Connect with us

Bellator

Bellator 146 – A Chance for the Women’s Featherweights to Impress

Published

on

Blencowe Bellator

Bellator roll into Thackerville, Oklahoma on Friday night for Bellator 146. The event is headlined by a clash between middleweight superman-punch-sensation Hisaki Kato and Melvin Manhoef. While that bout could have future title implications for the winner, there are two fights on the prelims that will help shape the future of another division.

Powerful Australian Arlene Blencowe faces Gabby Holloway, while featherweight standout Julia Budd tests herself against Brazilian prospect Roberta Paim Rovel. Three of the women are already in the top ten at 145 pounds. Rovel would also slingshot herself into the rankings with a win this weekend.

It is a big night for all four women, in very different ways, and a chance for Bellator’s featherweight division to make a statement.

Blencowe (6-5) faced a massive step up in competition at Bellator 141 back in August against Marloes Coenen. On that night, the former Stikeforce bantamweight champion and clear number two featherweight in the world, was too much for Blencowe to handle. The loss snapped a four fight win streak that had seen the Australian stop Invicta FC title challenger Faith Van Duin, and one of the division’s most experienced fighters Adrienna Jenkins.

Sporting one of the best nicknames in MMA, “Angerfist” is a talented boxer with an ever improving ground game. Victory over Holloway on Friday would move her to 2-1 inside the Bellator cage, and give her a second top-ten scalp to add to that of Van Duin. Importantly, it also keeps Blencowe in the hunt for a title shot, with Bellator expected to crown their first women’s featherweight champion some time in 2016.

Gabby Holloway (5-3) took her Bellator debut on only 10 days notice in February. Facing Julia Budd without a full camp was always going to be a tall order, but Holloway managed to take the top-three featherweight the distance before losing by unanimous decision.

Holloway moved back into the division’s top ten with a win away from the Bellator cage, over Andria Wawro in September. Now she will be keen to show what she is really capable of when she faces another highly ranked opponent at Bellator 146.

While Blencowe and Holloway will be looking to move back into contention, and right the wrongs of previous fights when they face off in the cage, Julia Budd (7-2) will have the added pressure on Friday night of knowing she is probably only one win away from being in the first ever Bellator women’s featherweight title fight.

As the clear two and three in the division, Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd were the first two signings announced by Bellator when the weight class was added by the company. They have been on a collision course ever since, with both winning their respective Bellator fights to date. Budd is on a five-fight winning streak, while Coenen has submitted both Annalisa Bucci, and Arlene Blencowe inside the Bellator cage. A title fight between Coenen and Budd in 2016 would be a mouthwatering prospect.

Before that can happen though, Budd has to get past Roberta Paim Rovel (4-0). The Brazilian prospect has perhaps the greatest opportunity of all on Friday. A win over Budd would turn the untested “Crusher” into a major player at 145 pounds. This is a gigantic step up in competition, but Rovel is an accomplished grappler who has shown all round improvement, both physically, and in terms of skill-level in each of her four fights to date.

While the opportunity for each of the four individuals is considerable, there is also a collective chance to prove people wrong.

Main card space for Bellator is limited, and finding the right spots for the right fights is not as easy as it seems. The company has eight divisions that could be considered truly active, with moves also being made to introduce fights at both women’s and men’s flyweight too.

By comparison the UFC have ten active weight classes already. They have run 35 shows so far this year, with six more to come before 2015 is over. Bellator 146 will be only Bellator’s 15th event of the year.

With only so many spots to go around, invariably it has been the women’s featherweights who have missed out since the division was introduced in 2014. Both this weekend’s bouts feature on the preliminary portion of the card, and even Marloes Coenen who is Bellator’s most notable women’s featherweight star, only found her way onto the Bellator 141 main card when a bout between Raphael Butler and Lorenzo Hood was cancelled last minute.

Bellator 146 on Friday is a chance for four talented fighters to impress in a way that forces the company to invest in the division. That means pushing for more fights, and as importantly, more fights in front of big television audiences on Spike.

If Bellator are to crown their first women’s featherweight champion in 2016, giving fans a reason to care about the division is going to be key. Two exciting fights on Friday would be a big step towards making that happen.

Onnit Primal Bells

Bellator

Bellator: Selecting the Four Alternates for the Heavyweight Grand Prix.

Published

on

With an 8-man tournament bracket full of legends and former champions, join us as we chose four alternates for the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix.

Main Tournament Participants:

  • Fedor Emelianenko
  • Frank Mir
  • Chael Sonnen
  • Quinton Jackson
  • Roy Nelson
  • Matt Mitrione
  • Ryan Bader
  • King Mo Lawal

The alternate tournament bracket will consist of: two opening round fights (semi-final), and then two victorious fighters competing against one another at the finale (final). This will determine a worthy contender to step into the main tournament bracket, in case any of the main bracket fighters are injured in their semi-final bouts.

If a pull-out or injury occurs before the opening bouts, I believe Bellator have to select the most decorated fighter, and a natural heavyweight fighter. So in case of a pull-out occurring before the opening round, I would select my #1 alternate, and so on for any more opening pull-outs.

