Raphael Davis knocking the stuffing out of Myron Dennis @ Bellator 53
— BELLATOR 52 —
Bellator 52 featured the quarterfinal matches of their Tubbyweight Tournament.
Ron Sparks vs. Mark Holata
Sparks via KO, 1:24 of Round 1
~a ton more gifs and highlights after the break~
Blagoi Ivanov vs. Zak Jensen
Ivanov by Submission (Guillotine) 2:35 of Round 2
You might recognize Ivanov as the swarthy Bulgarian that beat Fedor in Sambo back before beating Fedor was cool. The dude has made a nice transition to MMA, and his skills are evident here against human punching bag Zak Jensen. Ivanov is one of the smallest guys in the tourney, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in speed, technique, and grappling skill. Out of all the guys in the tournament, I think he has the best chance of dethroning Cole “Honey Badger” Konrad. For that reason alone I hope he wins. He may look old as hell, but he’s only 25 and I can’t wait to see how his game develops.
Neil Grove vs. Mike Hayes
Hayes via split decision
Even though the damage was evident on Hayes’ face, and most of the gifs feature Grove on the attack, those moments were too few and far between. Hayes was channelling Machida at his most unwilling to engage, using infrequent in-and-out single shots and occasional takedowns. But that was more than Grove was willing to do. Don’t know what Grove was thinking. Anyway, Hayes ended up breaking his orbital bone, putting him out of the tournament. His replacement is Thiago Santos (seen below @ Bellator 53) who was Ivanov’s original opponent, but couldn’t attend due to visa issues.
Abe Wagner vs. Eric Prindle
Prindle via unanimous decision
Wagner is probably most known for beating the shit out of Tim Sylvia… nah he’s probably best known for that nasty cut he got on TUF 10 where you could see his skull. He’s not a great fighter, but he’s a tough dude, and gutted through a pretty brutal fight here. Prindle hurt him a couple of times with nasty body shots and combos.
— BELLATOR 53 —
Bellator 53 featured the semifinals of the season 5 Welterweight tournament
Ben Saunders vs. Luis Santos
Saunders via submission (Americana) 1:45 of Round 3
Killa B is my boy. The dude always delivers awesome fights. This one didn’t go down the way I thought it would, but it was still fun as fuck to watch. I figured it would be a brutal striking battle, with both guys taking major damage, but for some reason Santos decided to make it a ground war and ended up getting pwned pretty hard. You would think that after getting your ass handed to you for 2 rounds by a guy fighting off his back that he would have changed his game up or something, but no. Saunders put on a grappling clinic, effectively utilizing rubber guard (see, it works sometimes!), and put Santos out of the tournament without taking any damage. I know some of you guys aren’t BloodyElbow fans, but it was cool to see Ben give his fans at BE a shout-out before the fight. LETS MUTHERFUKERS!
Douglas Lima vs. Chris Lozano
Lima via KO, 3:14 of round 2
Now that’s a fucking highlight KO. I love those knockouts where the guy looks like he got shot.
Lima knocks out Lozano’s tooth.
This is a fight that appeals to everyone. Stand ‘n Bang but with clean technique. Lozano is no joke (though he did look tiny next to Lima) and brought the fight to his opponent like he always does. Lima had his number though, countering effectively, and landing the bulk of the hard shots before knocking Lozano out.
Ronnie Mann vs. Kenny Foster
Mann via submission (Triangle Choke) 3:51 of round 1
Thiago Santos vs. Josh Burns
Santos via submission (RNC) 2:23 of round 1
Big Monster easily dispatches Burns.
Luis Nogueira vs. Zak Laird
Nogueira via submission (Guillotine choke) 0:51 of round 1
A.J. Matthews vs. Rudy Bears
Matthews via unanimous decision
Nice back and forth striking battle, with A.J. landing the harder shots more frequently, and some impressive knees.
Emanuel Brooks vs. Greg Scott
Brooks via TKO, 2:40 of round 2
It’s hard to gauge how good EJ Brooks is at this point since this was only his 4th fight (and it was Scott’s pro debut) but FUCK he looked good. Not a lot of striking on display but his wrestling and GNP were on point. He landed some nasty body shots and elbows on Scott on the ground, and he repeatedly had him in submission holds. He needs to work a bit on his finishing skills, but credit also goes to Scott for taking that beating for so long. Brooks is one to watch.