Tonight I went to the Bellator 33 event in Philly. I was real excited and was hoping to see some good fights, and the night did not disappoint.
Rick Hawn, who has world class judo, made his Bellator debut. I had never heard of him before tonight but he won pretty impressively. The guy he was fighting, some black guy named Lavar or Lavon I believe, was winning for most of the first round. Granted it was close, but had it gone to the cards he should have gotten it 10-9. Hawn through a high kick that Lavar caught and dropped Hawn. Unfortunately for him, he decided itd be a good idea to hand a judo olympian his arm while trying to get his back. Oops. Hip toss, GnP, TKO. Textbook. This kid Hawn is gonna be somebody to watch at 170 if he can improve his stand up a little bit.
Ben Askren is INCREDIBLY boring to watch but the kid has some tremendous wrestling. He mustve had mount on Lyman Good for about 18 minutes of the 25 minute fight. Couldn't finish though and, disappointingly, wasnt really trying. Good mustve offered him an arm triangle on a silver platter at least 5 times, but Askren was content to just lay on him. In the 5th round Good caught Askren right on the jaw with a real nice upkick and almost locked in a Triangle/Armbar (i.e. Werdum) but it didnt work out and Ben Askren is the new Bellator WW champ. As boring as he is to watch I have to give credit where credit is due - Good knew exactly what he was going to do and still couldnt stop his takedowns.
Eddie Alvarez dominated Roger Huerta. Outstruck him big time in rounds 1 and 2. But Huerta has some heart and some chin because he would not stop moving forward and attacking Alvarez. He made the fight interesting; at any moment Huerta couldve landed a shot that turned the whole fight around. However, after the second round it looked as if Huerta wasnt gonna make it out of his corner for the third and my prediction was right as the fight was called after 2 rounds. Alvarez was punishing Huerta with leg kicks, it looked like Huerta was having a hard time standing, let alone walking back to the dressing room.
During the Alvarez fight they showed Frankie Edgar on the screen and so me and my friends decided to see if we could get down to cageside and meet him. With very little effort we were able to get close to him and get handshakes and pictures. He was at the fights with Kris McCray, who was a great guy. So was Edgar, but he was mobbed with people trying to meet him so he was pretty brief with everyone he spoke to. The card had some other fights after the Alvarez fight which I thought was a little odd, including one with Luiz Azeredo, one of the few men to legitimately beat Anderson Silva (he won btw). My friends and I watched the Azeredo fight from the 2nd row, I was sitting directly behind Kris McCray, who was on his phone the entire time.
We moved closer to the entrance ramp after that fight, and I was able to speak to Joe Warren a little bit. He is legitimately one of the nicest people I've ever met. He said that his next fight was going to be on the Dynamite card in Japan on New Year's Eve. Right now they are in talks to get him a rematch with Bibiano Fernandes, though thats not set in stone yet. I was also able to talk to Chris Weidman a little bit, the new Ring of Combat MW champ. I know Chris a little bit from training back at home on Long Island, but had never gotten the chance to have an actual conversation with him since hes lightyears ahead of me in all aspects of the fight game and therefore we dont cross paths much in the gym. He alluded to the fact that he might be headed to a bigger promotion soon. I asked him when he thinks his first title defense might be and he said that he might be going somewhere bigger before that even comes up. Hopefully the UFC, because this kid is an absolute stud and I think could make some waves. Maybe not a title challenger yet, but soon enough.
Ben Askren, his brother Max who recently won his weight class at NCAA Nationals, and Eddie Alvarez all walked by and stopped and said hi to everyone who was around. Askren looked BEAT UP, Good definitely got the better of the few stand up exchanges. His brother Max was apparently very nice to my friend who wrestled in high school; I was talking to Joe Warren at the time so I didnt get a chance to speak to him. Before we left I was able to say a quick hello to Ricardo Almeida, who was cornering one of the fighters in the last bout of the night. I had met Ricardo before and he's a great guy. I would have loved to have spoken to him longer but it looked like he was in a hurry to get back to the dressing room with his guy.
Overall it was a great night. I never expected to meet any fighters when I first got to the arena, and I ended up meeting a top 5 pound for pounder, a top 10 featherweight, a TUF finalist, and a few others who are sure to be big names in the sport soon enough. I can't wait to go to another event soon. Hope you enjoyed the read maniacs. Deuces.