Junior in that position as the Brazilian kept throwing backwards fists at him. Keslar did try for a rear naked choke at one point, but by that time it looked as if Junior had fully recovered from his knockdown.
Junior went on to prove how much he recovered early in the third when he pulled guard and applied a guillotine. He kept the hold on for what seemed like an age before Keslar eventually escaped, and a few moments later he took his man's back again, and once again he seemed content to hold Junior in that position, although he got a warning from the referee for inactivity this time around.
All of this meant that the judges were brought into the equation for the first time. They couldn't agree as Keslar took the split decision.
Quarter-final #3 saw Herman Terrado against Rick Hawn.
This proved to be a pretty one-sided affair, and an example of how power isn't everything as far as striking is concerned.
For three rounds Hawn's striking was top notch as he allied speed with accuracy. It was a combination that the powerful Terrado just couldn't cope with, because while Hawn was connecting with combinations Terrado seemed to be looking for that one powerful blow to put his man on his backside. The only problem was that when he began to swing Hawn's speed meant that he wasn't there when the blow came through.
It wasn't all about the striking though. Terrado also looked somewhat helpless when Hawn instigated a few clinches against the cage so he could grind his man down, using this tactic to score with the takedown at the end of the second round.
As for the judges they were in complete agreement as Hawn took the unanimous decision, although for some reason one of the judges gave one round to Terrado.
Oh, and a little bit of advice for these fighters: the trash talking is meant to happen before the fight, not after.
Filler material followed in the form of the light heavyweight fight between Liam McGeary and Beau Tribolet.
This was the blink and you'll miss it affair. Both guys connected early on, with McGeary using his reach advantage to good effect, but when the Brit connected with a big right Tribolet went down like a sack of spuds. McGeary followed up with a couple of more blows before he walked away, the referee waving the fight off to give McGeary the KO win after just 27 seconds.
Normal service resumed with quarter-final #4 between Vaughn Anderson and War Machine.
I really enjoyed this one. After the initial feeling out period Machine scored with the takedown and put on a great display of ground fighting as he moved from position to position. It looked like it was going to be a one-sided affair against the man dubbed as MMA's best kept secret until Anderson managed to reverse the position into Machine's guard. From there he showed that he was just as adept on the ground.
But when Machine took the fight to the ground early in the second round it was all one way traffic there. He took Anderson's back a few minutes later and waited patiently for an opening while delivering a few well-placed blows.
That opening came as the round approached it's final minute as he synched in a rear naked choke. Anderson managed to pull his arm away from his head a couple of times, but when Machine went palm to palm it wasn't long before Anderson was in la-la land as the referee stepped in to give Machine the submission win.
The main event was last season's welterweight final between Ben Saunders and Douglas Lima.
This was another fight that I really enjoyed. Early on they began to exchange kicks on a regular basis, but as the first round progressed Lima began to find his range as his striking got crisper, and after a brief clinch against the fence went nowhere they returned to the striking game, with Lima opening up a cut on Saunder's eyelid.
We got more of the same in round two, and when Lima dropped his man with a big right it looked like it could end there and then. A badly swollen and almost completely closed eye didn't stop Saunders from tying Lima down as he went in for the kill, and a few moments later he even went for a leg submission which Lima easily escaped from.
Having survived those scares both men went back to the striking game, and in the final minute of the round Lima connected with a left uppercut followed by a right head kick that dropped his man again. Saunders was out of it, and Lima walked away as the referee waived the fight to give Lima the knockout win, a big cardboard cheque, and a shot at the world title.
In conclusion - This is the fifth Bellator show I've seen now, and I'm really starting to warm to their brand of MMA, which is why I really enjoyed this show.
Unlike the last show all of the fights delivered to varying degrees, and given the performances of some of the fighters here I'm looking forward to see how the welterweight tournament progresses.
As for my fight of the night no-prize there were two big candidates for this prestigious award, and while the Lima/Saunders main event came a very close second this time around I'm going for plump for the Machine/Anderson fight, mainly because of the great ground fighting from the somewhat controversial star.
So with all of that out of the way there's only one more thing to do, and that's to give Bellator 100 the thumbs up.