Saturday, 18 June 2016

Catch-Up: Bellator 154

It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen what Bellator has to offer, so let’s continue our game of catch-up with a look back at Bellator 154, shown recently on Spike here in Britain.

The show began with action from the welterweight division as Rick Reger took on Andre Fialho.

The word mis-match was used by our esteemed commentators here, and I have to agree with them. Reger tested the waters a little early on, but when Fialho connected with his first right hand of the night it changed the complexion of the fight instantly.

The Portuguese dominated from that moment on. Reger was completely outclassed as Fialho used his for target practice. A couple of rights sent Reger to the mat, and after one ground and pound blow it was all over, the referee stepping in to give Fialho the knockout win.

The lightweights were up next as Ray Wood faced Adam Piccolotti.

Wood began his night’s work in quite an energetic manner with a series of lightning-fast kicks, but all that changed when Piccolotti scored with the takedown. Once they got to the ground it wasn’t long before Piccolotti took his man’s back, before transitioning into position so he could apply an arm triangle.

But with that particular tactic going nowhere Piccolotti released the hold and went looking for another way to end things, and even though Wood managed to get back to his feet Piccolotti took his back and synched in a rear naked choke. Wood fell to the mat before succumbing to the inevitable as he tapped out to give Piccolotti the submission win.

It was down to bantamweight for the next fight as Jeremiah Labiano faced Josh San Diego.

The first three rounder of the evening proved to be a very entertaining affair for the most part. San Diego was the better striker from the start as he worked the angles and got off some good shots, while Labiano looked a lot more nervous than his fellow debutant, a lot stiffer as he looked to fight on the counter. The only problem with that tactic was that San Diego didn’t give him any chance to use those plans.

Labiano had his moments, but the problem there was that there weren’t many of them. He scored with a couple of nice looking takedowns, but more often than note San Diego made his job more difficult by moving back up against the fence, and when San Diego took the fight to the mat and unleashed with the ground and pound in the final seconds of the fight it was an example of just who the better fighter had been throughout this encounter.

So with the fight going the distance the judges were called into action as they gave San Diego their unanimous decision.

The penultimate fight featured more welterweight action as Saad Awad went up against Cyborg Santos.

The proverbial game of two halves began after a brief feeling out period when Cyborg took the fight to the ground and went for a heel hook. Awad looked in deep trouble at one point, but having survived that particular scare he soon went to work with some brutal looking ground and pound.

But instead of firing back in kind Cyborg went looking for the heel hook again, even though Awad was raining the fists down on him. Eventually Awad managed to move into a position where he could do a lot more damage, and when that damage got the claret flowing and Cyborg had no answer to Awad’s barrage of blows the referee stepped in to give Awad the TKO win.

The main event saw King Mo Lawal taking on Phil Davis in a light heavyweight title eliminator.

I guess the best way to describe this one could be interesting, or perhaps intriguing. Both guys came into the fight with a lot of fanfare, and when the action began it was Lawal who looked the more polished striker, and although his tactics didn’t sit too well with some of the fans in attendance he did a good job of imposing his will on the proceedings.

Davis managed some good shots of his own, but it wasn’t until the fight was well into the final round that he had any sort of luck. A right/left combination rocked the King, and after Davis scored with the takedown he controlled the action brilliantly. After a spot of ground and pound he transitioned well as he went for a kimura and then to an arm bar, and it looked like Lawal was in serious danger until he showed just why he’s never been submitted when he escaped from Mr. Wonderful’s clutches, and even though he was still a little rocky on his feet he finished his night’s work with a big swinging right.

With no finish in sight the judges were called upon again as Davis took the unanimous decision.

In conclusion – as I mentioned at the beginning of this piece I haven’t seen any Bellator action in ages, since Bellator 109 I think, and as I’ve eschewed the old DVD reviews a little I thought that now would be a good time to catch up with their recent events.

I’m glad I did, because apart from the lop-sided opener this was a pretty decent show. The main event delivered for the most part, even though the decision surprised me a little, while the rest of the fights were all entertaining in their own way.

As for my prestigious fight of the night no-prize, there were a couple of contenders, but in the I decided to go for the Davis/Lawal main event.

So with all of that out of the way there’s just one thing left to do, and that’s to give Bellator 154 the thumbs up.