Bellator Tournaments Roll On
The Bellator Tournaments this fall have been well represented by Northeast fighters. A few have won in the early rounds and are continuing toward their highest MMA paydays. So while Justin Torrey and Dez Green did not fare well in their opening rounds, Perry Filkins, Brennan Ward, and Anthony Leone each have scored early wins and are moving along to the next rounds…
Anthony Leone turned his struggling MMA career around in 2012 with three solid wins; his final win of that year was over former Bellator World Champion Zach Makovsky. Anthony kept the momentum moving with a win over Frank Baca in July in the opening frame of the Bellator four-man Bantamweight Tournament. In that fight, Leone was dropped in the first round, but looked to have things going his way in the third round as he locked in a submission for a win by RNC. “Man,” said Bombsquad coach Ryan Ciotoli. “Anthony has never been dropped like that ever. Not in practice; never. He (Frank Baca) really timed that one well.” The Team Bombsquad Bantamweight will meet Raphael Silva in the tournament finals on October 4th in California.
“Just watching Rapheal, he’s a big strong kid with a lot of experience,” said Ciotoli. “Anthony will be ready; I think this fight comes down to who has the best conditioning in the third round.”
Filthy Perry Filkins and Brennan Ward have been running parallel paths for some time now. Filkins fights out of Team Link, Hooksett; Ward trains at Tri-Force in RI. The two each fought their way to the top of the regional Middleweight rankings; they each made their Bellator debuts on the same card, winning in Rhode Island on Bellator 81. Last week, both Ward and Filkins scored impressive wins in the opening round of the Bellator Middleweight Tournament at Bellator 98.
In Connecticut last week in a battle of the new versus the old, Brennan Ward put on a solid performance against Springfield FAA’s Justin Torrey via a second round TKO. Torrey was somewhat of an unknown to many fans new to the NorthEast, as he hadn’t fought in more than three years. Coming undefeated at 7-0 (or up to 9-0, including some “unsanctioned” fights), Torrey was a bit out gunned by the younger Ward. Ward closed Torrey’s eye in the first round and finished the fight in the second with strikes. Just one year ago Ward was a wrestler with an unscathed MMA record. Now 7-1 (3-1 in Bellator), The Irish Bad Boy is the complete package; his striking has moved in line with his All-American college wrestling pedigree. Brennan praises his coach, Greg Rebello, for his knowledge and experience. “Greg’s my friend and coach. He’s the best MMA coach (for me).”
In January of 2012, Filthy Perry Filkins beat Strikeforce/Bellator veteran Louis Taylor with a second round TKO; the win opened the eyes of the Bellator folks and opened the opportunity for Perry. The good folks at Bellator were grooming German fighter Jonas Billstein for their Middleweight tournament; he was 10-2 (He was more realistically 11-1 because he was DQ’d in his previous fight…) and needed a tune-up win to get himself into the Bellator Tournament. Bellator 81 and the University of Rhode Island was the place, and Filkins was the local kid brought in for the slaughter, but he and his team never got the memo. Filkins took the win and he was in… Perry incurred an injury after that fight and was unable to fight in the spring tournament. A healthy Filthy Perry entered the cage at Bellator 98 last week and beat Jeremy Kimball via third round submission. “Perry made the adjustments after that first round, and we got the win,” said Team Link Hooksett coach Big Ed Carr. “Kimball was 10-2, and everyone is tough at this level. We don’t overlook anyone.”
Filthy is also rapidly establishing himself as a personality in the Bellator system with his in-cage actions and enthusiasm.
Filthy Perry and Brennan Ward are scheduled to meet in the semi-finals on October 4th in California. Both camps are excited for the match-up, but each camp also knows that this could fight could have been in the tournament finals. “How about that!!!” said an excited Brennan Ward. “Me and my boy Perry; I love Perry. It should be a good one!”
“We’re gonna make the changes, and with wrestlers in camp like Nate Kittredge and Dan Pasquarella, we’re gonna be ready for Brennan,” said Ed Carr.
Rick Hawn is back in the Bellator saddle. Hawn has filled in as a late replacement in the Bellator Welterweight Tournament, as injuries have forced two competitors out. Last year’s Bellator Lightweight Tournament winner, Hawn took a loss to current Lightweight Champ Michael Chandler in January of this year. The Dracut, Mass fighter, now training out of Tri-Star in Montreal, moved back up to Welterweight for a win over Judo rival Karo Parisyan in April. Rick is now poised to make a run at the Welterweight tournament.
A press release today from the Bellator folks tells us that Hawn will now face Herman Terrado this Friday, September 20 at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. Hawn brings a 15-2 record to the event, while Terrado checks in at 11-2. Also filling in on short notice will be California Welterweight Ron Keslar, who will make his tournament debut.
“We are only three weeks into our season, and it’s no secret our tournaments have been hit hard with injury,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “With that said, it speaks to the depth we’ve created here to be able to add in talent like Rick Hawn and Ron Keslar less than a week before the fight. This is still an incredibly deep field of talent, and Friday should be a great night of fights.”
Good luck goes out to Rick…
Team Irish founder Marcus Davis is slated to go in a week and a half in the Bellator Lightweight Tournament. The former gatekeeper to the UFC Welterweight ranks will make his Bellator Tournament debut on September 27th in Portland, Oregon. Davis (22-9) just turned 40 and will look to make one final run to the top. Standing in his way will be Tiger Sarnavskiy, the 24 year old Russian with the 23-1 record. This will not be an easy task for Marcus; this will not be an easy task for Tiger…
We do bid Farewell to Justin Torrey and Dez Green. Justin suffered the first loss of his career to Brennan Ward at Bellator 98. Bombsquad Featherweight Dez Green also lost in his opening round of the Bellator Featherweight Tournament via decision to Fabricio Silva. We’ll look forward to seeing them both back in the cage soon…
Front-Page Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports