Bellator 48, which aired from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut last night (August 20, 2011) is officially in the books. The promotion held its featherweight "Summer Series" finals last night.
And boy did it deliver.
It was dramatic, it was unbelievable and it was a typical Bellator "moment" that one can expect at just about every event the promotion puts on.
The fifth ranked featherweight in the world, Sandro, had jumped ahead on the cards with his aggressive striking, constantly pushing forward with leg kicks, uppercuts and his overhand right that repeatedly found a home slipping past Curran's guard.
He'd opened a nice cut on Curran's left eye and was pressing the action right before the fight ending kick happened. "Paddy Mike" had incredible killer instinct, quickly pounding and dropping three strikes on the ground as Sandro's arms dropped to his sides to earn the knockout victory, the right to challenge for the Bellator title and his second $100,000 prize.
The rest of the main card had similarly electric moments as well:
Bellator heavyweight champion Cole Konrad was unfairly criticized during his stint in the promotion in 2010 for his reliance on the ground game. The national champion wrestler at Minnesota fought all seven of his career's professional fights that year and five of them took place in the Bellator cage.
After taking 10 months off while waiting for an opponent in a non-title fight, Konrad made his return against former UFC and Strikeforce heavyweight title challenger Paul Buentello last night. The dominant wrestler surprised many, especially Buentello, by standing with him for two-plus rounds, working a snapping left jab and keeping "The Headhunter" at bay with his reach.
Buentello was confounded for two rounds and rarely engaged his heavier foe, earning the ire of the fans in attendance. When Buentello finally began to open up in the third, he was dropped by Konrad in an exchange and pounded on the ground for much of the round to lose a unanimous decision. The fans didn't appreciate it but Konrad has obviously put a lot of emphasis on improving his striking during his long layoff. It will be interesting to see how he continues to develop his skills as the Bellator heavyweight division deepens.
In what many expecting to be an exciting bout, former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez took on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veteran Seth Petruzelli at a 230 pound catchweight fight. Rodriguez showed up with considerable excess flab and looked slow and sloppy, repeatedly getting tagged in exchanged with "The Kimbo-slayer."
Near the end of the first round, Petruzelli blasted "Suave" with a spinning back kick and followed it up with a huge right hand that dropped the former champion. After some quick ground and pound, the fight was stopped and he was ruled the victor, earning him another feather in his cap outside of the UFC and halting Rodriguez' 12 fight winning streak.
In his post-fight speech, Petruzelli promised that he was going to compete in the next Bellator light heavyweight tournament and win the title there. Christian M'Pumbu had better take notice.
In the opening bout of the evening, Rene Nazare put a shellacking on Juan Bennantes in the stand-up exchanges and on the ground. Despite being an extremely highly credentialed submission artist, Nazare swarmed his opponent with heavy strikes. By the end of the second round, Bennantes' right eye was nearly closed shut from all the damaging blows and the cage-side physician stopped the fight before the third round could begin, giving Nazare a TKO victory
It was an impressive showing on a night of solid performances by multiple fighters.
For complete Bellator 48 results and detailed round-by-round commentary of all the televised fights click here.
So who impressed you the most tonight, Maniacs?
Was Curran's head kick KO a shocker? What about Seth Petruzelli halting Ricco Rodriguez's huge run?