Michael Chandler finished his run through the Bellator lightweight tournament on Saturday night with a unanimous decision win over Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire to earn $100,000 and a future shot at Eddie Alvarez and the Bellator title.
The former All-American wrestler has shown off his improving skills through each leg of the tournament, and once again upped the ante with his performance at Bellator 44.
Unfortunately some of his dominance came at the cost of Freier’s groin as well.
On three different occasions, Chandler nailed the Brazilian below the belt causing the fight to pause and allow time for Freire to recover. In the third round the referee finally penalized Chandler a point for the continued low blows, but by that point the fight was already well in hand.
Chandler looked supremely confident in his hands, while Freire was so intimidated by the potential of a takedown he just never got into his comfort zone. Gone was the fighter that blasted through Toby Imada and ‘Razor’ Rob McCullough, and instead Freire just didn’t want to engage and when he did he paid for it throughout the fight.
The win earns Chandler the season 4 Bellator tournament championship plus $100,000. The true payoff however will come later this year when he gets a chance to try and unseat Eddie Alvarez as Bellator’s reigning and defending lightweight champion.
The non-title superfights have become part of the Bellator program recently, and the latest showcased middleweight champion Hector Lombard taking on former UFC fighter Niko Vitale.
What resulted was a poor showing by both fighters for 10 plus minutes with the referee literally telling the fighters they needed to engage.
Lombard finally came to life in the third round when Vitale, who had been extremely tentative through the first two rounds, started to push forward. The new game plan became his undoing.
Lombard finally connected with a power shot, blasting Vitale with a nasty right hand that dropped the Hawaii based fighter. As Vitale tried to get to his feet, he fell back down again and with that the referee had seen enough, rushing in for the save.
Lombard has now won 18 bouts in a row and everyone is starting to wonder where Bellator will find the next challenger that will actually give their champion a fight.
Picking up the spot vacated by Anthony Morrison and Bryan Golsby, Gledrius Karavackas got to show off a rarely used submission when he finished Sam Oropeza in their fight at Bellator 44.
Karavackas was determined to get the fight with Oropeza to the ground, and finally in the third round when he was able to maintain a dominant position, he showed why.
As Karavackas moved from side control he locked down Oropeza’s arm and sinched up a headlock. Karavackas began to nail Oropeza with short punches as his opponent seemed almost defenseless.
The punches weren’t doing much damage and Oropeza was still working to try and free himself. Once Karavackas gave up on the punches he was able to wrench up on the neck, causing tremendous pressure to Oropeza’s shoulder, forcing the tap.
The rarely used scarf lock hold brought an end to the bout with just over a minute remaining.
The last man to take Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard to a decision was back in action on Saturday night as Alexander Shlemenko earned a place in another middleweight tournament to hopefully get one more shot at the title.
Shlemenko got the place in the tournament by defeating Brett Cooper by decision after a three round battle on Saturday night.
Stalking his opponent across the cage, Shlemenko was relentless with his attack and while he had to endure some good shots from Cooper for all 15 minutes, the Russian was just simply superior.
Mixing in a diet of spinning backfists among other strikes, Shlemenko was the more dominant striker for all three rounds earning the win, and placement in the upcoming Bellator middleweight tournament in season 5 expected to kick off this fall.