The over achieving Bellator offering last night was full of stoppages, great fights, and culminated into a changing of the guard. Scott Coker’s first offering since taking over the reigns of the promotion provided an epic night of fights for fans. Every single fighter that was promoted other than Pat Curran picked up the victory and furthered Coker’s promotional promise to bring Bellator to new heights.
But what did the stacked card teach us that as MMA fans we already didn’t know? Surprisingly a decent amount of new knowledge was spewed out of the event. Here are the 5 things people can take away from last night.
1. Cheick Kong has become a diversified Mixed Martial Artist
Kongo scored his first legitimate submission victory not due to strikes for the first time in 11 years by defeating fellow UFC veteran and heavy handed striker Lavar Johnson last night via rear naked choke at 3:27 of the first round. He is now on a two fight winning streak after knocking out his opponent before Lavar, Eric Smith in one round at Bellator 120.
Cheick will hit the age of 40 next year but has never really showed fans and media alike much more than his dominating striking ability, clinch game, and the occasional take down that normally leads to a stand-up. Cheick’s ground game has always been his achilles heel in his arsenal but such may not be the case anymore.
No Lavar Johnson is no Frank Mir on the ground but a submission win shows that Kongo has learned from his mistakes of old and has grown to establish in other minds that he should be taken seriously in all facets of where the fight can go.
2. Same with Bobby Lashley
Lashley is the reigning Total Nonstop Action Heavyweight Champion and he chooses to compete from time to time in mixed martial arts. However too is getting close to 40 at age 38 right now and even at 11-2 he has shown that he can be diverse in his fighting style.
In those 11 wins he has 2 knockouts, 6 submissions and 3 decisions and last night he sank in a sweet standing rear naked choke against the obviously overmatched Josh Burns.
Bobby went out and started things like he normally does, a hard take down, some transitions then worked for a ground and pound stoppage however this time he paced himself and didn’t gas out or even look winded for that matter. Now he is riding a 4 fight winning streak and it will be exciting to see what Bellator has planned for the full time Pro Wrestler next.
A rematch with “Colossus” James Thompson perhaps? Bobby lost to Thompson 2 years ago in the main event of Super Fight League 3.
3. The “Barn Cat” is back
Tamdan McCrory has been out of the sport of MMA for 5 years but it seemed like the former UFC fighter had fought only a month and half ago.
“I may have been away for 5 years but I haven’t been just sitting on my couch drinking beers” said McCrory in his post fight interview. His training he has been doing since he’s been off came to fruition last night.
He returned in emphatic fashion beating the brakes off of Bellator Season 9 Middleweight Tournament winner Brennan Ward and knocking him out in only 21 seconds.
Tamdan was 3-3 in his time spent in the UFC but looked like an absolute world beater last night with crisp striking and convincing combinations that brought him to the spectacular knockout finish. Whatever he has been doing to improve his game in the last 5 years he should keep doing it. The little nerd that could keeps improving and maybe a date with Bellator Middleweight Champion Alexander Shlemenko is in his near future.
4. King Mo will smash the tomato cans
Przemyslaw Mysiala, Seth Petruzelli and now Dustin Jacoby have all fell victim to King Mo’s Bellator “Who is he again?” tomato can smashing list. Mysiala was an unknown and disposed of early, Petruzelli derailed the Kimbo Slice hype train but couldn’t produce the same results against Mo and Jacoby was the “outstanding” Glory Kickboxer that was supposed to be a dangerous test for Mo.
King Mo TKO’d him in the second round last night, and time will tell if the 1-5 Glory Kickboxer will stick around in Bellator. Mo needs to stop being fed guys that are tailor made to boost his ego.
Time will also tell if Mo will be granted an opportunity at a worthy opponent once more.
5. Changing of the guard and changing of the promotion
In a rematch of a battle of pure brutality Patricio Freire won a unanimous decision and dethroned long time Bellator staple and former Featherweight Champion Pat Curran and a new age for the title and a new age for Bellator was formed. This is the recent trend in the Bellator promotion that began with an unforeseen upset.
It all started when Will Brooks defeated Michael Chandler at Bellator 120 on Pay-Per-View in a monumental upset, then Scott Coker took over operations of the promotion and now a new Featherweight Champion.
Chandler and Curran have been major factors in taking the promotion to the heights that it is today, and now Scott Coker will inherit those guys and the men to dethrone them in his task to bring his promotion to the top. After a monumental first offering, all eyes are on Coker and Bellator to see what happens next.