September 19, 2015
SPIKE.COM PRELIMS 7PM, SPIKE MAIN CARD 9PM
On September 19th the SAP Center in San Jose California will play host to an event that promises to be a must watch for anyone who is a fan of combat sports. Bellator 142: Dynamite is being billed as a three-tiered event that will feature both Bellator MMA and Glory Kickboxing. The Glory section of the card will feature a fight for the vacant Light Heavyweight title between Saulo Cavalari and Zack Mwekassa while the other two tiers will be MMA focused.
We’ll be focusing on the MMA tiers of the card. The main event of the evening will be a Light Heavyweight Title fight which sees champion Liam McGeary taking on UFC veteran and MMA legend Tito Ortiz. The other tier of the card will feature a four man light heavyweight tournament which will have opening bouts of Phil Davis vs Emanuel Newton and “King” Mo Lawal vs Linton Vassell. The winners of those two bouts will go on to face each other later that night with the winner of the final bout earning a title shot against the winner of the main event. Other notable fights on the card include Josh Thomson vs Mike Bronzoulis and Francis Carmont vs Luiz Philipe Lins. So let’s break down the opening fights of the tournament and the main event of the evening.
“King” Mo Lawal vs Linton Vassell
The opening fight of the light heavyweight tournament will be between “King” Mo Lawal and Linton Vassell. Both men enter the fight with a 15-4 record with Lawal on a 3 fight win streak and Vassell having won 10 of his last 11 fights.
“King” Mo’s last fight was a split decision victory against Cheick Kongo and was actually fought at heavyweight, the two fights before that were at light heavyweight however and both resulted in TKO victories for Lawal. With 11 of his 15 wins coming by way of KO or TKO, Lawal obviously has power in his hands and tends to like to keep the fight standing.
Linton Vassell has won 10 of his last 11 with his 1 loss coming in the 5th round of a war with then champion Emanuel Newton. Vassell seems to be the more well-rounded of the 2 fighters. Out of his 15 wins, 6 are by KO or TKO and 7 are by submission. Vassell would appear to have the advantage if the fight goes to the ground but getting it there might be problematic due to Lawal’s underrated wrestling ability.
Phil Davis vs Emanuel Newton
UFC veteran Phil Davis makes his Bellator debut at this event and certainly hasn’t drawn an easy match up. Davis is 13-3 with his last fight ending in a controversial split decision loss to Ryan Bader. Davis hasn’t finished an opponent since 2012 but has elite level wrestling ability (he is a 4 time Division 1 All-American while at Penn State) and uses that to smother virtually anyone who steps in the cage with him.
Former champion Emanuel Newton makes his return to the cage after a 3 month suspension for testing positive for marijuana following his loss to Liam McGeary at Bellator 134 in February. Prior to the loss Newton had been on a 7 fight win streak, including victories over 2 of the other 3 fighters in the tournament, Lawal and Vassell. Newton has an impressive record of 25-8 and has shown that he has the ability to knock his opponent out or make them tap as he has finished 13 of his opponents. Newton has fought wrestlers in the past but has never really been in the cage with someone who has the caliber of wrestling that Davis possesses, and that might make the difference in this fight.
Liam McGeary (c) vs Tito Ortiz
Light Heavyweight Champion Liam McGeary comes into this fight with a perfect 10-0 record, finishing all but 1 of those fights. McGeary is a dangerous fighter no matter where the fight ends up. He has a dangerous stand up game and is equally effective on the ground, including being very proficient off his back when necessary. And at 6’6, the Englishman should hold a significant reach advantage as well.
Tito Ortiz is a legend in the MMA world. With a record of 18-11, Ortiz steps into the cage at 40 years of age for what will probably be his last shot at a title. Ortiz is known for his ground and pound style and his incredible cardio which, while it has dropped off a little bit with age, is still impressive to watch. Ortiz likes to wear his opponents down throughout the fight before looking for the finish. That may be much easier said than done against McGeary however as the champion has great cardio, is 8 years younger than Ortiz and has shown that he can go the distance in fights with little issue as he proved in his 5 round battle with Emanuel Newton where he set the record for most submission attempts in Bellator history with 11.
