Seriously, Bellator just released the line-up for its upcoming HW tournament in March and I'm.....genuinely looking forward to it.
Sure, these aren't top level guys by any stretch of the imagination, but they're fun fights.
Blagoi Ivanov vs. Rich Hale
With Johnson, you've got a guy with admittedly zero ground game, but quite possibly the most powerful hands in MMA. Seriously, the power in Johnson's hands is just un-fucking-real. It's so unreal that it's actually gotten him a winning record at a decent level in MMA despite having crap-tastic wrestling and zero ground skills and, actually, no real kicks either. He's just got decent boxing and giant power.
Opposite him, you've got Ryan Martinez, who basically looks the part of a regional HW: 5'11 and 265 lbs. In other words, a slob. But looks are deceiving in Martinez's case since...he's actually a decent fighter with a surprisingly sound gas tank. He's got pretty good wrestling and pretty solid boxing and, overall, a surprising amount of patience and skill for a guy with his appearance.
Graham/Mo is a no-brainer: it's a fight between two old K-1 stalwarts who, admittedly, have exactly zero cardio between the two of them. But the first round should be some fun kickboxing with, hopefully, neither guy worrying about the takedown.
Alexander Volkov is a treat to watch and, despite a nice record, Mark Holata really isn't anything special. The resutl is that we should, hopefully, get to see Volkov work his slick striking on a mobile heavy bag in a slightly more competitive version of Volkov's fight against Brett Rogers. Volkov is a great watch when he's able to settle into his groove and do his thing and that's likely what he's going to get against Holata.
Then you've got Blagoi Ivanov. Sure he's sloppy, sure he's got cardio issues, but who fucking cares? The guy's a sambo world champion and came back from getting STABBED IN THE HEART. Given that, it's a treat seeing him in the cage, period. And he's still young, still has that sambo background, and is still a prospect looking to put everything together.
Sort of like Ivanov, though perhaps with less credentials, you've got Rich Hale, another guy with potential. I keep wanting to think that Hale is better than he is, and that's due to his aggression (which causes a total lack of defence), his power, decent hands, his athleticism, and his creativity on the ground.
So you've got solid all-around fighter with a deceiving appearance in Ryan Martinez versus possibly the hardest puncher out there in Lavar Johnson.
Then you've got an old school K-1 fight in Graham/Mo.
Then you've got a chance for Volkov to do his thing against a willing partner.
And then, in Ivanov/Hale, you've got two guys with potential who are trying to reach that next level.
This is...legitimately good.