Bellator Fighting Championships was at it again last night (May 11, 2012) with Bellator 68 from Caesars Hotel and Casino from Atlantic City, N.J., with the continuation of the Bantamweight tournament and a Featherweight tournament finals bout between Daniel Straus and Brazilian bomber Marlon Sandro.
If fans were expecting the typical Marlon Sandro performance, they were left with befuddled looks after a by-and-large perplexing showing by the powerful striker. He was constantly put in rough positions by Straus over the course of three rounds, and was even outstruck at times by the American.
Straus' pressure-based attack was on in full force, which never allowed Sandro to get anything going on his feet, always trading just long enough to set up the next clinch or takedown attempt. Straus did a terrific job of keeping Sandro guessing and wary of throwing his heavy strikes for fear of being dumped on his back.
Sandro's only major threat was a standing arm triangle choke that he attempted in the third round for nearly two full minutes, but he simply couldn't finish it off as Straus defended it well and then slammed him to the canvas after escaping.
The judges awarded the victory and the tournament title to Straus after three hard-fought rounds, earning him the $100,000 check you see above.
The rest of the night featured some interesting action, too. Check it out:
In bantamweight tournament semifinal action, Marcos Galvao continued his resurgent run with a unanimous decision victory against cagey veteran Travis Marx. Galvao pressed the action for much of the fight, moving forward constantly with heavy punches, but it was his kicks which were the difference.
The Brazilian connected time in and time out with his kicks to both the legs and body, staggering Marx by the end of the fight with his nasty inside leg attacks. To his credit, Marx fought back valiantly, never giving up and constantly working for takedowns, although he almost never put the Brazilian on his back other than one or two times for only a few seconds.
In the end, it was all about Galvao landing with more power and being more effective as he swept the scorecards with a unanimous decision victory.
Lightweights Marcin Held and Derrick Kennington stepped up to the main card when Seth Petruzelli was a late scratch due to illness and they did not disappoint. Kennington nearly finished it early after solidly connecting with a huge uppercut in the opening seconds.
Held survived and while his stand-up attack was extremely sloppy, it gave him all the opportunity he needed to close the distance, pull guard and force the bigger, stronger Kennington to tap out in the first round.
Lastly, the main card opened with a rematch between welterweights Waachiim Spiritwolf and Marius Zaromskis, which had been 1.5 years in the making after a six second eye poke forced a no contest the first time around.
This time, Spiritwolf looked to clinch and wrestle early but Zaromskis was game and fended him off with knees, punches and kicks.
In the second round, Zaromskis appeared to be in full control of the tiring Spiritwolf, even opening up a big cut after a series of knees but the Native American bounced back, trapping Zaromskis against the fence and unloading with a huge flurry of punches that hurt the Lithuanian and sent him reeling to the canvas.
Spiritwolf lunged into Zaromskis' guard and dropped punches and elbows, riding out the round in top position. The fight looked to be coming down to the deciding third frame, but shockingly, the cageside physician stopped the fight between rounds, awarding Zaromskis a technical knockout victory.
The worst part was that the bleeding had been stopped for Spiritwolf and he seemed perfectly fit to continue. That makes it two straight Zaromskis vs. Spiritwolf fights which have ended in controversy. It appears we're destined for a third fight.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Were you perplexed by Sandro's ineffectiveness throughout the night, or was that more of a credit to Straus' performance? Do you think Marcos Galvao is the man to beat in this bantamweight tournament? Do you want to see Spiritwolf vs. Zaromskis 3?
For complete Bellator 68 results and detailed round-by-round commentary of all the televised fights as well as the main event click here.