Bellator’s fifth season came to an end on Saturday night, but not without some controversy and a no contest along the way.
The card was headlined by the finals of the Bellator heavyweight tournament pitting Eric Prindle against Thiago Santos, with the winner getting a shot at champion Cole Konrad in 2012.
Unfortunately, Konrad will be waiting for a little while before scoring his next title challenger.
After some early success taking the fight to the ground, Santos decided to stand up with Prindle, but it was a kick straight to the groin that was the most damaging blow in the fight. Prindle dropped down and was given the full five minutes to recover, but just couldn’t continue.
The fight was ruled a no contest so Prindle and Santos will have to do it all over again in 2012.
The bantamweight tournament finals did come to a conclusion on Saturday night however with Eduardo Dantas defeating former Olympic bronze medalist Alexis Vila to earn a shot at Bellator champion Zach Makovsky.
After struggling to stuff the former Olympian’s takedowns in the first round, Dantas fired back in the second, keeping the fight on the feet and looking for knees throughout. In the final round, Dantas blocked a takedown and slipped around to take Vila’s back.
While he couldn’t finish the fight, Dantas was able to control the action for the better part of all five minutes and won the round and the fight. Dantas will now move on to face Makovsky during season 6 for Bellator next year.
Former Bellator lightweight tournament runner-up Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire may have sent former UFC fighter Kurt Pellegrino to his retirement on a bit of a sour note.
Pellegrino walked away from fighting following his last bout in the UFC, but opted to take another shot and returned at Bellator on Saturday night. Unfortunately, less than a minute into the bout, Freire swarmed on Pellegrino with punches, looking for the finish.
While Freire did land a knockdown and appeared to have Pellegrino in trouble, the referee swooped in for the stoppage, but most believed it was premature.
Despite the controversial nature of the stoppage, Pellegrino never complained and simply chose to say goodbye to MMA for the last time.
“I started my career in Atlantic City and I wanted to end it in Atlantic City too, so I’m glad Bellator gave me this fight,” Pellegrino said.
Former ‘Ultimate Fighter’ finalist Phillipe Nover was the third casualty of controversy at Bellator 59, losing by decision to Marcin Held.
Nover was in trouble early, but bounced back strong and seemed to control the biggest portion of the fight. The judges however saw it differently and gave the win to Held.
Bellator 59 wraps up the fifth season for the promotion and they will now kick off season six in 2012.