Inspirational stories are a part of mixed martial arts.
Another one was written on Saturday night at Bellator as Christian M’Pumbu became the promotion’s first ever light heavyweight champion with a TKO win over Richard Hale.
A native of Zaire in Africa, M’Pumbu relocated to France as a teenager where he took up karate. As he grew older, M’Pumbu’s love of the martial arts never slowed and he eventually took a turn to MMA. Now his career includes a $100,000 paycheck and a Bellator light heavyweight title.
M’Pumbu almost finished challenger Rich Hale in the first round of their bout, tagging him with a huge shot that dropped him to the canvas. Immediately, M’Pumbu followed him to the ground and looked for the finish, and then transitioned to a D’arce choke trying for a submission instead.
Inadvertently, M’Pumbu may have given Hale just enough time to recover, and the fight continued on. The action slowed for pockets of time until M’Pumbu absolutely crushed Hale with a right hook that sent him crashing to the canvas.
M’Pumbu paused for a moment thinking his opponent was out, but he soon jumped down and continued the assault until he landed a few more flush shots and Hale was done. Referee Jason Herzog finally rushed in for the save as M’Pumbu becomes the first ever Bellator light heavyweight champion.
“At the end, I can’t help but cry because I fight with all my heart and I do everything I do for my kids,” an emotional M’Pumbu said with a gold belt around his waist and a hefty check from Bellator waiting to get cashed.
M’Pumbu will now await for his next challenge, but first he’ll go home to France to spend time with his family, who he says he missed dearly during his time fighting overseas.
Ever since losing a controversial split decision to Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren, Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire has been gunning for a rematch, but to get there he had to go through another 145lb tournament.
On Saturday night, Freire closed down that mission winning a split decision over Daniel Straus to get a second shot at Warren later this year.
The Brazilian showed several improvements over the course of the Bellator tournament, most notably his takedown defense that he showed off stuffing Straus at every turn during their fight.
Freire even managed a couple of takedowns of his own, while mixing in some strong strikes and a barrage of kicks that swung Straus’ legs from side to side. Straus stuck around and showed good energy at the end of each round, but Freire just got the better of the exchanges and controlled the action for the majority of the 15 minute fight.
The judges were split when the scores were read, but Freire got the win and now gets his ultimate wish to face Joe Warren later this year with the Bellator featherweight title on the line.
“There is only one thing in my mind, I’m going to be champion,” a confident Freire said when asked about the rematch with Joe Warren. “I’m going take his belt.”
In a battle of middleweights looking to earn their way to the next Bellator 185lb tournament, Sam Alvey got the best of Karl Amoussou getting the nod by split decision.
Things looked like they might go bad for Alvey early after Amoussou took him down early in the fight, and transitioned fluidly to the mount. Amoussou began his assault from the top, absolutely blasting away at Alvey with elbows, opening a nasty cut on his head. Alvey’s blonde head soon turned red, but he survived the round and came back strong in the final two rounds.
Alvey bounced back by slowing down the pace and controlling the action for the biggest part of the final 10 minutes. While the action wasn’t ultra exciting, Alvey did a good job of throwing combinations and keeping Amoussou on the defensive.
When it was over, the judges handed a split decision to Sam Alvey who now enters the next Bellator middleweight tournament, kicking off this fall.
“It’s very deep, it’s very intense, it’s a hell of a tournament,” Alvey said in closing.
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