Between the tournament and the main event, the MMA side of Bellator 142 is already a must see event. When you add in the Glory side of things it makes it hard to consider not tuning into Spike TV on September 19th.
Liam McGeary vs. Tito Ortiz TITLE FIGHT
Muhammed Lawal vs. Linton Vassell
Mike Bronzoulis vs. Josh Thomson
Phil Davis vs. Emanuel Newton
Roy Boughton vs. Francis Carmont
Victor Jones vs. David Blanco
Gloria Telles vs. Alysia Cortez
Nick Pica vs. Mauricio Alonso
Brandon Hester vs. DeMarco Villalona
Michael Page Not Focusing on Opponent Ahead of Boxing Debut
MMA Latest spoke to Bellator’s Michael ‘Venom’ Page, as he makes his boxing debut this Friday at the Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night.
Page (12-0 MMA) is renowned for his entertaining fight style inside the cage, with most of his knockout and submission victories ending up in highlight reels online, that almost always go viral.
‘MVP’ was supposed to make his boxing debut on the undercard of David Haye vs Tony Bellew in March of this year, but due to ongoing negotiations with Bellator, his debut was delayed. Shortly after Page signed with Haye’s promotion “Hayemaker Ringstar.”
Q: So, Michael, we’re about five days out now from your big boxing debut, and still we have no name of an opponent? Can you break the big news, who will you be fighting next week?
I honestly couldn’t even tell you his name right now! I know I’ve got an opponent, but I haven’t even looked at him because it has changed so many times. I don’t like to pay too much attention to it, because it’s added stress. For me it’s just a case of turning up, and firing punches at whoever is across the ring.
Q: Is this fight 10 or 12 rounds? Given a standard boxing fight is a lot longer than your typical 15-minute MMA bout, has there been an emphasis on cardiovascular work in your training camp?
Depending on the opponent, I think it’s 6-rounds. The preparation has been different, I’m having to stress out my shoulders and core a lot. The kicking distance as well is very different, getting used to having people a bit closer. I’m getting used to the corners of the ring, I’ve done it before but not to this extent so I am familiar of it, but my body wasn’t really used to it.
Q: So, is this kind of like a one fight deal for Haye’s Ringstar promotion? Regardless of this fight’s outcome, will you return to MMA?
Not at all, I’m taking it seriously. Otherwise, I would have just had a super fight against a big name like McGregor did. This is why I can’t just jump into a 12 round fight, I need to adjust my body and get it prepared for boxing.
There’s no future plans yet, I’d like to have an MMA fight again before the end of this year, as I haven’t fought this whole year, but another opportunity for boxing may come up and I might get a chance to jump on that, so it depends.
Q: Were you frustrated that Bellator booked Paul Daley vs. Lorenz Larkin, and if you could send a message to Daley right now what would it be?
I have no interest in him anymore. It feels so pathetic and unnecessary now. I don’t think he deserved that fight with Larkin right after the shocking display he put on in Wembley against Rory MacDonald. But good on him he beat Larkin, however he calls me out immediately after then goes on to say he’s past that fight, it just doesn’t make sense.
Q: A statement we hear a lot is “MVP is the only guy outside the UFC that I want in the UFC” People criticise the talent in Bellator and say you’re fighting nobodies, what do you say back to them?
The amount of times you hear “you shouldn’t fight this person, you should have fought that person.” Everyone’s got an idea of what the correct steps someone should make are, but at the end of the day it’s their career. People are so fickle and easy to forget. If you are a fan of somebody, just be a fan of them regardless of win or loss.
Q: I’ve got to ask about how things are with Bellator, because from the outside looking in it’s quite unclear. How is it relationship at the moment?
Yeah I get on with most of the guys, it’s like a small family. I’ve still got a couple of fights left with them, they’re growing very well, the only problem is I feel like they’re focusing a bit too much on ex UFC fighters. For me it says you’re classing yourself as second best. Bellator generate some amazing superstars and young talent, they should continue to promote them.
