Bellator Fighting Championships offered its latest event last night (Fri., June 22, 2012) with Bellator 71 from the Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort in Chester, West Virginia. It was a night of solid action with plenty of finishes, including every main card bout.
In fact, of nine completed contests, only one went to the judge's scorecards, with four of them never making it past the opening round.
The event was headlined by Travis Wiuff and Chris Davis squaring off in a light heavyweight quarterfinal bout in the promotion's "Summer Series" tournament. Wiuff continued his winning ways, as he knocked Davis out in the opening frame of a bout that started off slow but ended with a bang.
After both came out hesitant, with neither willing to take a chance, the tide quickly turned in the waning moments of round one as Wiuff landed a takedown and proceeded to deliver blow after blow to the side of Davis' head that put him out cold. Thankfully for Davis, the referee intervened and put a halt to the action before he took further damage.
Afterwards, Wiuff had some words for the rest of the division, including the 205-pound champion, Christian M'Pumbu, whom Travis owns a win over already.
"I'm ready to go, I want that belt. I want to be up on that banner. Christian, I'm coming for that belt. These guys can't handle my pressure. These guys can't stop a nosebleed. Now they're going to try to stop my takedowns? Not going to happen."
The action didn't end there, however, as the rest of the fights proved to be entertaining, including the undercard which was an all out jiu-jitsu clinic.The co-main event of the evening featured two strikers in the form of Attila Vegh and Zelg Galesic looking to stake their claim in the 205-pound division.
Both fighters came out aggressive and eager as they exchanged strikes. After a brief scramble on the ground, Galesic rushed towards Vegh like an angry bull, looking to keep the pressure. "Cumuli" stayed composed, however, and blocked the attack from the Croatian and answered with a short right hand of his own. Vegh wasted no time in going for the kill as he quickly sank in a deep rear-naked choke that forced the tap from Galesic and extended his win streak to six straight.
Last minute replacement Tim Carpenter, who stepped in for Rich Hale after he came down with an illness, made the best of his opportunity as he put a halt to Beau Tribolet's seven fight win streak with an impressive submission victory after a slow start to the action. Carpenter seemed the aggressor for the majority of the fight as Tribolet never offered much offense except for some shining moments when he managed to get in Carpenter's guard and rained down some ground and pound action.
That, however, proved to be the beginning of the end for Tribolet as Carpenter took advantage of a lapse of concentration, immediately grabbed on to an arm and displayed his impressive jiu-jitsu skills with a very tight armbar that forced the tap in the second round.
Rounding out the main card action, Emanuel Newton continued his winning ways as he defeated promotional newcomer Roy Boughton on with an impressive rear-naked choke of his own early in round two. From the beginning, it was clear who was the stronger of the two as Newton took Boughton down at will repeatedly in the opening round including a big slam that would make Quinton Jackson proud.
In the opening moments of round two, Boughton came out the aggressor and looked to mount some offense early, but Newton kept his composure and landed another takedown. This time, he would not allow Boughton back to his feet as he sunk in the rear-naked choke which forced the tap.
In undercard action, former Strikeforce Heavyweight contender Brett Rogers ended his losing streak as he picked up a much needed win against former training partner Kevin Asplund. Though it wasn't his best performance, "Grim" managed to batter and bruise Asplund's face to the point that his left eye was completely swollen shut. After doctors determined his eye was too damaged to see out of, they put a halt to the action, not allowing Asplund to answer the call for the third round.
In the end, it seemed the two friends turned bitter rivals buried the hatchet with a warm embrace and some nice words afterwards.
Josh Stansbury, Jason Butcher and Neil Johnson showed off their ground skills as they ended their respective bouts pretty quickly with impressive submissions in the form of a guillotine, triangle and rear-naked choke, respectively.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Were you surprised by all the finishes? Who impressed you the most last night? Can Rogers make a title run in Bellator? Who will be the one to dethrone the Light Heavyweight champion M'Pumbu?