|Chandler celebrates becoming Bellator's lightweight champ |
after defeating a dejected Alvarez at Bellator LVIII (58).
I already expressed my distaste of the Rampage vs Ortiz main event on PPV a while back. I thought Bellator was getting away from what made them successful by using washed up UFC fighters and using the PPV format. Additionally Bellator could not have expected anything other than Tito Ortiz pulling out of the fight with an injury. However, this injury could be a blessing in disguise. Bellator took the bashing of its main event and realized they needed to put on one hell of a main card to help entice PPV purchases. They again went away from what they do best by skipping the tournament format and put Eddie Alvarez against Michael Chandler for the lightweight title. However, nobody is complaining about that. The rematch of one of the better fights I've ever seen should be amazing and there is little doubt that Alvarez is the best fighter available for Chandler to face. Also, Pat Curran is on the card in a rematch of his own. Curran will face Straus, the winner of the Bellator Season 6 Featherweight Tournament. The third title fight on the card will feature yet another rematch as King Mo and Emmanuel Newton will fight for the interim light heavyweight title. Newton shocked the world with a spinning backfist KO of King Mo in the first fight, but Mo still enters this fight a heavy favorite. A 3 title fight card on free TV can only be good for Bellator and its fans.
Bellator was quite sneaky when it pulled UFC veterans Etim, Kongo, and Parisyan from this stacked card. They cited multiple injuries in doing so, but it is very debatable that these injuries ever happened since they were all announced AFTER the Ortiz injury. Also, I do not trust the Bellator CEO, Bjorn Rebney. Everything abut Rebney just points to him being a scumbag. Eddie Alvarez being retained by the organization is a controversial topic regarding Rebney. But talking about him being sketchy is a topic for another day. Here are my picks for Bellator 106:
- Mike Richman submits Akop Stepanyan via armbar
- Bellator debuted its version of The Ultimate Fighter called Fight Master earlier this year. The first Fight Master season finale will be on this card as well. Joe Riggs of Team Jackson will take on Mike Bronzoulis of Team Couture. Riggs is actually a veteran of the game, who once fought Hughes for the welterweight title (if Riggs would have made weight) at UFC 56. He has won 9 in a row including his time on the show and I think he outclasses Bronzoulis. Riggs via decision.
- Many people think King Mo is more hype than talent. I disagree. Anyone who holds a win over Gegard Mousasi is an excellent fighter. However, with his losses to Feijao and Newton he has shown a questionable ability to take a punch. If Newton lands again, Mo will go down. However, I see Mo making this more of a wrestling match than a striking exchange. Therefore I see King Mo taking Newton down and ground and pounding his way to the interim title. Newton is very talented and debatably disrespected by being such an underdog against someone he beat earlier this year. But I side with the odds and agree that King Mo will win the rematch with a late round TKO.
- I thought Shahbulat Shamhalaev would be a very tough match for Pat Curran to win. Curran submitted him in the first round like it was no big deal. He also beat Joe Warren and Patricio Pitbull in he previous title fights which are also very impressive wins. He holds a KO win over his next opponent Daniel Straus as well. Straus is on a tear and is a completely different fighter than he was in the first fight, but Curran is just too good. I think Curran will use his brilliant counter-striking to get the job done and finish Straus within 3 rounds. Curran via KO.
- Michael Chandler, like Curran, made very quick work of a difficult opponent in his last fight. He knocked out David Rickels in under a minute to retain his belt and move to 12-0 for his MMA career. Eddie Alvarez enters as the former champion who lost his belt in a thriller to Chandler back in 2011. Since losing the belt he redeemed his lost to Shinya Aoki and beat up on Patricio Pitbull's brother Patricky. He has not fought in over a year due to contract limbo with Bellator and the UFC. He finally is back in Bellator (most likely unhappily) and ready to fight again. As I said before, he redeemed himself in the rematch with Aoki and will look to do the same with Chandler. I love both these guys for their talent as well as exciting styles of fighting. Chandler will win the rematch in my opinion because he is too fast. He may be the fastest lightweight on the planet. I think his standup game is better than it was in the first fight where he rocked Alvarez repeatedly in the first round. These tough warriors will slug it out but I believe it will be Chandler, yet again, getting his hand raised. Chandler via KO.
This historic Bellator event should be spectacular and I would remember to tune into Spike TV on Saturday night if I were you. Don't forget the following friday sees Kongo and Warren fighting as well. Bellator is still a legit competitor with the best in MMA despite the dropout of their first PPV event. Thanks to Tito, the fans win with an amazing card now on free TV.