You can watch ‘MVP’ make his boxing debut this Friday night, as the Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night will air at 21:00PM on Dave.
Exclusive: Andrey Koreshkov eyeing fight with Rory MacDonald
Former Bellator welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov is coming off of an interesting past two years. In 2015 he beat current welterweight champion Douglas Lima, via a dominant unanimous decision, in order to win the welterweight title. He returned in 2016 and beat former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson via another dominant beatdown. It seemed like Koreshkov was going to be the champion for a very long time, making elite fighters look like they had no business being in the cage with him.
Koreshkov’s world came crashing down one night in Isreal. The Russian was beating Douglas Lima in a rematch, he was up 20-18 on the score-cards, and it seemed like he was going to walk away with another successful title defense. Koreshkov forced Lima’s back against the fence and started winging punches at him, Lima started to do the same as he looked to get off the fence, and then it happened, a huge left hook caught Koreshkov on the chin and it was lights-out. Lima was once again champion, and Koreshkov’s reign was cut short.
What was next for Koreshkov after losing the title? Perhaps a move to middleweight? Bellator’s middleweight division has fewer contenders than the welterweight division and could promise a quicker path to the title for the Russian. Koreshkov is a big welterweight, standing at 6’1, he certainly wouldn’t be small in the higher weight class. Speaking to MMA Latest, Koreshkov was quick to shut down the idea of moving up. “No, no, I work hard at welterweight and I’d like to stay there.”
Sticking with welterweight, Koreshkov knew it was going to be tough to get another title shot after his fight with Chidi Njokuani, but he seems to know the key to fighting for the title “It’s not about how many wins, but rather, the quality of my wins”, with that in mind, he promised the gameplan against Njokuani was to “stand and bang”. Koreshkov fulfilled his promise, against Njokuani he came out guns-blazing, giving Njokuani all he could handle on the feet before eventually taking him down and finishing him with some nasty ground and pound.
Koreshkov also got the chance to explain who he’d like to fight next, should he not get a title shot. “I don’t have any favorites, I know that there are a lot of tough fights at my weight class, but if I had to choose, I would say Rory MacDonald.” Unfortunately for Koreshkov, MacDonald is booked against his former opponent Douglas Lima, as the two are set to fight for the Bellator welterweight title in January.
A fight against MacDonald would promise fireworks as the two are known for their ruthless style. There’s a strong chance Koreshkov may get his chance against MacDonald next, as the former champion is certainly either next in line for the shot, or set to fight the loser.
James Gallagher out of Bellator 187 in Dublin due to injury
Irish fans will have to wait a little longer to see James Gallagher fighting on home soil after Gallagher suffered a knee injury in preparation for his main event fight with Jeremiah Labiano in Dublin next month. This bad news was first reported by MMAFighting.com.
The 20-year-old from Strabane co. Tyrone who trains in the famous SBG gym with Conor McGregor and Gunnar Nelson among others has set the featherweight division alight since joining Bellator in 2016. James “The Strabanimal” Gallagher has gone 3-0 with all three of his wins coming by rear naked choke.
After submitting Chinzo Machida, the brother of former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida in Madison Square Garden Gallagher has become a budding star for Bellator.
Due to the youngster’s attitude and potential, many comparisons between Gallagher and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor have been made by the fans and media which has made Gallagher one of Bellator’s most recognizable names. This notoriety has ultimately led to the young Irishman getting a chance to headline in Dublin this November but this injury has delayed his rise for the time being.
Gallagher on social media Thursday stated that he has suffered an injury to his PCL and LCL in his knee and would be out for the remainder of the year. He has assured fans we would return next year and carry on where he started with “The Jimmy show.”
His longtime rival AJ McKee, who has engaged in a Twitter war with Gallagher after his last fight, will now headline Bellator 187 in the 3 Arena in Dublin on November 10th against Gallagher’s SBG teammate Brian Moore. Moore will be making his third appearance for Bellator in this featherweight clash.
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