BELLATOR’S DYNAMITE CARD: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
“Boom goes the dynamite!”
Pop quiz: Who said that? It wasn’t Joe Buck, Jon Gruden, Brent Musberger or any other sportscaster you’ve heard of. It was Brian Collins, who uttered the phrase during a disastrous attempt at sportscasting during his time at Ball StateUniversity in 2005.
If Collins tried his hand at calling the action during Saturday’s inaugural Bellator: Dynamite card, there’s a chance we might have heard that infamous catchphrase too. The first fight card to feature action from both Bellator MMA and GLORY World Series kickboxing featured much pomp and circumstance, including fireworks, the unforgettable announcing skills of Lenne Hardt and even an appearance from “The Last Emperor” himself, Fedor Emelianenko.
It also featured actual fights, believe it or not. This column will focus on what’s next for both the victors from the evening’s Bellator bouts, as well as for some of those who came up short.
Josh Thomson def. Mike Bronzoulis by submission (arm triangle)
Thomson joined Phil Davis in an exodus to Bellator from UFC, and he wasted no time making his presence felt by quickly submitting Bronzoulis. Thomson is 37 years old but is still one of the better lightweight fighters around, and would be an interesting matchup for champion Will Brooks. However, Brooks has contenders like Patricky “Pitbull” Freire to worry about. But Bellator president Scott Coker always makes fights the fans want to see. It may not be long before the fans want to see Thomson fight for the title.
Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal def. Linton Vassell by unanimous decision (Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament semifinal)
King Mo emerged triumphant over Vassell in the tournament semifinal, taking a somewhat conservative approach to victory even though he had Vassell on the ropes multiple times. Unfortunately, an injury suffered during the bout prevented King Mo from competing in the final. I’m sure he will stake his claim to a title shot in the future as a result, as he did not get a chance to prove himself. I expect King Mo will waste little time calling out the Bellator light heavyweight champion. You’ll have to keep reading to find out who that actually is.
For Vassell, this is another attempt at Bellator gold where he came up short. But he’s still among the more talented fighters in a pretty deep division. Perhaps a move down to middleweight might bear more productive fruit for his title aspirations.
Phil Davis def. Emmanuel Newton by submission (kimura; Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament semifinal)
Davis wasted no time emphatically stating his arrival by quickly submitting Newton. Davis never found his niche in UFC, despite competing against some of the organization’s best. He has quickly become one of the best fighters in Bellator, especially after he followed up his quick submission of Newton with a quick knockout of Francis Carmont, who substituted for an injured King Mo in the tournament final. Davis now has every chance to be the lead dog in Bellator that he was never able to be in UFC.
Liam McGeary def. Tito Ortiz by submission (inverted triangle; Bellator light heavyweight title)
Ortiz seemed to be in control as he unleashed his patented ground-and-pound on McGeary in the first round of their title fight. But one small opening was all McGeary needed to lock in an inverted triangle for a first-round submission victory. After Ortiz gave what sounded like a retirement speech, McGeary and Davis squared off. An eventual fight between those two should be terrific. McGeary showed a great ground game to go with his striking, and Davis looked almost unbeatable after mowing through Newton and Carmont. A meeting between Davis and McGeary has the making of Fight of the Year, no doubt.
Overall, Dynamite was an extremely entertaining event that reminded many fight fans of the glorious cards of yore from organizations like Pride Fighting Championship. Speaking of Pride, it was announced during the event that Emelianenko will compete on a New Year’s Eve card in Japan against an unnamed opponent.
While there will a few relatively minor hiccups and some fights that were slow and plodding, Dynamite is definitely an event that should become an annual occurrence. Getting to see some of the best from both mixed martial arts and kickboxing on the same night is something all fight fans should clamor for. I myself can’t wait for next year’s Dynamite card, and I’m sure many of you can’t either.
Chris Huntemann writes about mixed martial arts in the state of Maryland. He also opines on various topics within UFC, Bellator and World Series of Fighting. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter: @mmamaryland.
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