This structure covers all bases, and keeps the Bellator Heavyweight Tournament intense and prestigious.

So with the structure laid out, here is our selected alternate fighters.

  • #1: Vitaly Minakov
  • #2: Linton Vassell
  • #3: Attilah Vegh
  • #4: Emanuel Newton

Alternate Opening Round [Semi-Final]:

  • Bout 1: #1 Vs. #3
  • Bout 2: #2 Vs. #4

Alternate Final:

  • Victor of Bout #1/#3 Vs. Victor of Bout #2 Vs. #4

Linton Vassell vs. Emanuel Newton would be a trilogy that needs to be completed. Linton dominated on the ground for the most part of their first bout, but felt he gave up positions he felt he could have held longer, and took needless transitions and risks; allowing for a very sneaky Emanuel Newton to escape the clutches of ‘The Swarm’, and when the gas tank begins to empty – a scrambling Emanuel Newton is not what you want!

Fighter bios:

Vitaly Minakov: A former Bellator tournament winner, and former Bellator heavyweight champion. A Judo black belt, and multi time Sambo world champion, there’s no denying this man’s resume as one of the best put forth out of these 4 fighters.

Linton Vassell: A man who really lives up to the moniker – ‘The Swarm’, Linton Vassell has dominated and dispatched various opponents Bellator have put across from him. Having fallen short in two title fights, and a close decision loss to King Mo, Linton has shown that he’s there with the best Bellator has to offer, maybe the Heavyweight Grand Prix might see the dark-horse finally come into the lime-light! Currently contracted to Bellator with a 7-3 record for the promotion.

If you would like to follow the Bellator Heavyweight Tournament, you can check out the opening round bouts on the following Bellator MMA events:

Emanuel Newton: Already holding two victories over King Mo, who’s allocated in this Heavyweight main tournament bracket – that alone is just cause to enter Emanuel. An exciting and unpredictable entry this would be. Bellator parted ways with Emanuel in 2016. Currently, Newton is not on the best of runs, but this tournament needs a ‘wild-card’, and Emanuel owns that title.

Attilah Vegh: A former Bellator LHW champion. Not currently signed to Bellator. Was strangely released in 2014 after having a record of 5-1 with the promotion, and some victories over some very reputable names. Currently on a 2 fight win-streak outside of Bellator MMA.

If you would like to follow the Bellator Heavyweight Tournament, you can check out the opening round bouts on the following Bellator MMA events:

 

Bellator 192 at The Forum – Jan. 20, 2018: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (37-12) vs. Chael Sonnen (30-15-1)
Bellator 194 at Mohegan Sun Arena – Feb. 16, 2018: Matt Mitrione (12-5) vs. Roy Nelson (23-14)
Bellator at Allstate Arena – April, 2018: Fedor Emelianenko (36-5, 1 NC) vs. Frank Mir (18-11)
Bellator at SAP Center – May, 2018: Ryan Bader (24-5) vs. “King Mo” Lawal (21-6, 1 NC)

Onnit Primal Bells
Continue Reading

Bellator

Exclusive: Hisaki Kato: “My priorities are in MMA”

Published

on

French-Japanese middleweight Hasaki Kato returns to the Bellator cage Friday as he takes on former welterweight Chidi “Bang Bang” Njokuani. Ahead of the high-level striking match-up, Kato took the time out of his busy schedule to speak with MMA Latest.

Rangy striker Njokuani makes his middleweight debut Friday as he looks to erase his loss to Andrey Koreshkov from recent memory. It isn’t lost on Kato just how tall and lanky the 6’3 striker truly is. “Well he’s very tall,” Kato tells MMA Latest. “He was a welterweight but even for a middleweight he’s really tall he’s like 6’2, 6’3 taller than me, longer reach than me. Obviously, I was watching his fights, he’s fighting with range and using his reach to fight so that’s his number one weapon.”

In Njokuani’s last fight, Koreshkov, the former welterweight champion, held Njokuani down and elbowed him until the ref stepped in. So what exactly went wrong in the fight? “Well, first I think Koreshkov is really, really strong,” Kato explains. “Chidi Njokuani normally escapes the ground part or at least he’s on top of his opponent. But Koreshkov has good pressure and good grappling and he could take the top position. Obviously, Njokuani is not comfortable when he is on the bottom. So yeah, I think he couldn’t play his game during the last fight because Koreshkov was putting too much pressure on him.”

Former UFC fighter, Gegard Mousasi, recently made his debut against Alexander Shlemenko back in October. The Dutchman had a tough debut that resulted in a controversial decision win, Kato weighed in on whether or not he’s eyeing a fight with him and what he thought of his Bellator debut. “If I have an offer I will fight him,” he says without any particular enthusiasm. “I will fight everybody in the division. Yeah, for the last fight, well, I think luckily for him it was a three-round fight. I think if it was a five round fight the victory would have gone to Shlemenko. I don’t know maybe he had a bad camp, I don’t know but he was doing terrible.”

Kato also believes a title shot isn’t far away. “I believe I’m really close to that (a title shot),” he says. “After the win, after the Gracie fight, even if it was a decision win, the Gracie is a big family name so I was expecting a title fight. I didn’t have it so I guess if I win this time I have a good chance to have it.”

