Another week, another hilarious Bellator heavyweight story. As it is on every Friday, Bellator is back, this time in Texas with Bellator 62 where the promotion kicks off the Season 6 lightweight tournament with a few familiar faces and a few new cast members.
Before we get started here, in case you didn’t already know, the previously announced Season 5 heavyweight final Eric Prindle vs. Thiago Santos has once again been cancelled, this time due to Santos’ inability to make weight. After last week’s disaster, which included a sick Prindle and an overweight Santos, the Brazilian came in over eleven pounds heavy. As a result, the bout was not only cancelled, but the tournament has been awarded to Prindle by default. Prindle receives the remaining cash in the $100,000 prize and an upcoming title shot at Cole Konrad. What a perfect end to the disastrous Bellator heavyweight tournament, no?
Okay, take a moment to catch your breath, and on with the show!
Dave Jansen (16-2) vs. Jacob Kirwan (9-3)
Submission specialist “The Fugitive” Jansen makes his third Bellator appearance on the preliminary card. The M-1 and WEC vet looks for his third straight victory after two losses cost him his spot in WEC. With submission skills of his own, “The Hunter” Kirwan looks to make good on his name, tracking down “The Fugitive”. The one-time Jake the Snake Promotions fighter looks to make a serious statement in his second Bellator fight. While this fight does carry several unknown factors, I expect “The Fugitive” keeps his freedom for yet another day, scoring a submission over “The Hunter”.
Winner – Dave Jansen defeats Jacob Kirwan via Submission Round 2
Steven Peterson (6-1) vs. Chris Jones (0-0)
Well-rounded fighter Peterson makes his first appearance in Bellator since September 2010 on the strength of a four-fight winning streak. With half of his wins coming by submission, Peterson is clearly adept on the mat. In his professional debut, Jones faces a stiff challenge. Chris was relatively unsuccessful as an amateur, and even though it’s so early in his career he’s taking a step up from his appropriate level of competition. I don’t like to sell anyone short, but I think Peterson makes short work of Mr. Jones.
Winner – Steven Peterson defeats Chris Jones via Unanimous Decision
Joseph Daily (4-2) vs. Sean Spencer (7-1)
Trading wins and losses in most of his professional career, Daily looks for consistency in his Bellator debut. Not one to go to a decision, the Texan loves to scrap and hopes his opponents bring the same attitude into the fight. Spencer however, tends to favor going the distance. With four Unanimous Decision victories in his seven career wins, the Imperial Fight Management competitor has a grinding style, powerful hands, and the skills to pay the bills. While Daily is good on the ground, he has not really shown too much skill off of his back where he is likely to spend most of this fight.
Winner – Sean Spencer defeats Joseph Daily via Unanimous Decision
Rad Martinez (11-2) vs. Douglas Frey (10-7)
A totally radical professional fighter for over four years, Martinez may have one of the coolest first names in MMA. Known for heavy hands, and the ability to dictate the pace of a fight, Rad looks to make it 2-0 in Bellator in this preliminary bout. The Texan, Frey, has had a bit of a rough go of things in his MMA campaign. With just one win in his last four bouts, Frey, who often finishes his opponents, needs to put together some sort of streak if he wants to be relevant in his division. Rad has heavy hands, but Frey has only been TKO’ed once, so perhaps his chin is strong enough to survive the early onslaught. I see this likely going the distance, but for fun I’m calling it a TKO.
Winner – Rad Martinez defeats Douglas Frey via TKO Round 1
Sonny Luque (1-2) vs. Luis Vega (7-2)
Luque is 1-2 in his MMA career. One decision victory, two submission losses are not much of a resume to his credit. Sonny is a local boy, which explains his appearance on the card, but to me he seems very over-matched. Vega is on a six-fight winning streak, and four of those wins have been first round finishes. Forgive me for being so blunt, but seriously, what is this fight doing on a semi-major card?
Winner – Luis Vega defeats Sonny Luque via Submissions Round 1
Thiago Michel (9-2) vs. Rene Nazare (10-1)
In the first fight of the lightweight tournament, the devastating striker Michel makes his Bellator debut. With nine knockouts, six of which took less than five minutes, the kickboxer with particularly nasty knees looks for another quick finish and a chance to advance in the tournament.
