Bellator 106 went off tonight at the Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, California and what a night it was.
The main event turned out to be the war that all thought it would be and by the time the smoke cleared from the battlefield, Eddie Alvarez’s hand was raised.
In what was, a truly solid and entertaining night of fights, Bellator over delivered for the lack of hype the event was given.
The first fight on the card was an exceptionally entreating bout between Mike Richman and Akop Stepanyan. For the most part, the talented Russian owned Richman on the feet and until the very end of the first round, at which point the American stuck his left in the overly confident Stepanyan’s face, and ended it.
The emotional story of the night was surely Joe Riggs and his 100K victory over Mike Bronzoulis. In what was an amazing performance of wrestling, transition and Jiu Jitsu, Riggs earned the “Fight Master” welterweight tournament championship.
Beyond that, the night showed Pat Curran going down in defeat to Daniel Strauss, in a fight that proved wrestlers can grow. Straus, who was expected to take Curran down and garner a win, was, for the most part, frustrated in his attempts and was forced to rely on his stand-up, to make the noticeable difference.
Regarding Emanuel Newton and King Mo, all one can really say, is that King Mo’s ego showed and it cost him. Mo easily won the first and with a game plan of taking Newton to the ground. However and once there, King Mo showed nothing in the way of offense or control, and Newton easily worked his way back to his feet. With nothing else to offer, Mo looked desperate as he began checking the clock by the second round. As such, Newton turned in a workman like performance, which demonstrated both his gas tank and the ability to survive a high level wrestler.
The results of the evening are as follows:
Fight #1: Mike Richman vs. Akop Stepanyan
Akop came out and looked great. To be honest he was looking awesome and like a ghost, hitting Richman at will, and darting away. For the most part of round one Stepanyan was proving too fast, illusive and even dynamic, hitting Richman with a couple of spinning back-fists and a beautiful spinning back-kick, which caught Richman in the head and opened a cut. For a moment, surely fans thought the fight was over. However, Richman proved tough. He was continuing to get the worst of it and got rocked by a big Stepanyan right hand that wobbled him, but again, he took it. Coming forward and trying to walk Richman down, the tough fighter ventured forth with a huge left of his own and dropped Stepanyan. Richman followed Akop to the ground and hit him with a double-hammer fist. With his head bounced off the canvas, referee Herb Dean stepped in and waived Richman off; winner by TKO at the 4:05 mark of the first round, Mike Richman.
Fight #2: Joe Riggs vs. Mike Bronzoulis
This was a very good fight and the story of it was Joe Rigg’s top control. Like a wet blanket, Riggs would lay atop of Bronzoulis, demonstrating impressive wrestling, transitions and Jiu Jitsu. As the first round broke, Bronzoulis looked to be executing a game of range and doing well with it. He delivered a number of significant low-kicks to Riggs that began to color red as the round progressed. However, the undaunted Riggs stood in the pocket and returned fire with flurries of punches, which would back Bronzoulis up. That said, whether it was as a result of the effectiveness of Bronzoulis’s low-kicks or whether or not it was the plan all along, Riggs took the fight to the ground and simply dominated the Team Couture fighter, at every turn of it. It truly was a dominant and masterful performance of all aspect of ground fighting; winner by way of unanimous decision and winner of the “Fight Master” welterweight tournament, Joe Riggs; “Diesel” takes home 100K for his efforts and earns a spot in the Bellator’s next welterweight tournament.
Fight #3: Pat Curran vs. Daniel Straus
This was a grinding war that saw, what everyone thought was supposed to be mostly a wrestler and ground fighter, Daniel Straus, demonstrate excellent stand-up skills, as he took on what is, a stand-up fighter, in the way of Pat Curran. Straus came out and showed excellent mixed martial arts and was the aggressor and general, from the fight’s beginning to its end. Pat Curran was the patient counter-puncher seeking opportunity that, if it presented itself, he failed to capitalize upon. Although Curran presented a challenge in the fight and was never in any real harm’s way, he was nonetheless dominated by Straus and in on my card, carried every round in the fight. In regard to the score, Curran had a point deducted for an illegal knee to a grounded opponent and had a point deducted. Straus ended up carrying the day and at the end of this fight, but the scorecard needs to be studied, if not questioned (48 / 46, 49 /45, 49 / 45); winner by unanimous decision and new Bellator featherweight champion, Daniel Straus.
Fight #4: Emanuel Newton vs. King MO
The story of this fight was the lack of successive and effective takedowns, by King Mo. He came out and came forward as the general in every round, but in the first, he at least has some success. He stayed away, picked his moments and shot in for two solid takedowns. However and although that he had done as he wished, he achieved no definitive success; 10 / 9 King Mo. Rounds two through five, were all Newton. He effectively stuffed all or most of King Mo’s takedowns, past the first round and by the end of the second, he had Mo visibly frustrated and checking the clock; after having had delivered a beautiful head-kick to Mo’s head, that had him all but out on his feet, until the end of the round. From there on out, Newton kept Mo at range and out pointed him and with no concern; winner by unanimous decision and new Bellator light-heavyweight champion, Emanuel Newton.
Fight # 5: Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler
In a word, it was a great fight. From the bell’s ring to the bout’s close, Alvarez and Chandler put on a heck of a scrap. Chandler seemed to get the better of it in the initial rounds, demonstrating that he could use his wrestling as tool and advantage, for his improved boxing. However, Alvarez used angles, staying illusive, and when taken down, he nullified most of Chandler’s top attack. As the fight progressed, Alvarez found a home for his right and Chandler’s left eye began to swell up to the point of closure.
With the fight close on the cards, the fight moved to the fifth and Alvarez appeared to be the fresher and more active fighter. Having survived an incredible jumping-knee by Chandler in the fourth, the oft repeated move failed to have any impact in the fifth, and Alvarez’s confidence continued to grow.
However, Chandler still had power and hit Alvarez with a big upper cut. With the fight on the ground, Alvarez evaded a rear-naked choke and made his way back to his feet. In reversal, Alvarez worked Chandler to the ground, and in a heart stopping few moments, it looked as if Alvarez would secure a rear-naked choke. However, Chandler survived the attempt, got back up and finished the fight in Alvarez’s guard; winner by split decision and Bellator’s “new” lightweight champion, Eddie Alvarez.