Sunday February 21, 2016– Bellator 149 headlined by Gracie vs. Shamrock was without doubt a resounding conflagration of epic proportions. One which depending on who you asked, was either Clown school 101, with a smattering of embarrassment thrown in for flavor, or conversely a fun, over the top night headlined by old, has-been legends, and justly underrated, hyped buffoons with as much MMA pedigrees as suckling baby lambs.
To be fair, the undercard did provide moments of inspiration. Daniel ”The Pit” Pineda (21-12) vs. Emmanuel “El Matador” (13-2) Sanchez put on a fierce back and forth brawl that culminated in a split decision for Sanchez. Credit due these two young Lions for putting it all on the line.
Melvin ‘The Young Assassin’ Guillard (32-16) vs. Derek ‘The Stallion’ Campos (16-6), saw Guillard- a veteran who should know better- charge Campos after the starting bell. Swinging with intent but perhaps too wildly, he looked to be aiming for the big one, and hopes of knocking Campos to the ground. Campos weathered the storm using brutal combos of knees and punches, eventually rocking and sending Guillard to the canvas. From that point it was game over. Campos drove the direction of the fight, took Guillard to the canvas and ground and pound him for well into the mid-point of round one. When Guillard was finally able to get to his feet, he was more reactive than effective. He eluded Campos for much of the remaining round. Barely into round two, Campos catches Guillard with a right cross followed by a flurry of left, right’s, KO’ing Guillard and perhaps putting a “period” on the Young Assassin’s career. Guillard needed this win to prove his mettle after being unceremoniously released by the UFC for a string of losses in 2014. Not capitalizing and securing a win leaves his career tenuous at best. Perhaps the powers that be will offer an empathetic hand. As for Campos, his star is continuing its ascendance.
It is from this point onward however, that 149 becomes what neophyte philosopher, one Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson (6-2), prophesied would be a night of “nuts”. It commenced with our intrepid protagonist professing with conviction and matter-of-factly, “Dada, you’ve got baby nuts” during the press conference.
So it was that Dhafir “Dada 5000” Harris (2-1) and company, most notably, Frank “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Shamrock (28-17) and Linton “the Swarm” Vassell fell victim to, and were nutted in “deez nutz”!
And this, ladies and gentlemen would set the tone for what would become an incredulous ignoble, laugh-fest display of WWE-style cookie cutter antics.
Emanuel ‘The Hardcore Kid’ Newton (25-10-1) vs Linton ‘The Swarm’ Vassell (16-5-1) was an exercise in patient methodology on Vassell’s part and “nut cracking” over and over courtesy of “the Hardcore Kid”. It seems Newton developed a soft spot for Vassell’s crotch. He indulged the evening’s theme by displaying an algorithm-like penchant for striking Vassell in “deez nuts”, hammering them a total of three times.
For his part, and not wishing to be left out of the festivities, Vassell contributed his “noisettes”, by proudly showcasing one his sponsors on the left leg of his board shorts, coincidently named, “My Health Nuts”. Though both fighters were evenly matched and took turns being the aggressor, it was Vassell who would pull out the win over Emanuel ‘The Hardcore Kid’ Newton.
Kevin ‘Kimbo Slice’ Ferguson (6-1) vs. Dhafir ‘Dada 5000’ Harris (2-1), as the co-main, was probably emblematic of the card’s overall dismay. It behooves this scribe to offer an objective opinion concerning this bout, a bout which can only be described as flummoxed, imbued with tomfoolery and the stench of amateurish carnival sideshow. Let’s start with the obvious. Neither of these fighters were adequately prepared to stand on that stage, on that day. It was clear from the onset, that neither man was even minimally conditioned or ready to sustain three five-minute rounds. Dada led the charge with wild swinging punches to no effect and with very little contact. Kimbo backed toward the cage and was able to then grab Dada by the legs and slam him to the mat. Kimbo held the advantage with a full guard mount but was unable to transition to any meaningful potential submissions. Rather, he rode Dada until the latter was able to stand and trade. Round two was much of the same, offering no technical displays. Toward the end of round two the lack of Cardiac-endurance began to show on both fighters. By the time the third round commenced, it was akin to taking a jar of honey, turning it upside down and pouring it. A slow, almost Sloth-like slow drip. With a few more punches, Kimbo was able to drop Dada’s 265 pound bulk to the canvas. Dada had to be carried out on a stretcher by medics. Apparently his weight cut had detrimental effects on his electrolyte balance and whilst in hospital, he suffered cardiac arrest but was successfully resuscitated. The fight was lackluster and very reminiscent of first year amateurs, and even that may be a generous statement.
Ken ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Man’ Shamrock 28 – 16 – 2 vs Royce Gracie 14 – 2 – 3 offered little in the way of mind-blowing excitement. Rather we perused the tentative, weather worn leathery remnants of two of the sports originators not quite doing battle, as settling a beef seemingly generations old.
Gracie took the lead by offering all manner of leg kicks to the knees and mid-body to keep Shamrock at bay. Just over two minutes into round one, shamrock makes a play for Gracie who counters grabbing shamrock’s left wrist with his left hand. Gracie then uses his right hand to subdue shamrock’s head and unloads, devastating knees to the stomach and what seemed to be a nut shot, shamrock grimaces in pain and is taken to the mat for some good old-fashioned pounding. Defenseless and unable to mount an effective defense. The ref steps in and calls it a day for Shamrock.
Shamrock protested the stoppage, but to no avail.
BellatorMMA 149 ended with a thud rather than a lightning bolt.
By: Patrick Courtois
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