This season, we should probably be more thankful for what Bellator gives us: reliable mixed martial arts violence week in and week out. Will more people watch Bellator next season? Who knows. Regardless, there was some fun action tonight.
- Aaaaand that was the (final, final) nail in the coffin for the old "Phillipe Nover is the next GSP slash Tim Tebow" argument. Whether you agree with the scoring or not, you can't disagree with the fact that Nover, while technically proficient in nearly all aspects of the game, gets easily overwhelmed and just lacks that extra... something... to help him win fights. Marcin Held is a wild man, and I can't wait to see him fight again.
- The Nover/Held fight stirs the judging debate. Obviously a couple of the judges saw Held's non-stop throw-every-submission-possible strategy as an effective offense. Most (including myself) think that Nover's measured escapes and steady striking attack deserved the nod, but it remains difficult to look past the fact that he spent what seemed like half of the fight escaping Held's submission attempts.
- In rounds 2 and 3 of his fight against Eduardo Dantas, Alexis Vila looked every bit of 40 years old. In the first round, Vila really showed how "old man strength" can work to your advantage, but for the final ten minutes of the fight, Dantas showed just how important "young man cardio and skill" really is. Vila seems in the right place at Bellator, and likely hit his ceiling when he KO'd Joe Warren.
- Dantas is a certified stud. His striking technique looked eons above Vila, and his length will prove to be a decent advantage at that weight. There weren't really questions about his ground game coming into the fight, but his glove-like back control in round 3 was just a glimpse of how good this kid could be.
- It's sad we didn't get to see more of Patricky Freire v. Kurt Pellegrino, but I can understand how from the referee's angle it may have looked like Pellegrino had gone limp. We really didn't learn much from this fight... Patricky is crazy powerful and always fun to watch. Pellegrino's retirement seemed genuine, however I wouldn't be surprised to see him come back for "one more fight" if Bellator offered him another right in his back yard. I always liked watching Pellegrino's very technical blend of wrestling and jiu-jitsu, and hopefully he puts his knowledge to good use and coaches upcoming talent.
- As for Eric Prindle v. Thiago Santos... That was bizarre. Maybe Santos had been training with Steven Segal and had been practicing the tailbone/taint kick? Now they get rematch to see who is going to lose to Kole Conrad.
For what Bellator is, I really like it. I like the idea that I may very well be seeing the future of MMA develop before my eyes. I realize that not every single fighter on the roster has unlimited potential, or is even that skilled, but who can argue with two solid hours of cagefighting every week?