In Part 2 of TXMMA’s Bellator 27 coverage, Scott Reis breaks down the action on the televised card. Part 1 covers the local bouts.
Once the cameras started rolling on Bellator 27, there was no shortage of action. The bantamweight tournament finished out its first round and a Bellator championship belt traded hands for the first time. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney revealed the matchups for the next round in the bantamweight tournament: Jose Vega versus Ed West and Zach Makovsky versus Ulysses Gomez. Read on for fight by fight analysis and commentary.
Ulysses Gomez (brother of US National Soccer team forward Herculez Gomez) and Travis Reddinger were the first match for Bellator 27 as part of the bantamweight tournament, though I’m told the fight was shown after the main event on TV. The word to describe this fight is “awkward”. Gomez was met with some early scares in the guard of Reddinger so he then stood over Reddinger kicking at his legs while Reddinger kicked at Gomez of his back. This created a strange dynamic in which Gomez would take Reddinger down, often enduring some punishment for his trouble, then would stand over Reddinger kicking his legs instead of engaging. This went on until late in the third round, where the continued takedown attempts seemed to wear on Gomez and he did not stand following a takedown. Reddinger locked up a triangle choke from an omoplata attempt and transitioned between several different submissions before Gomez finally escaped and stood just before the final bell. Gomez walked away with a split decision.
I spoke to Reddinger after the bout, who told me that the fight was supposed to be later that night and when he was called to fight he hadn’t even finished wrapping his hands, much less warmed up. I asked Gomez in the press conference about his “takedown then stand” strategy, and if it was used to avoid Reddinger’s jiu jitsu. Gomez stated, “It’s a little hard to say, Travis is a tough guy to train for, really tall and lanky. When I took him down, I was more worried about that triangle.” Gomez also remarked that he was hesitant engaging Reddinger with his short arms against Reddinger’s long legs.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney called this fight the “fight of the night if it weren’t for Warren and Soto”. Not much was known about West coming into this fight, but he lived up to his nickname and delivered a wild fight, attacking with for multiple rolling kneebars from a standing position and lots of fancy kicks. The first round was slow, but eventually as the fighters were able to grow more comfortable in the cage they opened up with more of their arsenal, West with more unorthodox attacks and Goldsby with a more positionally sound ground attack. Both fighters also appeared to be having some amount of fun in the cage; they joked with each other and even hugged it out at the beginning of round three. West ended up walking away at with the unanimous decision victory.
In the post fight presser, Goldsby remarked that he hopes West wins the entire tournament, because he wants to take that belt from him. Bjorn Rebney said they would definitely have Goldsby back. West called Goldsby “definitely one of the tougher dudes in the tournament”, but he was just focused on his next matchup. He definitely has his hands full with Jose Vega.
Makovsky is a dominant, positionally oriented wrestler, coming highly recommended by Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez. Nick Mamalis from all accounts is a beast of a fighter, but just couldn’t seem to find his groove against Majovsky. Makovsky put Mamalis on his back over and over and used a workmanlike pace to look for submissions over all three rounds. Not a whole lot of ground and pound, just positions and submission attempts. Majovsky took the unanimous decision. Neither of them were particularly talkative at the press conference. Mamalis was unsatisfied with his performance and Makovsky was thankful to be there and to Nick for making it a great fight.
One of the things Bellator does very well is get the highlights of their best fights out on the internet, so if you haven’t already seen this, stop and watch it. Now. Joe Soto delivered a 10-8 first round. Absolute dominance on the feet, the highlight video can’t begin to scratch the surface. Warren was never even close to being in the fight. Right when you thought Warren was recovering then Soto would tag him again. Soto was clowning Warren throughout the fight with low hands and gesticulation, but he didn’t have to pay for it until round 2. Warren revealed in the post-fight presser that his cornerman, the WEC Bantamweight #1 Contender Scott Jorgensen, told him to move his head, and that “the overhand right was there”. Jorgensen’s words were prophetic, and Warren floored Soto with the first punch he threw in the second – the overhand right. Soto appeared to recover and he stood only to be met with a Joe Warren knee that drove Soto’s tooth into his windpipe. Needless to say, Soto did not make the post fight presser.
Warren’s next matchup is rumored to be in Japan for DREAM against Michihiro Omigawa who has been on an absolute tear. When pressed on the issue, Warren remarked that he wasn’t even thinking of that fight yet, and Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney noted that both Warren and Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard want to fight so often they have to do their best to let them fight as much as possible. Warren also noted that he has plans to take a 6 month break from MMA to train and compete in the 2012 Olympics for Wrestling, one of the only titles to escape his grasp. Warren’s thoughts on the belt? “It’s heavy, I like it.”
R. Scott Reis is an avid MMA fan and amateur MMA writer who has competed in jiu jitsu bouts all over Texas and recently made his amateur MMA debut. He writes and trains out of Austin, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @TXMMAScott.