Bellator MMA returned for the second week of season nine on Spike TV last night (Sept. 13, 2013) in Uncasville with the featherweight tournament quarterfinals.
At one point, Nunes was considered a top 10 fighter in the world at 145 pounds and had gone to a decision in each of his last 11 fights against top UFC and WEC competition. That didn't matter one bit to Pitbull, who patiently waited for an opening, avoiding "The Gun's" spinning kicks and landed one clean right hand just 75 seconds into the bout to knock Nunes' lights out.
Freire will move on to the semifinals where he'll be the prohibitive favorite to win the entire tournament.
Advancing to face Pitbull was top Brazilian prospect Fabricio Guerreiro, who defeated Desmond Green via unanimous decision in the tournament quarterfinals. Guerreiro outworked Green on the feet and managed to work some decent positions on the ground, throwing knees to the legs whenever they clinched.
Green tried to game the system, scoring a takedown in the final 10 seconds of both the first two rounds, but the other 4:50 of the round he was too sloppy with his striking and overall too tentative.
Guerreiro played it safe in the third round, giving it away to Green, who didn't fight with a sense of urgency thinking his do-nothing takedowns had sealed it for him.
In a fight most would like to forget, veteran light heavyweight Vladimir Matyushenko defeated Houston Alexander via unanimous decision. Alexander was extremely tentative, similar to his fight against Kimbo Slice, refusing to engage and actually letting Matyushenko be the aggressor. Matyushenko won the rare scrambles on the ground and held a striking edge, with neither man threatening a finish.
The less said about it the better.
In the most exciting bout of the night, Justin Wilcox mounted an extraordinary comeback against Akop Stepanyan after absorbing a hellacious amount of leg kicks and punches in the opening round. Stepanyan had Wilcox badly limping after scoring a leg kick that nearly flipped him completely.
Wilcox was limping badly after eating a few more low leg kicks to open the second and ate a huge kick to the back of the head which opened up a horrific cut. Despite the damage taken, he gained top position when Stepanyan was off balance and took his back during a scramble. With the dominant position attained, Wilcox latched on a rear naked choke and kept squeezing until Stepanyan was unconscious.
Opening the main card was a featherweight attraction pitting hometown favorite Joe Taimanglo against Englishman Andrew Fisher. There wasn't much to say about this one as both fighters looked like they didn't belong in a featherweight tournament. Taimanglo was too small, likely better suited for the next bantamweight field, while Fisher just didn't have the talent to use any of his physical gifts.
Despite being an entire head taller than Taimanglo, Fisher hunched down and surrendered his reach advantages, rarely landing jabs or straight punches. The bout was more of a glorified sparring session and Taimanglo's aggression helped him secure a unanimous decision victory.
Taimanglo will face Wilcox in the semifinals (commission permitting).