Across from him is “The Brazilian Bomber” Nazare. With ten wins, only two having gone the distance, Nazare is a finisher of his own. He’s 3-1 under the Bellator banner, and the dude is just almost never in trouble in a fight. He has earned the nickname “The Brazilian Bomber” and he’ll look to cause some serious explosions on the chin of Thiago.
Call me crazy, but Michel is one underdog I would throw some serious coin on. With the sheer violent ability he possesses on the feet, I think he stands a fairly good chance to knock Nazare out very quickly. No matter how this fight goes, someone is being finished, and I think for the first time in his career it will be Nazare.
Winner – Thiago Michel defeats Rene Nazare via TKO Round 1
J.J. Ambrose (17-3 1 NC) vs. Brent Weedman (18-7-1)
15-1 1 NC in his last 17 fights, Ambrose is kind of a bad dude. He has only gone the distance four times in twenty fights and he was victorious in three of those bouts. Ambrose has some serious Muay Thai chops and he’ll have a significant advantage in the striking department despite giving up some reach.
Weedman is no stranger to Bellator fans. He is well-rounded, powerful, and has seventeen finishes in his eighteen wins. Despite dropping two straight fights under the Bellator banner, Weedman was allowed to take part in this tournament after moving down from welterweight to lightweight. A size advantage is one of his best weapons in this fight, and his tenacity just might carry him to the next round.
Weedman knows what he needs to do to win – use his size/reach advantage and fight smart. However, I think it’s more likely that he gets hit, gets reckless, and gets beaten. Ambrose may not be known to many, but he’s definitely someone to keep an eye on.
Winner – J.J. Ambrose defeats Brent Weedman via Submission Round 2
Rick Hawn (11-1) vs. Ricardo Tirloni (14-1)
Hawn is a beast. The Judo Olympian had a good run at 170 in Bellator, but fell short to Jay Hieron nearly a year ago. Making his return to the cage, this time as a TriStar fighter and at lightweight, Hawn will undoubtedly have a size advantage not to mention some new skills to demonstrate during the fight.
Having only suffered one loss in his career (to UFC lightweight kingpin Benson Henderson), Tirloni brings experience and technical prowess to the lightweight tournament. The Brazilian scrapper has finished all but two of the men he has defeated and can cause problems for anyone that has the misfortune of being locked in a cage with him.
This fight could very well be the most evenly-matched bout of the evening. If I could to throw down money on what would be Fight of the Night, this would be it. I like Tirloni in this tussle, big time. His grappling skills are far above average, and his experience could work out in his favor. Having said that, Hawn is damn good fighter and, should he show up completely prepared for this fight, he should be able to take the fight to Tirloni and at the very least win a close decision.
Winner – Rick Hawn defeats Ricardo Tirloni via Split Decision
Patricky Freire (10-2) vs. Lloyd Woodard (11-1)
In the new main event, one half of the amazing “Pitbull Brothers”, Freire, returns to the Bellator cage. Following a quick victory over Kurt Pellegrino, the Brazilian, who may be best known for turning Toby Imada into a zombie, looks to make his way back to the top and get his revenge against lightweight champion Michael Chandler.
With his only loss coming to the lightweight champ, “Cupcake”, as he is known, is looking to get back to his winning ways. An established grappler who is a little more than adept on the feet, Woodard is returning after nearly a year away from the cage and will no doubt seek to make short work of the tournament favorite en route to his exacting his own revenge.
Woodard needs to fight smart if he wants to win. It is no secret that Freire has the striking and power advantage and this fight is likely to stay on the feet for the most part. I expect a slow start, a scrappy brawl to ensue, and the “Pitbull” to devour the “Cupcake” by the time the curtain closes.
Winner – Patricky Freire defeats Lloyd Woodard via Knockout Round 2
With arguably the deepest talent pool in the whole promotion, the season six lightweight tournament has all the potential to steal the show. As always, the action goes down at 7:00 PM EST on Spike.com before the evening’s highlighted bouts head over to MTV2 (or TheScore.ca in Canada) an hour later. Enjoy the fights!