Bellator Fighting Championships continued its seventh season last night (Oct. 12, 2012) with a thrilling main event and the kickoff of its featherweight tournament quarterfinals.
The headlining bout of the evening featured former Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez versus powerful Brazilian Patricky Freire. Both men were lethal strikers and they lived up to every single expectation in a barnburner of a one round fight.
Alvarez clocked Pitbull with his first big left hand, but just as he went in for the kill and lowered his defenses, the Brazilian popped back to his feet and nearly leveled him with a right of his own followed by a ferocious flurry of punches and knees.
Always showcasing tremendous heart, Alvarez hung tough and survived the onslaught only to get the last laugh as he threw a perfectly timed head kick that put Pitbull down for good, cracking him in the side of the head just as the Team Nogueira fighter was leaning to his right.
It was the final fight of Alvarez's Bellator contract and it's very likely he'll be heading elsewhere, but his sendoff with the promotion could not have been better.
In featherweight tournament action, inspirational story Rad Martinez made his tournament debut against two-time tourney veteran Nazareno Malegarie in what would go on to be a very entertaining back and forth battle.
While Martinez was known more for his wrestling and Malegarie for his jiu-jitsu, neither man put forth considerable effort to take the fight to the ground, instead electing to stand and showcase their improved stand-up skills.
Malegarie got the better shots in early, but Martinez made up for it with power, loading up on his left hand and nearly flooring the Argentinian on multiple occasions whenever it connected solidly. By the end of the first round, Malegarie was a bloody mess.
Despite slowing down a bit in the second, Martinez gritted his teeth and dug deep to finish strong in the third round, again scoring with heavy strikes on the feet to hurt Malegarie and finishing the fight with a takedown to seal the deal. Martinez would advance to the semifinals via unanimous decision.
Former IFL champion Wagnney Fabiano also made his Bellator debut last night against tough Russian Akop Stepanyan. Fabiano made no bones about his strategy, shooting in for a takedown immediately although not being able to secure it. Eventually, he put Stepanyan on his back with a trip from the clinch and it was only a matter of time from that point.
After passing guard and working his way to mount, Fabiano dove for an armbar and must have had Stepanyan's arm fully extended for nearly a minute before finally torquing it just right and forcing the tap.
Former Marine Mike Richman would have had the highlight of the night had it not been for Alvarez. Just 23 seconds into his bout against scrappy wrestler Jeremy Spoon, he floored him with a head kick to the top of the head. After one or two follow-up punches, the referee intervened. It was yet another dominant performance from the Minnesota fighter, who burst onto the scene with an obliteration of Chris Horodecki earlier this year.
Lastly, the first featherweight quarterfinal fight between Cody Bollinger and talented Russian kickboxer Shahbulat Shamhalaev was held on the undercard but was deserving of a mention. After a brief stand-up exchange, Shamhalaev found himself in top position on the ground and he reluctantly dove into Bollinger's guard.
It seemed like a pretty bad idea at first as Bollinger completely shut down his offense with rubber guard and even briefly threatened with a gogoplata but after finally getting comfortable from top position, Shamhalaev began unloading with ground and pound. This wasn't a flurry of blows, it was massively powerful shots being thrown one at a time and they were taking their toll on Bollinger.
Eventually, Bollinger wilted, turning away from the punishment and Shamhalaev turned it on, forcing the referee to put a halt to the contest at the end of the first round.
So what was your take from last night's event, Maniacs?
Were you impressed by this fantastic featherweight field? What was your thoughts on the main event between Alvarez and Pitbull?