Sometimes all the pieces are put in place but they fail to come together. And sometimes… kapow. Bellator’s “Summer Series” tournament quarterfinals played out tonight at Bellator 46 on MTV2, and with a badass in each bracket – some of them highly-touted – the pieces were put in place. The result: kapow. For our summer MMA enjoyment, we got to see a former Sengoku champ, a Bellator tournament winner, a Brit stud and a killer jiu-jitsu black belt perform masterfully. Here’s how it went down.
Going in to their bout, you knew Brit star Ronnie Mann had the advantage over Adam Schindler when it came to stand-up technique. That knowledge did nothing to lessen the shock of seeing Mann completely dust the American when fists were flying, though. In the opening seconds the two traded blows and took turns knocking each other’s heads back, but it was Mann who had the straighter punches, and they began finding their mark more and more – and opened the door for a blazing left hook that tagged Schindler on the chin and sent him falling to the canvas. The follow-up hammerfists sealed the deal, rendering Schindler unconscious at 4:14 of the first round and sending Mann into the semifinals in impressive fashion.
Things didn’t go quite as planned when Nazareno Malegarie tossed his hat into the last featherweight tournament, so tonight he got his Mulligan against a green Jacob DeVree and he sure made the most of it. The Argentinean wasted no time flexing his jiu-jitsu black belt muscle, going for an arm-in guillotine for about the entire first minute of the opening round. DeVree escaped, but found himself either defending a heelhook or stalemated. Round 2 was more the same, with Malegarie attempting another guillotine and pretty much making DeVree’s life hell with positional dominance. The key to success is quite often persistence, and Malegarie’s persistence manifested in another arm-in guillotine attempt in the third – which yielded success in the form of DeVree’s tap out at 1:25 in.
He may not have gotten the finish, but top ten featherweight Marlon Sandro certainly fought like a boss in his pairing against fellow Brazilian Genair da Silva. For three rounds the Nova Uniao black belt employed ultra-crisp boxing to keep da Silva backpedaling (of course, stumbling da Silva with a right hand in the first helped plant that seed of fear). Da Silva fired back with kicks, yet his punches grew more and more wild as Sandro’s measured assault took its toll, and in the third round Sandro scored a takedown that only further stressed his dominance. Unfortunately, the decision – in Sandro’s favor – was inexplicably a split one, meaning that one judge actually saw the bout 29-28 in da Silva’s favor. How? I have no idea. Thankfully, the right fighter won, so no one needs to be taken behind the shed and executed.
At this point, you might be worried that there will be no American’s making it out of this featherweight tournament’s quarterfinals. Fear not, because Pat Curran’s got it covered. Taking on Peruvian striker Luis Palomino, Curran initially looked to be playing his usual methodical counter-fighting game. But not long into the first round he dropped his opponent with a well-timed punch, and the subsequent ground attack had him going for a D’Arce, then finding the tap out with a Peruvian Necktie (do you think Curran was cognizant of the irony?). It was all over at 3:49 of Round 1, and now Curran joins Malegarie, Sandro and Mann in what’s shaped up to be a fantastically compelling tournament.