by Adam Lawman
Last night Bellator completed their fourth season in the mixed martial arts realm and went out with a bang, on a great note in fact, that leaves us waiting for their Summer Series which starts about a month from now. The light heavyweight and featherweight tournament finals were held in addition to a middleweight bout for a spot in the next tournament for that weight class. The fights were extremely entertaining and featured one TKO as well as two close decisions. Bellator XLV (45) was a great way to culminate all the great moments that the promotion has given to MMA fans over the last two years.
The action began with a middleweight bout which would earn the victor a place in the next 185 pound tournament. Karl “Psycho” Amoussou and Sam “Smile ‘N” Alvey gave us a very good fight that saw the striking dominated by the Frenchman, Amoussou. There were some exciting moments of grappling where Amoussou’s judo skills impressed but Alvey showed some nice reversals and moves himself. While there were some great moments for each fighter, it still really wasn’t too close of a fight in my opinion. I felt that Amoussou did enough each round and dominated so well in all areas and that Alvey’s short periods of control and successful striking just weren’t enough to win.
The judges disagreed and awarded the fight to Alvey on a split decision. Two judges saw it 29-28 in favor of Alvey while only one judge called it 29-28 for Amoussou. Both fighters fought great fights however Amoussou fought a winning one. Many people spoke out on Twitter as well, upset with the decision. But in the end, the win will be added to Alvey’s record while Amoussou’s record now reads 1 win and 2 losses with a draw in his last 4 fights.
The second fight featured the final of the featherweight tournament and saw Patricio “Pitbull” Freire and Daniel Straus going toe to toe for a shot at the titleholder Joe Warren. The fight was an extremely close one and one that really put the judges to work more so than the first fight. The first two rounds ended with supersonic flurries of fury to actually validate the expression “ending the round with an exclamation point.” Or three.
The standup was controlled mostly by Freire who also utilized hard leg kicks to diversify his attack. Freire ended up taking home the unanimous decision with only one judge awarding a round to Straus. “Pitbull” also won a rematch with Joe Warren for the Bellator featherweight championship as well. The first fight was a good one and now that they have had time to let it soak in, we should see an even more electric battle this time around.
The final bout was the Bellator light heavyweight tournament final. Rich Hale who won his opening fight with a very .gif-worthy inverted triangle was up against a set of fists more powerful than his own; fists that were connected to the arms and vessel of Christian M’Pumbu. Hale got beat up for the good part of an almost full three rounds before getting crushed with less than a minute in the final frame. His skills of human pretzelism didn’t fare as well this time but he kept in the fight after being dropped a few times which shows his heart and toughness even in a loss. M’Pumbu was just too much and showcased his striking for most of the fourteen minutes.
No one proposed to anyone in the ring so it was sort of a letdown for me. (Sarcasm.) However, there was one moment that was fitting for MTV2 when the season 11 winner of America’s Next Top Model was seen cornering her fiancée Sam Alvey as well as thanked by him after the fight during his interview in the cage. So yeah, Bellator. You did it again.
In the words of adult swim’s Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim from Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job…”great job!”
(photo by Keith Mills for Sherdog.com)