Bellator returned to Atlantic City, New Jersey on Friday night (Nov. 15, 2013) with Bellator 108 from the Revel Casino on Spike TV. The card was headlined by a debuting Quinton Jackson who faced Joey Beltran at a 210-pound catchweight tilt.
Jackson was expected to fight Tito Ortiz in the main event of Bellator 106, but Ortiz's neck injury forced Ortiz from the card and "Rampage" was reassigned as the main event for the Revel Casino card. On the bright side, Jackson was able to pick up the victory with a knockout late in the first round (view highlights here).
So without any further ado, let's talk about last night...
The "Rampage" that came to Atlantic City...
So if there's one thing that fans can agree upon, it's that Quinton Jackson's career is quickly coming to a close. That's just a fact. He was bounced from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) after an unsuccessful final run where he dropped his last three fights in the promotion.
At the Revel Casino, "Rampage" had difficulty finding Beltran's range as the "Mexicutioner" circled away and tried to fight from the outside. At one point, a frustrated "Rampage" threw his hands in the air, begging Beltran to engage.
And even the final sequence that ended the fight (.gif here) wasn't spectacular as it seemed like a bit of an early stoppage. But for Jackson, a win is a win and he claimed after the fight that he finally has love for mixed martial arts (MMA) again and is finally training hard.
It's clear that Jackson will be ending his career in the Bellator cage. He never really had a passion for training, just fighting, so it's probable that his final few bouts will be matchups to showcase the "stand & bang" and out of shape version of Jackson instead of a fighter who is well-rounded and in shape.
The Russian invasion continues...
The fight between Vitaly Minakov and Alexander Volkov for the Bellator Heavyweight title did not disappoint. If there is one thing that Bellator does incredibly well, it's that matchmaker Sam Caplan has a knack for finding some of the best talent in eastern Europe and Russia.
Minakov is undefeated with 12 of his 13 wins coming by stoppage. His credentials in Sambo put him in an elite class of grapplers and his knockout power is without question. That he made beating Volkov look easy speaks volumes to his skills as a fighter.
If there is one complaint to be made, it's that the heavyweight division as a whole in MMA is so shallow that Minakov's skills seem wasted against the likes of Vinicius Quieroz and Ron Sparks. Just like when Cole Konrad was the Bellator Heavyweight champion, it's likely that finding worthy opponents will prove extremely difficult.
Patricio is a "pitbull"!
Watching Patricio Freire fight is an absolutely treat. As one of the top featherweight fighters in Bellator, he's the very definition of violent. In fact, it's almost beastly with how he just destroys his opponents. Last night's bout with Justin Wilcox was no different.
Wilcox had an enjoyable, albeit a bit disappointing run in Strikeforce, where he competed in the lightweight division. He was seen as having a pretty decent upside as they matched him up with the likes of Jorge Masvidal and Gesias Cavalcante. He wasn't a world beater but he was a serviceable fighter.
"Pitbull" needed just half of the first round to make Wilcox look like a complete amateur and win the Season 9 Bellator Featherweight tournament. That win also secures him a shot at new champion Daniel Strauss, who he's defeated in the past.
Like Minakov, Freire's talents are wasted in the Bellator featherweight division when potential match ups with Jose Aldo and company await in the UFC.
- Marcos Galvao gave my favorite post-fight interview ever. I don't have any idea what he said but he sure seemed to be making a brilliant point in all of his rambling.
- The Tom DeBlass that defeated Jason Lambert was the one people expected when he signed with the UFC. Hopefully his head is back in fighting and he'll be able to continue his winning ways because I really enjoy his brand of violence.
- I'm bummed about Kevin Roddy being submitted by Will Martinez. I used to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Roddy at Kurt Pelligrino's school in New Jersey and I always enjoyed his way of teaching.
- Whoever cut the commercial for the X-Box One game "Ryse" should be fired. Having a fighter say "just like them [gladiators], this sport has taken years off my life" is perhaps the worst thing that could have been said in light of the recent string of articles from The Star Ledger.
- Overall, it was an enjoyable night. The fighters that impressed the most were Galvao, Freire, and Minakov. Their performances were overshadowed by Jackson's debut, but that's just the reality of big name draws in MMA.
Make sure you check out all of MMAmania.com's Bellator 108 coverage right here.