The 2011 Summer Series Featherweight Semifinals kicked off last night at Bellator 47. The prophecy was fulfilled as the two featherweights anticipated to meet up in the finals both chalked up commanding performances to advance. Pat Curran defeated Ronnie Mann and Marlon Sandro topped Nazareno Malegarie, both by unanimous decision. The pair will clash at Bellator 48 on August 20 to decide the tournament's champion.
In the event's headliner, Pat Curran's standing defense was nothing short of impeccable. After a brief feeling out period, Curran bombed a flying knee, then followed up with another shortly after, closing the combination with a left hook and locking up the clinch. Mann defended initially, but eventually ended up on his back when Curran persisted from the body lock. The round closed with Curran working from inside Mann's guard.
The second frame played out with Curran taking the center of the cage and taking control of the pace with crisp boxing. He adequately blocked or avoided almost everything Mann threw his way by continually pressing the Team Tompkins fighter backward. The round closed with Mann locking up a guillotine and using it to sweep, but Curran scrambled to half-guard to nullify the attempt until the bell sounded.
The remaining Bellator 47 results are posted in the full entry.
Mann had another burst of offense to close the third, but the bulk of that round and the entire fight was dictated by Curran's relentless pressure.
Curran once again upped his level of aggression and attacked with flying knees and takedowns. He took the unanimous decision with two 30-27 scores and one 29-28.
Marlon Sandro came out southpaw, then switched to orthodox and started keying in his jab. Nazareno Malegarie kept his distance and held his own for the first few minutes, but after Sandro started snapping his head back consistently with the jab and easily avoiding his takedown attempts, things shifted strongly in Sandro's favor. The former Sengoku and Pancrase featherweight champion found his groove and was landing at will by the end of the first, sweeping hooks and snapping uppercuts through the pocket while Malegarie's frustration increased.
Sandro's rhythm continued to build in the second, and he integrated some takedowns of his own to complement his striking panache. In a case of a puzzling strategy, Malegarie, who was taking punishment standing and had been looking to force a ground fight, twice scrambled back to his feet after having Sandro in his guard.
The final round was all Sandro. Malegarie attempted no takedowns and put forth his best effort standing, but the fluidity and power of Sandro's boxing was too much. He continued to bob and weave around Malegarie's advances and plug punches through his defense, coasting to a fairly one-sided unanimous decision.
In a blurry whirlwind of leather, Jensen connected on a punch and wobbled Grove early, but "Goliath" quickly regained his wits and assumed the top position, where he sat back for an ankle lock.
With nothing doing, Grove released it and a mutual massacre of hammerfists occurred. Grove climbed back into Jensen's guard and pummeled a series of unanswered punches for a first round TKO. It was a primitive yet pleasingly violent outburst that ignited the broadcast with a bang.
Chris Horodecki laid out a dominant and determined performance that hearkened back to his days in the IFL. Chris Saunders was a step behind on the feet and, though he maintained a fairly active guard, was unable to legitimately threaten with much off his back.
Horodecki unrolled sharp kickboxing while working in his signature outside trip from the clinch to stay in the driver's seat throughout. All three judges gave him all three rounds, and Horodecki dedicated the victory to a friend he'd recently lost. It was a strong performance for Horodecki's Bellator debut, and his post-UFC streak extends to two.
In a preliminary bout that aired on the televised broadcast, lulled into exchanging on the feet to set up a smooth double-leg. An instant after the fight hit the ground, the Brazilian was latched to the back of Gross and constricting a rear-naked choke that removed Gross from consciousness even though his chin was still trapped in the hold.
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