Tomorrow night and live on SPIKE TV at 9 p.m. EST, from the Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, California, Bellator MMA issues forth with the greatest card that they’ve ever put together.
In what started out as a great card that probably few fans would have seen via its original pay-per-view format, Bellator 106 has morphed into a spectacular free event.
On it, are three different title fights, (featherweight, lightweight & interim light-heavyweight), as well as Bellator’s “Fight Master” welterweight finale and all bode to be entertaining bouts.
Michael Chandler & Eddie Alvarez cap the card as the main event, with their lightweight title fight and sequel match. In their previous fight (Bellator 58, November 2011), the two beat on one another for four rounds, with Chandler finally getting the better of it and submitting Alvarez, via rear-naked choke. However, Alvarez nearly had Chandler a couple of times and proved a formidable opponent. In the end, however,Chandler’s hand was raised and regardless of Alvarez’s loss, the fans had seen an awesome fight. Tomorrow night, fans should expect a similar barn burning event.
The co-main is another re-match and storied bout, and a scrap for the interim light-heavyweight title. In it, King Mo Lawal will be looking to even the score on his stunning and sudden defeat, at the hands of Emanuel Newton back in February of this year. Fans will be looking to see if Lawal can prove Newton was lucky and not simply the better fighter.
Below the co-main lays Bellator’s featherweight title fight and another re-match scrap, between defending champion Par Curran and Daniel Straus. The pair fought back in 2009 and Straus took the worst of it, getting KO’d in the second round. Since that time, Straus has improved and will be looking to show Curran that 2009 was a long time ago.
Finally and kicking off the evening, will be the “Fight Master” welterweight finale. Joe Riggs will step into the octagon and take on Mike Bronzoulis, to see who gets the belt and the 100K payout. Bronzoulis is a tough fighter who culls most of his victories on his feet and by way of KO. However, he’s going up against a highly experienced veteran in the way of Joe Riggs, and simply put “Diesel’s” toughness, well-rounded skill set and wealth of Octagon experience, may prove too much a match for Bronzoulis.
Tomorrow night, we shall get the answers to all four questions.
I hope everyone tunes in. It should be a great night of MMA.
Here are our picks, as well as those of LowKick member and Bellator fan, “Enjoy321”:
Mike Drahota: Michael Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez
Chandler vs. Alvarez II is going to be tough to live up to the billing of their first fight, which was an instant classic. In the time since, Alvarez has fought rather sparsely while engaged in a lengthy contract battle with Bellator. That’s not going to bode well for him here. Chandler has been seemingly improving by leaps and bounds with each fight, and he looks like one of the best lightweights in the world right now; Michael Chandler via third round submission.
Eddie Alvarez has ring rust to contend against in tonight’s bout, due to a lengthy lay off after a long court battle with his employers. Chandler is on fire right now, knocking fools out just like LL Cool J’s mama would like you to. The odds are truly against Alvarez in this bout, but I expect him to answer with a dominant win. Look for Alvarez to switch up his gameplan and own the champion over five gritty rounds. Eddie Alvarez wins by decision.
Brian Cox: Michael Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez
This is going to be a great fight and one that fans are fortunate enough to get for free. There’s not much to say about these guys other than they are both awesome fighters. Chandler in particular, has really grown over the last few years. Where once he was simply a great wrestler, now he’s a wrestler with additional skills, most notable of which, is his boxing. In a nutshell, he’s a fighter that demonstrates improvement with each new outing. On the other hand, Alvarez is a remarkable fighter as well, tough and good everywhere. Eddie will be looking to avenge the loss that he took to Chandler back in 2011and will be further motivated to demonstrate his year long layoff has not affected him.
This is a fight that could go either way and is probably too close to call. However, as there has to be a winner, I’m going to pick the 155 pound champ to make it 13 wins in a row, winner via TKO in the fourth round, Michael Chandler.
Mike Drahota: Pat Curran vs. Daniel Straus
Pat Curran is a monster who would be receiving a lot more pub were it not for the bulldozer that Chandler has become. He’s a supremely talented featherweight and truly one of the few gems Bellator has to call their own. Curran comes to finish fights, and he does so with ruthless efficiency. Straus is no doubt dangerous, but he’s kind of a question mark with his erratic behavior at times. Curran is on a mission, and I don’t think Straus derails his momentum; Pat Curran via first round TKO.
Brian Cox: Pat Curran vs. Daniel Straus
Pat Curran is the Bellator featherweight champion for a reason, he’s a great fighter. Curran is on a six fight winning streak, will be defending his belt for the third consecutive time and has managed a 66% finishing rate through his last half-dozen outings. He also carries with him a 2009 KO victory over his Bellator 106 opponent, Daniel Straus. For his part, Straus is on a five fight winning streak; however, four of those wins were decisions. As such, that seems to be the book on Straus, that he’s more of a decision fighter than a finisher. As Curran is going in as reigning champ, has the hotter hand and is looking to defend his turf, I’m going to give him the nod to the champ; Curran winner via submission, round three.
Mike Drahota: Emanuel Newton vs. King MO
Emanuel Newton shocked the world by knocking ‘King Mo’ out with a well-timed spinning back-fist in a light heavyweight tourney that was pretty made for Lawal to get to a 205-pound title shot. Lawal has since called the blow ‘lucky,’ but he can only prove that’s true by beating Newton in the rematch. I think that Lawal is overall a better fighter, but you never know where his head is at. Bellator has lot riding on the shoulders of ‘King Mo,’ but I’m not sure his motivation is where it should be. Newton is dangerous. I’m going with Newton by decision the second time around.
