Last Friday's (April 20, 2012) Bellator 66 event is in the books and with the bye week this week, I wanted to dish out my final thoughts on the event while they're still fresh.
I was fortunate enough to be cageside for the show, which took place a just about 90 minutes from me at The IX Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
Overall, I felt the event was pretty solid. There were upsets, a few lackluster fights and some wild and crazy finishes. It was a well-balanced night of action
Posted after the jump, I've got some assorted newsworthy tidbits taken from the press conference, talks with fighters and much, much more:
It may have looked like Falcao started it because the cameras cut to the near-brawl late, but it all began during the staredown between the tournament finalists. Just like he did against Brian Rogers at the weigh-ins, Spang shoved Falcao first. Obviously, Falcao wasn't gonna take that lying down and he nearly threw a punch, instead throwing a knee in short quarters as Spang tried to throw a kick before they were separated. Ohio State Athletic Commissioner Bernie Profato got in Spang's face and gave him a piece of his mind. Later, alongside Matt Bishop, Profato told us that he offered Spang a deal. He could be fined $50 and get a six month suspension (thus missing the tournament finals), or he could be fined 20 percent of his fight purse (which was $15,000 to show and $15,000 to win) and promise no more shenanigans. Spang obviously took the latter.
Eddie Alvarez has one fight left on his contract, but it's on a time limit which expires this year
The way Alvarez's contract works is he has one more fight on it under Bellator, but there's also a date as well. If he has that fight, the contract is over. If that date passes, the contract is over even if he doesn't have his last fight. My assumption is that Alvarez will sit out until his contract expires, similar to what Hector Lombard did earlier this year. He wasn't making chump change with Bellator either, the commission reported he was paid $50,000 to show and $50,000 to win for his fight against Aoki this past Friday night. If he signs with the UFC, will have to be willing to pay him more than that, probably a lot more otherwise he'll stick around in Bellator.
Shinya Aoki said he'd like to fight again in Bellator
When asked during the post-fight press conference about his thoughts on the fight, he was very succinct, replying that Alvarez fought well and he'd like to be back. I asked him if that meant he'd be willing to compete in the next Bellator lightweight tournament, but Aoki just smiled and said he doesn't know about that yet. Take that however you like.
Brent Weedman's eye will be fine and lightweight tournament final will go as planned
If you watched Weedman's fight against Thiago Michel, you may have noticed he had some major swelling directly under his right eye. I spoke with him after the post-fight press conference and he said it was just a soft tissue injury and he didn't have a broken orbital or cheek bone thankfully. Once the swelling goes down, he'll be good to go for the finals although he'll be sporting quite a big black eye for the foreseeable future.
Bjorn Rebney was not impressed at all with the light heavyweights
There were two light heavyweight fights on the preliminary card for Bellator 66 which featured two men (Attilah Vegh and Marcus Vanttinen) who had already been previously announced as members of the next Bellator Summer series 205 pound tournament. Vegh squeaked by with a ho-hum split decision and Vantinnen lost a ho-hum split decision and neither looked impressive at all. There's a possibility that Rebney was so disappointed by their debuts in the promotion that he won't be bringing them back for the tournament.
Rick Hawn looks untouchable at lightweight
The former judo Olympian was good at welterweight, advancing to the finals of the season four tournament, but at lightweight, he's been a wrecking machine. He's now faced two men in Ricardo Tirloni and Lloyd Woodard who were some of the sleepers to win this whole tournament and he's knocked them out clean. Hawn's power has translated incredibly well to the new weight class and if Brent Weedman isn't careful, he's going to be another victim. I hate to look ahead, but I'm already fantasizing about how awesome of a fight he could give Michael Chandler for the title.
That's all the key points I had for the event.
Was there anything else that stood out to you, Maniacs? I didn't see the live broadcast on MTV 2 so maybe you guys have a unique perspective on this.
Speak up if so!