I had strongly considered renaming this column Break It Down after the DX jokes in the comments of my last piece, and I am stoked that we have some attitude era wrestling fan readers, but my editor has let me know our insurance will not cover giving birth to any hands, plus for legal reasons you can’t mention Katie Vick. Now on to the important stuff…are you ready? Then I’ve got two words for ya…
Zuffa is taking a short break from live shows, so to speak. With the focus shifting to the new season of TUF and no other big cards on the horizon, Bellator plans to make the most of this lull in the action and returns tonight with Bellator 60. Featuring a featherweight title-fight between Joe Warren and Pat Curran, as well as the quarterfinals of their Season 6 featherweight tournament, the popular performance-based MMA promotion promises to make their premiere one to remember.
It should be noted that after the weigh-ins, which featured four fighters missing weight, there were some shake ups made on the card. Tournament competitor Genair da Silva missed the featherweight limit by four pounds and was given two hours to lose more weight but unable to do so. Replacing him in the tournament is fellow 145er Kenny Foster. Foster’s original opponent, Bobby Reardanz, also missed weight, and at this time it is unknown if he will remain on the card and face Da Silva as has been rumored. The originally scheduled preliminary bout between Eric Oria and Lance Surma was also cancelled after it was revealed that Oria had a warrant out for his arrest. Oops!
Despite the shake-ups tonight’s fights look to be exciting, and a great way to spend a Friday night outside of TUF or Tachi Palace Fights, of course. Without further adieu here is my breakdown of the card. Break it down! Da-na-na-na, bow ba bow bow.
Bobby Reardanz (8-10) vs. Genair da Silva (11-4)
Since I’m a optimist I’ll pick this fight even if it’s not official just in case. In the event that this bout takes place it is a major mismatch. Bobby “The Believer” has submission skills but is largely untested as a fighter, and an opponent such as da Silva would be a huge step up. Look for “Junior PQD” to work his exceptional striking to make quick work of Reardanz.
Winner – Genair da Silva defeats Bobby Reardanz via TKO Round 1
Shamar Bailey (13-5) vs. Josh Shockley (8-1)
Recent UFC castoff Shamar Bailey returns to the cage for the second time in 2012. Coming off of a win over Darrell Smith in January, Bailey looks to build some momentum towards a Bellator tournament slot or perhaps even a return to the UFC. Shockley, a fellow Indiana native, looks for his second Bellator win. The well-rounded fighter has only suffered one loss in his career. While Bailey has good wrestling, I think there is a pretty good chance that Shockley shocks him with his striking and ground game.
Winner – Josh Shockley defeats Shamar Bailey via TKO Round 2
Sean McCorkle (15-2) vs. Richard White (15-12)
“Big Sexy” wants back in the UFC, and will fight anyone and everyone to get there. Undefeated since his UFC release, Sean McCorkle has already won twice this year and looks to make it six in a row. White is 2-10 since 2010 but he basically needs a miracle in this 280 pound catchweight fight. This just really seems like a mismatch to me, sorry “Big Man”.
Winner – Sean McCorkle defeats Richard White via Submission Round 1
Anthony Gomez (5-1) vs. Travis Wiuff (65-14 1 NC)
Anthony Gomez returns to MMA for the first time in nearly two years. Riding a five fight win streak he faces the biggest test of his career in Travis Wiuff. Wiuff, who feels he’s the uncrowned Bellator light heavyweight champ after his victory over current title-holder Christian M’Pumbu, looks to win this fight and earn his way into the next 205 pound tournament. While Gomez is a promising prospect, I feel ring rust, as well as his lack of experience, will be his downfall against the veteran Wiuff.
Winner – Travis Wiuff defeats Anthony Gomez via Unanimous Decision
Cory Galloway (0-0) vs. Jake Nauracy (0-0)
A fight between two guys I know almost nothing about! Great! I’ll go with stats here. Galloway is 4-0 as an amateur with two submissions and two decisions, though based on video footage he is relatively underwhelming at this point. Nauracy is 8-0 as an amateur, with seven submissions and one TKO which he scored in eleven seconds. All of his finishes have come within the first three minutes, so I’ll say he wins here in his professional debut, in under three.
Winner – Jake Nauracy defeats Cory Galloway via Submission Round 1
Jeremy Spoon (12-0) vs. Daniel Straus (17-4)
With eight submissions to his credit, the undefeated “Spooner” fights for the third time in Bellator. Relatively unknown amongst MMA fans, Jeremy Spoon looks to continue his undefeated streak and make a big statement in this tournament.
Daniel Straus is the darkhorse in this tournament. 13-1 in his last 14, the strong, grinding fighter looks for redemption after coming up short in the featherweight tournament finals in Season 4. In general, Straus is a terrific wrestler who has really been working on his overall game.
I expect this fight to spend more time on the feet than most would expect, but ultimately the bigger fighter, Straus, will take Spoon down again and again and grind him out for the full fifteen.