Emanuel Newton made short work of King Mo in their last bout, and I have to say that I enjoyed it. Mo caught a flush spinning back fist to the talk hole and went to sleep like a falling redwood. Very satisfactory finish to watch, and I expect another KO tonight. Only this time Mo will be dishing it out. Look for KM to use his agressive wrestling to fluster Newton throughout, scoring a KO by ground and pound in the second.
Brian Cox: Emanuel Newton vs. King MO
This is a fight that should be very entertaining. As fans know, Emanuel Newton was supposed to be but a minor stop on King MO’s path to the Bellator light-heavyweight tournament championship. Unfortunately, Emanuel Newton say it differently and KO’d King MO in the first round of their fight. This time through, King Mo is not apt to take Newton lightly, but the question remains, will that make a difference? This time, yes, it might. King Mo is probably going to look to take this fight to the ground and end it quickly. If he can’t do that and has to stand with Newton, it could be another ugly night for King Mo. On this issue, I’m going to give King MO the benefit of the doubt and say that he will get Newton down and stop him; winner via TKO round 2, King MO.
Mike Drahota: Joe Riggs vs. Mike Bronzoulis
Bronzoulis vs. Riggs is a fight a long time in the making. Bellator’s ‘Fight Master’ show didn’t do much in the way of ratings. It was deemed a rip off TUF with handsomely-paid coaches. Still, two fighters emerged from the first (and probably only) season. Riggs is a long-time UFC competitor who has a massive edge in experience. Bronzoulis is a brawler with a ton of heart. If this fight turns into a slugfest, it favors Bronzoulis. Anything bordering on technical will play into Riggs’ hands. The x-factor here will be how healed up Riggs is from the injury that forced the FM finale to get postponed. It’s close, but I’m picking Riggs to win a decision.
Brian Cox: Joe Riggs vs. Mike Bronzoulis
Joe Riggs is a never say die fighter. He has struggled to find his place in the sport since as far back as 2001, with him breaking into the UFC in 2004. His career record stands him at an astounding 60 plus fights. Truly he is a trooper. More importantly, he’s a trooper who seems to have finally gotten him MMA act together. Riggs is on a five fight winning streak, with all five fights coming by way of stoppage: 2 KO’s, 2 TKO’s & 1 stoppage. Beyond that, he copped four wins in the “Fight Master” welterweight tournament. In summing him up, Riggs is great everywhere, tough as nails, and determined to take Bellator’s prize money and tournament title. Him opponent tomorrow night, Mike Bronzoulis, is a tough fighter with heavy hands and decent chin. He sports a career 80% finishing rate over his 20 fights and 15 wins, and has more than enough power to put an end to Riggs’s dreams.
That said, I think Riggs will take him down and will prove too much for Bronzoulis on the ground; winner by rear-naked choke, round two, Joe Riggs.
LowKick’s Resident Bellator Fan, “Enjoy321”:
Enjoy321: Michael Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez
If you didn’t see the first war between these two, then stop reading right now and find this fight. Michael Chandler dropped Eddie Alvarez twice with power shots in the first round with the ref only milliseconds from stopping the fight. Then in the third round Alvarez smashed Chandler into a bloody mess only to be submitted in the fourth round after Chandler took Alvarez’s back after dropping him with a solid punch. This is a close fight and could go either way; Michael Chandler, via (a well fought) split decision victory.
Enjoy321: Emanuel Newton vs. King MO
In the first fight against King Mo, Emanuel demonstrated some solid offence during the opening round constantly looking for power shots before finally knocking out King Mo with a spinning back fist. There were times when King Mo’s hands were dangerously low during the fight with Emanuel’s overhand right looking for a loving home. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the fight progress to the ground.
One of Emanuel Newton’s go to moves is the rear Naked Choke and he has other impressive submission skills in his toolbox. This is a difficult fight to pick and if King Mo can utilise his wrestling and drain the gas tank of Emanuel he will be celebrating a TKO finish in the 3rd round after Emanuel’s shots have lost their steam; KING MO, winner by TKO in 3rd Round.
Enjoy321: Pat Curran vs. Daniel Straus
It took two rounds for Pat Curran to knock out Daniel Straus in 2009. This loss is a huge psychological demon for Daniel to overcome however I believe this fight will be much closer. Up until the KO it was really anyone’s fight. There were a lot of battles for position against the cage with Pat utilising the clinch and knees. I see this fight going the distance with Pat Curran winning via unanimous decision; Pat Curran, via unanimous decision.
Enjoy321: Joe Riggs vs. Mike Bronzoulis
Joe Rigg’s professional MMA career has a six year head start over Mike Bronzoulis, boasting more than twice the number of professional fights. Riggs has competed at the highest level with wins in the UFC against Nick Diaz and Chris Lytle. Joe Rigg’s possesses excellent power, wrestling and jujitsu skills and has a very impressive finishing rate. His confidence at the moment is running extremely high and he has gained valuable coaching during the Fight master series from Greg Jackson. Although Bronzoulis has tremendous heart and the ability to catch Riggs anytime on the feet, I see Rigg’s wrestling, jujitsu and boxing being too strong for Bronzoulis to handle at this stage of his career; Joe Riggs, winner via submission round 2.