Bellator has been bringing fans great MMA action every week on MTV2. The problem, one we've heard even from hardcore fans, is identifying the players. Who are these guys? And why should I care? You've asked and we've answered: here's your primer for Bellator 41.
Joe Warren vs. Marcos Galvao
Who They Are: Warren is the Bellator Featherweight champion and one of the most promising fighters in the sport. Now entering his third year in MMA, the former Greco Roman national champion and Division I wrestling All American has added some new tools to his already formidable wrestling. Galvao is a Nova Uniao blackbelt in Brazilian jiu jitsu and a veteran of Shooto and the WEC.
Why You Should Care: Warren calls himself "the baddest man on the planet." An homage to Mike Tyson, it's funny to hear coming out of the mouth of a 145 pound man. He won the Season 2 featherweight tournament with an amazing come from behind victory over Patricio Freire and then beat Joe Soto to win the title. Although this is a non-title fight, there is plenty at stake - pride, positioning, and for Galvao, perhaps a rematch for the belt if he wins.
Fun Fact: Warren intends to compete at the 2012 Olympics in Greco Roman wrestling.
Zach Makovsky vs. Chad Robichaux
Who They Are: Makovsky won the Bellator bantamweight title with three decision wins in a season three tournament. Makovsky is a former NCAA wrestler at Drexel where he works as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach. Robichaux is a Gracie Jiu Jitsu standout and is undefeated in 11 professional fights.
Why You Should Care: Although Makovsky didn't light the world on fire in winning the Bellator tournament, Robichaux should push him. Of his 11 pro fights, all but one were finished by submission. If he ends up on the bottom, Robichaux will push Makovsky into action - or submit him.
Fun Fact: A former Marine, Robichaux once jumped off a dresser during a barracks brawl. For a long time everyone called him Superfly, in reference to wrestling great Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka
Daniel Straus vs. Kenny Foster
Who They Are:
Vision MMA fighter Daniel Straus earned his place in the featherweight tournament semi-finals with a win over Nazareno Malegarie. Straus has wins over WEC veteran Karen Darabedyan and UFC veteran Gideon Ray. Kenny Foster is a Division II All American wrestler who advanced to the semi-finals with a huge upset win over wrestling standout Eric Larkin. Larkin was favored to win the tournament, so Foster's win announces him as someone worth watching.
Why You Should Care: Straus loves to fight. Just two years pro, he's already amassed 18 fights - Jeremy Horn and Travis Fulton need to watch their backs. He's gunning for them. Foster is called "The Tooth Fairy" due to his propensity to knock out opponent's teeth. This should be a good one.
Fun Fact: Straus once applied his own pubic hair to his eyebrows to help cover up a cut that wasn't healing fast enough. Amazingly, the big bushy eyebrows fooled the athletic commission and he was able to fight.
Wilson Reis vs. Patricio Freire
Who They Are: Bellator just can't quit Reis, who made the semi-finals of both the Season 1 and Season 2 featherweight tournaments. A former World Jiu-Jitsu Champion, Reis has been training in the sport since he was 13 and holds a win over current Bellator bantamweight champion Zach Makovsky. Freire, the brother of Patricky "Pitbull" Freire, impressed in the featherweight tournament last year, losing a controversial split decision in the finals to Joe Warren.
Why You Should Care: This is a rematch of last season's featherweight semi-finals that saw "Pitbull" win by unanimous decision. While Reis is a very cautious fighter, "Pitbull" is a bundle of energy who has finished 12 of his 15 wins by either knockout or submission.
Fun Fact: The Freire brothers are both nicknamed "Pitbull" and both have first names that begin with Patrick, making them only slightly less confusing than the famous Nogueira twins who they train alongside.