In front of a sold out crowd, Bellator made its international debut from Casino Rama in Ontario on Saturday night. Featherweights Pat Curran and Marlon Sandro punched their tickets to the Bellator Summer Series Featherweight Finals at Bellator 48 on Aug. 20 at Mohegan Sun.
Curran and Ronnie Mann engaged in a tactical battle that went the distance, with the Illinois native getting the decision. A capacity crowd was buzzing when the final two fighters entered the cage, as the electricity in the building grew throughout the night in anticipation of this featherweight semifinal. Both warriors relied on strategy and technical prowess, but it was Curran who earned the unanimous decision victory.
The other spot in the featherweight finals would be decided when Marlon Sandro took on submission specialist Nazareno Malegarie. Throughout the three rounds, both fighters stayed on their feet, which played into the hands of the powerful Sandro. Connecting on numerous strikes and various combinations, the Brazilian dominated on his way to a unanimous decision and a spot in the Bellator Featherweight Finals.
In a lightweight feature fight, “The SoCal Kid” Chris Saunders faced Ontario native and fan favorite Chris “The Polish Hammer” Horodecki. Taking control early on, Horodecki, who was fighting with a heavy heart after the sudden death of his good friend Jake Sawicki earlier in the week, dictated the pace throughout the fight and thrilled the hometown crowd with a unanimous decision victory.
In a fight that saw the fans on their feet from start to finish, Neil “Goliath” Grove went back and forth and finally finished former TUF competitor Zak Jensen with a vicious ground and pound attack that brought the capacity crowd to its feet. While both fighters exchanged blows, the raw power of the “Goliath” was too much for Jensen to handle.
“With the energy in a sold out Casino Rama, tonight’s show spoke volumes about the state of mixed martial arts in Canada,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. “My excitement is matched only by the upcoming Featherweight Finals on Aug. 20 at Mohegan Sun and live on MTV2.”
Pat Curran def. Ronnie Mann by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27), R3
Marlon Sandro def. Nazareno Malegarie by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), R3
Chris Horodecki def. Chris Saunders by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), R3
Neil Grove def. Zak Jensen by TKO (Strikes) at 2:00, R1
Alexandre Bezerra def. Jesse Gross by Technical Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:28, R1
Will Romero def. Dan Langbeen by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27), R3
Alex Ricci def. Alka Matewa by TKO (Strikes) at 2:40, R2