Once more Bellator was the only MMA offering on television this weekend, so once more are we able to focus our attention on the biggest non-Zuffa organization out there. In this week’s installment, we were witness to this season’s tournament finals in both the featherweight and light-heavyweight division, plus we got a taste of things to come in a qualifying match for a future 185-pound tournament.
French striker Karl Amoussou entered into the cage staring down Sam Alvey and eager for a slot in Bellator’s upcoming middleweight tournament. And after a first round that saw Amoussou land lightning-like kicks, employ explosive judo trips and utilize hellacious ground and pound to turn the fight into a bloodbath, he looked well on his way towards taking that spot. Unfortunately for him, Alvey proved to be resilient, and with slightly sharper hands and a wrestler’s keen ability to reverse on the mat, the American began to rack up points as Amoussou slowed. The final seconds of the bout had Alvey on top throwing fists, and when time ran out the judges awarded him the close split decision.
Last week, Michael Chandler showed us how to defeat a “Pitbull” brother, which involves combating top-level jiu-jitsu and crushing Muay Thai with unrelenting boxing and superior wrestling. So when Daniel Straus entered into the cage to face Patricio Freire for this season’ featherweight tournament final, the big question was: Could Straus do the same? Um, no. Where the older, larger Patricky fell short, the 145-pound Patricio excelled, and he was able to match the American’s Greco-Roman lovin’ with enough freestyle wrestling to put Straus down repeatedly. Sure, Straus had his fair share of hip tosses, but Freire was instantly back up every time, and his striking advantage had him way ahead on the scorecards. When time expired there was no doubt Freire had take the unanimous decision.
Rich Hale is a big guy who cuts to make the light-heavyweight. Christian M’Pumbu – a Congolese-born fighter who calls France home – doesn’t cut any weight and walks around at a fighting weight of about 198 pounds. Theoretically, that size advantage would make for one heck of an obstacle for the lighter man. No one told that to M’Pumbu, though. Wielding the kind of striking skills most dream of possessing, the smaller competitor dodged Hale’s punches with concise head movement, walked through Hale’s kicks, and dropped the American with a precision dose of knuckles to the chin in the first round. Hale likely stole the second frame by virtue of his forward motion and M’Pumbu’s failure to land a strong counter-punch, but there was no doubt about the victor in the third. With impeccable timing and accuracy, M’Pumbu tagged Hale on the chin late in the final round, and the subsequent storm of punches had the referee stepping in at 4:17 of Round 3. With the win, M’Pumbu took top honors in Bellator’s light-heavyweight tournament, and earned the distinction of being Africa’s first MMA champ.
- Christian M’Pumbu defeats Richard Hale via TKO (Punches) at 4:17 in Round 3
- Patricio Freire defeats Daniel Straus via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Sam Alvey defeats Karl Amoussou via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Shawn Jordan defeats John Hill via TKO (Punches) at 1:56 in Round 1
- Luis “Sapo” Santos defeats Nicolae Cury via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Tim Ruberg defeats Mike Fleniken via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Rene Nazare defeats Kelvin Hackney via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 4:46 in Round 1
- Joseph Abercrombie defeats Ben Parpart via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 1:11 in Round 1