It was a busy Friday for Bellator MMA as they spent the day dealing with the unfortunate neck injury to Tito Ortiz that resulted in the cancellation of their first PPV, and turning it into a free event next Saturday night on Spike TV. This puts what is easily Bellator MMA’s best card on free TV and now more people will see the Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez rematch. Their first fight was easily one of the two or three best fights in MMA history. Hopefully Tito recovers fully from this injury it is always scary to hear about a broken neck. We wish him nothing but the best as he deals with this injury.
They also had a night of fights to put on as they presented Bellator 105 from the Santa Ana Star Center, Rio Rancho, New Mexico. The televised card featured the semi-finals of the lightweight tournament and three other featured fights. The first lightweight semi-final matchup featured Alexander “Tiger” Sarnavskiy taking on Ricardo Tirloni. In this fight Tiger got the first round finish taking virtually no damage at all. This is a key to the tournament format for Bellator as they are fighting potentially three fights in two months. You cannot do it any slicker and easier than Tiger did it on this night. He dropped Tirloni in the first eight seconds of the fight with a spinning back fist, followed him to the ground and dropped some power shots down. Tirloni was tough and somehow survived the onslaught but he was hurt and in trouble. From the top Tiger was methodically relentless with his ground and pound. He landed thudding shots both in and out of the guard. After eating a left hand Tirloni went to get up and Tiger quickly wrapped himself around the head and neck of Tirloni. At first Jimmy Smith thought this was mistake as Tirloni is a high level grappler. Smith quickly changed as Tiger slickly locked in a triangle choke. Tirloni bravely fought it off for fifteen seconds before finally tapping. In the finals he will take on “Ill” Will Brooks who avenged his loss to Saad Awad in the main event.
Their first fight was also in the semi-final of the lightweight tournament back in Feburary of this year. That one ended in quick first round KO by Awad. For this fight Brooks’ game plan was to smother Awad early, neutralize his power and wear him down. This is exactly what he went out and did as he never gave Awad a chance in this fight. He used his athleticism intelligently and controlled the distance of the fight. He grinded Awad down against the fence and worked him over in the ground when he got the takedown. It was a great adjustment that Awad had no answer for and he grew more and more frustrated as the fight progressed. By the third round he was screaming and swearing at Brooks out of frustration, who responded by taking him down again. It was a beautifully controlled performance by Brooks to advance to the finals. it will be an intriguing matchup with Tiger Saranvskiy in the finals of the lightweight tournament.
The other two scheduled televised fight were quick finishes. In the opening bout Eugene Fadiora controlled the fight against Keith Berry. Fadiora was effective in the first round at landing his strikes and then dancing away from Berry. He mixed in some takedowns and a little ground and pound leaving Berry’s face bloodied up by the end of the round. In the second round Fadiora came out targeting the cut over Berry’s left eye and peppered away at it. At the 3:21 mark of the second round in got another takedown right into mount. From there he worked Berry over until he ultimately pounded out the victory with his fists and elbows getting the TKO win in the second round.
They were followed by heavyweights Ron Sparks and Mighty Mo. This was a fight that had first round KO written all over it pre-fight. Instead we got the surprising first round submission win for Mighty Mo via a Keylock. Coming into the fight the two fighters had 10 KO/TKO’s and 1 submission win with 3 losses via submission between them. So to have the fight unfold almost completely on the ground was a little surprising as Sparks shot for the takedown in the opening moments of the fight. Mighty Mo stuffed and reversed it. He landed in side control and Sparks did a good job of neutralizing the damage and shutting down Mighty Mo’s ground and pound. Shwoing that he is not just a striker though, Mighty Mo methodically worked for the keylock submission. Once he locked up the left arm of Sparks with his legs, he then went for the keylock instead of the crucifix. Once he locked it into place and started to crank on it Sparks tried to defend it with just toughness and brute strength, but Mighty Mo was aptly named and too strong for him. Mighty Mo secured the first submission win of his career.
With those quick finishes they had time air the fight between featherweights Desmond Green and Angelo Sanchez in a bout from earlier in the night. Green effectively fought from distance and range to pick Sanchez apart in the first round. Sanchez grew more frustrated in the round as he continued to try to find someway to reach the longer and taller Green. He tried to use his kicks but Green effectively countered them with punches to the face, or catching them and dumping Sanchez to the ground. In the second round Green was even sharper as he was even more comfortable with Sanchez’ timing. He landed a step-in elbow that opened up one of the wicked and nastiness cuts you will see in combat sports. It was so bad the ringside doctor’s face told all you needed to know when he got his first good look at the cut. He said, “Oh damn” and took a breath, held it and puffed out his cheeks like someone does when something is really unpleasant but they have to deal with it. When he wiped the blood away and pulled at the skin it just split wide open and looked like someone had taken an axe to Sanchez’s forehead. There is no way they could let the fight continue and Green got the win via TKO in the second round
It was an night of exciting fights for Bellator MMA and now all eyes will be on them examining the fallout from the Tito injury. The immediate result is now Spike TV will be airing the greatest card in Bellator MMA history next Saturday night. All of here wish Tito Ortiz a speedy and full recovery.
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