Monday, 21 October 2013

Bellator 103 on Viva - TV Review

It's been a busy time for this particular writer over the past couple of weeks. A training course designed to help me back into full-time employment has taken up a lot of my time and energy, which means I haven't been able to check out a few recent MMA shows.

So instead of going over old ground and taking a look back at the shows I missed we're going to get back on track with Bellator 103, shown this past Friday night on Viva here in Britain.

The broadcast began in the light heavyweight division as Aaron Rosa faced Mikhail Zayats.

Much was made of Rosa's height advantage before the fight began, but that meant nothing when Zayats scored with the takedown within the first fifteen seconds. He then promptly moved into position so he could apply a kimura, with Rosa quickly tapping to give the Russian the submission win after just 47 seconds.

Lightweight action followed as J.J. Ambrose took on David Rickels.

To say that Rickels put in a dominating performance here wouldn't be underestimating things. His striking looked top notch throughout, and even though Ambrose managed to get on top a couple of times Rickels always regained control within seconds.

The Caveman's domination began in the first round when a push kick/big right combination sent Ambrose crashing. It was a sign of things to come as he went on to dominate the stand-up exchanges. He had his man in no end of trouble on a number of occasions, and when Ambrose crumpled to the mat after a kick to the liver in the second it looked all over. It wasn't, and he barely managed to survive.

Ambrose did have a couple of good moments, mainly when he managed to reverse the positions on the ground, but the only problem was that Rickels stayed in offensive mode whenever he was on his back, which made it a lot more difficult for Ambrose to work.

The end came in the third round. Having barely made it into the final round Ambrose found himself on his knees and elbows and locked in a reverse triangle with nowhere to go. There was absolutely no way he could defend himself as Rickels went to work with the ground and pound, and when Ambrose offering nothing in reply the referee stepped in to give Rickels the highly impressive TKO win.

Then it was on to the featherweight tournament. Semi-final #1 saw Justin Wilcox going up against Joe Taimanglo.

This proved to be an interesting three round affair, and another example of how good grapplers always seem to do well against good strikers.

The good striker role was played by Taimanglo in this one. He began his stint in the cage by running at his opponent. His striking, and in particular his kicks, looked crisp throughout, and if he'd found that one big blow then this fight could have had a different outcome.

The only problem was that he never found that blow, mainly because of Wilcox's wrestling. Wilcox seemed able to take his man down with ease, and although he never looked flashy he did a great job of controlling the pace and the action as Taimanglo looked a little out of his depth, even when he went looking for a kimura a couple of times.

Wilcox really sealed the deal when he scored with the early takedown in the third. Once again Taimanglo looked a little helpless as Wilcox went looking for an arm triangle before finally adding a little ground and pound into the mix as the fight came to an end.

As for the judges they were in complete agreement as Wilcox took the unanimous decision.

Semi-final #2 saw Fabricio Guerreiro going up against Patricio Pitbull.

This all-Brazilian battle was another interesting packed with a ton of solid work, and once again it was all about the ground fighting.

Guerreiro could probably consider himself rather unlucky, because when he took his man to the ground early on Pitbull immediately reversed the positions and took control. It was something that would happen again later on, and it signalled the start of Pitbull's dominance on the ground, which was a little surprising because those in the know expected him go for a stand-up tactic.

As With Wilcox in the previous fight his work wasn't flashy but extremely solid. Guerreiro had his moments, such as when he managed to get back to his feet, but it wasn't long before he found himself back on the ground under Pitbull's control.

This fight wasn't all about the grappling though. The second round saw some nice exchanges, with Guerreiro in particular getting off some good shots, and after Pitbull controlled the final round with even more grappling Guerreiro ended the fight like a man who knew he needed a knockout for the win, swinging for the fences as the fight came to an end.

Which meant that the judges were called upon for the final time, and once again they agreed on everything as Pitbull took the unanimous decision.

In conclusion - while I was a little disappointed that other commitments meant I missed a couple of shows Bellator 103 made up for that disappointment.

All four fights delivered, and it was great to see how the featherweight tournament progressed to it's final stage.

As for my fight of the night no-prize this time around I'm going for the Pitbull/Guerreiro three rounder. It may not have been overly flashy, and some of those in attendance may not have been impressed with the ground fighting, but this particular writer really enjoyed it.

So with all of that out of there the way there's only one thing left to do, and that's to give Bellator 103 the thumbs up.