Whatever you do, don’t expect to see Kato back in a kickboxing ring anytime soon. Does it interest him to return? “Not really,” Kato replies after giving the question some thought. “If the offer is good then why not, for now, I feel more comfortable in MMA so my focus, my priorities, are in MMA.”

Many fans were very disappointed with the way his last fight turned out. Paired up against jiu-jitsu fighter, Ralek Gracie, Kato ended up going to the judges for the first time in his career. “Yeah the fight itself was really frustrating,” Kato admits. “I couldn’t do what I wanted and after two rounds, I knew I had done enough to win, and I knew he would push more. So I decided ‘yeah ok then it’s going to a decision’ but at the very least I had to win that fight.  That’s why I didn’t take too many risks in the third round. During the first and the second, I really wanted to end that fight like I always try but I couldn’t do it.”

So why hasn’t Kato fought since January? “I had an offer in September,” he says. “But I got injured during the training and had to go into surgery, and after the surgery, the process is really long to recover so that’s why.”

So what does Kato predict for the fight? “Obviously his nickname is ‘Bang’ you know, he likes to fight and that’s all I like doing too,” Kato laughs. “I’m really thinking about having a big knockout with my hands.”

Onnit Primal Bells
Continue Reading

Bellator

Exclusive: Fernando Gonzalez talks Paul Daley and Michael Page fights

Published

on

Long-time Bellator welterweight contender, Fernando Gonzalez, has made a career out of fighting the best fighters his promotion had to offer. The always tough Californian has displayed this willingness to fight the best when he took on Paul Daley in a kickboxing match and when he took on Michael ‘Venom’ Page, in what was supposed to be Page’s coming out fight.

The kickboxing match with Daley happened back in 2015 at “Bellator MMA and Glory: Dynamite 1” in an event that featured both Glory kickboxing as well as its fair share of intriguing Bellator MMA fights. Gonzalez would go on to lose the fight in what many fans called a ‘lackluster’ contest. Speaking to MMA Latest, Gonzalez was asked if he had any interest in returning to the kickboxing ring and why he participated in Glory kickboxing.

“No. Honestly, that kickboxing match was more just to get Daley; because they kept trying to give him to me on short notice and one was on an injury,” Gonzalez told MMA Latest. “So I was like, ‘no I don’t want to give him an easy win’, but the only thing they came up with was that kickboxing match in that time. So ever since that fight, I was like ‘listen dude lets do this MMA’. I’m an MMA guy, I know how to kickbox and I’m good with it but I prefer MMA. I love doing MMA. I don’t like to have too many rules put on me. I like being able to go out there and flow freely. Honestly, I want Daley in an MMA fight so he gets the real fight.”

Gonzalez’ fight with Michael Page was booked as the veteran getting fed to the younger up and coming contender. The fight was Page’s opportunity to add another highlight reel knockout to his collection. Obviously, someone forgot to tell Gonzalez. Gonzalez went out and made sure he never gave Page any openings, unfortunately, he would go on to lose the fight by split decision. Fernando explains what went wrong in his only Bellator loss.

Honestly the only thing that went wrong in the fight is how people viewed the fight”, Gonzalez explains. “If you really look at the fight he really didn’t land anything. The whole first round they’re talking him up, how he’s dancing and how it’s putting me into a lullaby and this and that. I was never in danger. He was not throwing a single punch. This is MMA, you cant just take on the fight with one style, you have to fight different styles for different people. If it was just boxing, you would fight a boxer just one way realistically, but Michael Page has the karate style. So you have to come up with a different formula if you’re going to fight somebody like that.”

“So my style with him, I knew that he’s used to everybody rushing him and trying to take him down. I’m a striker so I don’t mind striking. If I’m not in danger then I’m going to keep it striking. So what I did was I circled, I kept him at arm’s length, so he constantly had to throw long arms where he’s having to reach out and grab you. He’s throwing those arms out, that makes him have to basically hold his arms out a lot longer than he’s used to. He’s used to guys rushing in on him. So with me playing that outside game, obviously my legs are a lot longer than my arms, so I had to throw a lot more kicks, there was a lot of head kicks to take away his power-punch where he leaps in. By doing that, that made him work a lot longer in the second and third round where he’s normally finishing guys. By that third round, he was completely exhausted and couldn’t throw. He said his timing was off and this and that, but he was just exhausted. I had already gassed him out and he had just enough to stay away from me.”

“Really it’s just how you see the fight. They automatically assumed I had to take him down to win and that’s not necessarily true. If I’m not in danger, and I’m landing kicks, and I’m landing good shots, and he’s hitting my arms. Realistically most of the shots he landed were on my arms and that really doesn’t count. So it’s really just how you see it and that’s why one judge had it 30-27. It’s just how you’re seeing the fight. If you’re a striker you would know what you’re looking at, but if you’re a ground guy, of course, you’re going to say ‘oh I got to get it to the ground’ which is what the commentators were; two ground guys talking about what I should’ve done.”

Onnit Primal Bells
Continue Reading

Trending