Winner – Daniel Straus defeats Jeremy Spoon via Unanimous Decision
Alexandre “PoPo” Bezerra (12-1) vs. Kenny Foster (9-5)
“PoPo” is a bad ass Brazilian dude. The always dangerous prospect has great striking and strong submissions, and, with seven straight victories since his lone career loss, “PoPo” is looking to continue his streak of violence in Bellator.
The lucky man (or unlucky man, if you will) of the night is Kenny Foster. Stepping in for Da Silva, “The Tooth Fairy” is seeking his first win in a year. With three straight losses, two in Bellator, the well-rounded fighter will attempt to prove his worth against a favored opponent.
Unfortunately for him, I feel he falls short to Bezerra. “PoPo” is just too dangerous and too powerful in the striking and submission games. Foster is going to get hurt early and tap to whatever he gets caught in afterwards.
Winner – Alexandre Bezerra defeats Kenny Foster via Submission Round 1
Mike Corey (11-2-1) vs. Ronnie Mann (21-4-1)
Relatively unknown lightweight Mike Corey makes the drop to 145 for his big shot in the Bellator tournament. Originally an alternate, he steps in for injured Wagnney Fabiano and looks to make the best he can of this opportunity. Corey most recently went to a draw with Chris Horodecki in November and is need of scoring a big win tonight to establish himself as a threat.
Former Summer Series tournament fighter Ronnie Mann returns to the cage for the first time since an October victory over Foster. The strong striker, who also possesses great BJJ, faces a stiff challenge in the bigger, stronger wrestler, Corey, but has no worries going into this fight and may very well add to the Bellator highlight reel while advancing in the tournament.
Corey could very well win this fight. He’s big, powerful, and a very solid grappler. However, the weight cut could be an issue, as could be his conditioning. I expect Mann to use solid footwork and jabs to keep his distance. If Corey can continuously get a hold of Mann, he may find a way to win a decision, but in the end I think Mann finishes the fight within the distance.
Winner – Ronnie Mann defeats Mike Corey via Submission Round 1
Marlon Sandro (20-3) vs. Roberto Vargas (12-1)
Barely having blown out the 35 candles on his birthday cake, world-renowned fighter Marlon Sandro finally returns to the Bellator cage. Widely regarded as the favorite in this tournament, the violently powerful striker is one of the best featherweights on the planet. The Sengoku veteran, and former Bellator tournament finalist, is seeking redemption, planning to make his way through everyone who stands before him.
Across the cage from Sandro, Roberto “Beto” Vargas is no slouch. With six straight wins behind him, the Millennia MMA fighter has all the momentum he needs going into this quarterfinal bout. A balanced fighter, with the ability to finish a fight wherever it may go, Vargas faces a tough test, and is aiming at staking his claim for the Bellator featherweight title with an upset victory over his Brazilian adversary.
Vargas hasn’t looked spectacular in his last couple of fights, but I do imagine he fairs well against Sandro. That said, I believe Sandro is a few levels about Vargas and should be able to light him up on the feet likely en route to a knockout or TKO. However, just to be safe I’ll go with a decision here.
Winner – Marlon Sandro defeats Roberto Vargas via Unanimous Decision
Joe Warren (7-2) vs. Pat Curran (16-4)
“The Baddest Man on the Planet” hasn’t necessarily lived up to his nickname as of late. Warren, as he is better known, is the Bellator featherweight champ and tried to win the bantamweight belt as well but fell short to the fists of eventual tournament finalist Alexis Vila. Warren is a powerful Greco-Roman wrestler and has great clinch work, but he is notorious for being a slow starter and his chin is questionable.
Largely coming into his own during his Bellator stint, two-time Bellator tournament champion Curran is rabid for a belt and plans to take Warren’s by any means necessary. After knocking Sandro’s head off last year Curran will attempt to do the same to Warren and has made no secret about his intentions. Well-rounded with knockout power, passable wrestling, and excellent submission skills to his credit, the 24-year old has the tools to make a lasting impression in the MMA world.
Warren has a lot to prove in this fight. Many have questioned his MMA potential following some less than stellar performances, as well as his knockout loss at Bellator 51. The keys to victory for him will be to utilize is Olympic level wrestling abilities while working some dirty boxing and clinch-technique. Still, Curran has youth, striking, and submission advantages on his side. To win, Curran needs to stay away from Warren’s clinch and just rip him apart on the feet. Originally I believed Curran would have to win early or else face a long, grinding decision, but after more thought I think his youth and technical prowess will guide him to victory. He has the tools to finish it early, and if he doesn’t, he has the tools to go the distance with Warren. I think we’re looking at a brand new Bellator champion tonight.
Winner – Pat Curran defeats Joe Warren via Submission Round 2
Despite a shaky build to the fight night, Bellator is back and promises an action packed 2012, starting with tonight. The preliminary card goes down live at 6pm EST on Spike.com, and the main card actions starts at 8pm EST on MTV2 in the U.S. and on TheScore.ca in Canada. The card also replays on The Score in Canada on Saturday night. Don’t overlook this card, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
Enjoy the fights!
PHOTO CREDIT – BELLATOR