Later tonight, Bellator 69 will air on MTV2 and be streaming on Spike.com. We at Bloody Elbow will cover the event live - as well as The Ultimate Fighter - and we welcome you to the best place to hang out and talk MMA for the evening.
The main event fighters, Maiquel Falcao and Andreas Spang, are competing in the Bellator Middleweight tournament semi-finals. Karl Amoussou and David Rickels, the fight just prior, is the other semi-final.
We last saw Falcao in action at Bellator 66, where he took two rounds and a unanimous decision from Vyacheslav Vasilevsky. The bout was fitful in its pace and yielded in most memories to the amazing comeback of Andreas Spang over Brian "The Predator" Rogers in the very next fight.
Spang was in a back and forth first round with Rogers, but lost the round on most unofficial cards. In the second round, Rogers started lighting Spang up with huge punches and backed an obviously hurt Spang against the cage. Spang took the opportunity to launch a Hail Mary left hook and it connected - knocking Rogers down and opening him up for the finish.
After the fight, Falcao and Spang got into a shoving match, which saw Spang fined and warned by the athletic commission for instigating it. Tonight's bout should have an air of emotional intensity - although not nearly as much as the famous Falcao/Leandro Gordo match from Amazon Combat (ask in comments for the full story to that insanity).
Amoussou took out Chris Lozano at Bellator 63 in the first round with rear naked choke obtained after a very nice sweep to top position that made for a nice Judo Chop. Lozano was perhaps stunned by a head kick Amoussou landed just before the fight went to the ground, but "Psycho" Amoussou looked very impressive. His opponent, David "The Caveman" Rickels, made it to the semi-finals by punching out Jordan Smith in 22 seconds. Smith has had a tough time keeping opponents away from his tender chin in the past, but the demolition Rickels put on him was impressive. Amoussou should enjoy a considerable size advantage, but Rickels has powerful punches and could surprise Psycho at an inopportune moment.
Tonight, we also get to see Jessica Aguilar battle Megumi Fujii. Aguilar (13-4) last fought for this promotion at Bellator 58 in November of 2011, but picked up a win against Patricia Vidonic at Fight Time 8 in February of 2012. She is perhaps most notable for being the first victim of the Zoila Gurgel (nee Frausto) judging streak at Bellator 31. Her opponent, Fujii (25-1), is perhaps the single most complete mixed martial artist in the women's game. Her sole loss was to Zoila in October of 2010, a horrendously judged match, and since then, Fujii has won three fights with ease. This fight is being billed as the world's #1 strawweight versus the world's #2 strawweight - and it is exactly that.
If the world was a more just place, Fujii would be undefeated and Aguilar would have already battled her at Bellator 34. This is the bout that should have been and will feature some of the best talent in the world in that division. Fujii is known for her considerable grappling prowess, but has taken to striking for extended periods of time with her opponents. Aguilar will have her work cut out for her in fending off the punches and takedowns enough to implement her own offense.
Bellator's Jessica Aguilar Comes Out As Bi-Sexual | Mini-Chop: Megumi Fujii's Japanese Mount Armbar | Megumi Fujii Goes 22-0, Best MMA Record Ever? | Judo Chop: Karl Amoussou and the Pendulum/Scissors Sweep | Andrey Koreshkov ranked as #1 Welterweight Prospect in 2012 Scouting Report
The rest of the card is after the jump and a note on a very promising prospect fighting tonight.
Maiquel Falcao (188, then 186 at re-weighing) vs. Andreas Spang (185.8)
David Rickels 170.6) vs. Karl Amoussou (170)
Megumi Fujii (116) vs. Jessica Aguilar (115.6)
Ron Sparks (264.6) vs. Kevin Asplund (239)
Shanon Slack (146) vs. Booker Arthur (145.4)
Josh Quayhagen (158.2) vs. Cliff Wright (155.6)
Josh Burns (206) vs. Richard Hale (205.5)
E.J. Brooks (156.6) vs. Kalvin Hackney (156)
Andrey Koreshkov (170.8) vs. Derrick Krantz (170.8)
Mark Holata (250.5) vs. Abe Wagner (248.8)
Why You Should Watch The Preliminary Card:
Andrey Koreshkov is probably the most exciting young gun in the entire sport of MMA right now.
The Bloody Elbow Scouting Report ranked Koreshkov (9-0) as the #1 prospect in the welterweight division back in January. The day after the article appeared, Bellator announced it had signed Koreshkov to a contract. We saw "Spartan" in action at Bellator 63 at the end of March, where he took one minute and twenty six seconds to finish Tiawan Howard (9-9) with a barrage of strikes.
Despite the unexceptional record of Koreshkov's opponents, he truly is special for his incredibly fluid striking. Undeserved hyperbole attached to a prospect can be damaging, but honestly, there are few fighters that throw smoother and more accurate strikes than Koreshkov right now and Anderson Silva is the most prominent of them.
Derrick Krantz is the best opponent Koreshkov has faced thus far and has submission grappling tendencies to boot. This is exactly the type of bout we need to see Koreshkov in to determine just how much hype he rightly deserves.