Tonight at nine pm, live on SPIKE TV from Wichita, Kansas, Bellator MMA hosts their featherweight tournament semi-finals; Bellator 103
For the most part, the fights offered by Bellator this season have been pretty good and generally entertaining. One fight in particular, which has a carry over for tonight, was Justin Wilcox vs. Akop Stepanyan.
In the bout, Wilcox had the daylights beaten out of him by Stepanyan, and bloodied and bruised, with a big cut to the back of his head, as delivered by a Stepanyan spinning kick that would have KO’d most other fighters, Wilcox somehow survived, regrouped with a takedown and finally tapped Stepanyan. In a review, it was an awesome fight.
Wilcox demonstrated that he has a ton of heart, toughness and chin, and he has no quit in him.
Tonight “The Silverback” climbs back into Bellator’s cage to re-prove his grit and determination, when he takes on Joe Taimanglo.
“The Juggernaut” is on a ten fight winning streak and over it, has been able to blacksmith a 70% finishing rate, with 85% of those stoppages coming by way of submission. That’s of note, because with only four KO’s in his 19 wins, Taimanglo demonstrates more strength on the ground than he does on his feet. As such, he could have a problem in dealing with Wilcox.
Silverback is a very big and very strong featherweight, who cuts an enormous amount of weight to make the weigh-in, but in doing so, he seems to do it with the ease of a great wrestler. Beyond his size, power and wrestling skills, Wilcox has tough written all over him. Again, how he survived the beating that Stepanyan put on him last month at Bellator 99 is beyond me, but nonetheless he did.
Further, Wilcox is a wrestler who appears to have ever improving boxing skills. Although he was outclassed on the feet in his last bout, Silverback lost that battle to a formidable stand-up fighter and in doing so, he looked okay. He was moving well and throwing well, but he was simply no match for Akop, as many other fighters wouldn’t be a match for him, either. No shame in that result.
The other featherweight semi-final tonight, features Patricio Freire vs. Fabricio Guerreiro.
Both fighters have identical records (19 & 2) and similar finishing rates, 79% & 84% respectively. Of the two, Freire has the greater power with 42% of his stoppages coming by way of KO, as against Guerreiro’s 21%. For any that might be unaware of the “Pitbull’s” power, then you should definitely give his 1:19 KO of Diego Nunes a view.
As it stands, it would be a fair guess to say that victory for Guerreiro lays in taking Freire to the ground and not trying to strike with him. If he chooses to do that, it could be a short night for Guerreiro.
Hopefully it should be a good night of fights and it will probably prove to be a far better card than the one the UFC put on Wednesday night.
Here’s the card’s line-up and weighin results.
Main Card: (Live on SPIKE TV at 9 pm EST)
Patricio Freire (145.6) vs. Fabricio Guerreiro (146) – featherweight tournament semifinals
Joe Taimanglo (145) vs. Justin Wilcox (145) – featherweight tournament semifinals
JJ Ambrose (155) vs. David Rickels (155.7)
Aaron Rosa (205.8) vs. Mikhail Zayats (205)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com, 7 p.m. ET)
Cody Carrillo (148.9) vs. Ricky Musgrave (148.7) – 150-pound catch-weight fight
Jeimeson Saudino (134.8) vs. Jesse Thornton (134.9)
Donnie Bell (156) vs. Marcio Navarro (155.8)
Maurice Jackson (261.2) vs. Matt Uhde (234.3)
Remy Bussieres (155.8) vs. Blake Pool (152.7)
Wayman Carter (202.3) vs. Carlos Eduardo (205)