The Bellator summer series came to a close tonight with two tournament finals at Bellator 73. First off was the was the conclusion of the season 6 bantamweight tournament between Marcos Galvao and Luis Nogueira and headlining the card was the summer series light heavyweight final between Travis Wiuff and Attila Vegh.
The complete Bellator 73 main card featured four bouts in all. The night kicked off with……..
Ryan Martinez vs. Mike “The Juggernaut” Wessel: These two giants were sure to spice up the Bellator Heavyweight division, and both came into this fight as a promotional debut. Power was evident from the get-go, as Martinez and Wessel collided and proceeded to bully each other around the cage, disengaging to lambast each other with massive punches. Wessel looked like he was ready for a fight, using surprisingly sharp counters on the faster fighter, but the tide in the first round turned after the three-minute mark. Using a smarter tactic of closing distance, Martinez began to mix in lunging strikes and clinch grappling to throw Wessel off-balance and keep the veteran fighter guessing. Securing a short-lived takedown with top control and landing a punch that knocked Wessel to the mat, Martinez finished in side control and took the first grueling round.
Round two started much as the first with the two big men landing looping punches and jockeying for position with clinch wrestling. Martinez attempted to work more of his wrestling and BJJ in the second round, looking to put this down early and managed to trip takedown, but lost it as the powerful Wessel surged back to his feet. The two slightly weary fighters took to trading single blows; punches, leg kicks and even a pair of head kicks, where Wessel managed to turn the tables for a time. Catching a Martinez head kick, Wessel took the fight to the mat, putting his girth on the winded Martinez and working solid hammerfists before Martinez escaped to his feet. Securing a final takedown late in the round, Martinez secured top half guard in a close round that could have went to either fighter.
The two tired behemoths engaged with single shots in the third round with Wessel holding the center of the cage and pushing Martinez back with long straight punches and flurries. With Martinez clearly lost as to a way of dealing with Wessel, he found himself with his back to the cage more often than not, working short punches and knees. Turning on the juice late in the round, both men close out with a flurry, with Wessel taking a narrow round.
Mike Wessel wins via Split Decision (29-28×2, 28-29)
Mike Mucitelli vs. Matt Van Buren: The two young guns started their Light Heavyweight affair quickly, with Mucitelli landing a fast one-two and getting a takedown, although his success was short-lived as Van Buren landed a switch and began a dangerous fight inside Mucitelli’s guard. Van Buren worked ground and pound, both standing and laying within guard as Mucitelli wind milled up kicks and worked for all manner of submissions in an effort to catch his crafty opponent. With Van Buren’s mind on defense, Mucitellli landed a beautifully sweep and a scramble ensued with Mucitelli moving to a standing back ride and eventually winding up on his back once again as Van Buren worked a quick takedown. This would prove to be an error though, as Mucitelli threw up a triangle before Van Buren could set his defense straight and forced the undefeated fighter to tap.
Mike Mucitelli wins via 1st Round Submission (triangle choke)
Marcos Galvao vs. Luis Nogueira: This fight to determine the Bellator Bantamweight Tournament winner started with aggression by Galvao, closing the distance and getting a quick clinch takedown that he couldn’t hold against the Brazilian wrestler. With some jockeying against the cage, Nogueira appeared to want to work from clinch range, working short knees and inside punches, but finally disengaged to work his crisp striking at distance. Galvao’s wild but powerful striking was on display as he threw his trademark overhand punches and stiff leg kicks, often getting the better of exchanges. A quick clinch slam by Nogueira only added fuel to the fire though as Nogueira hopped up and started slinging heavy punches; half of which made it through Nogueira’s defense and half of which allowed him to be countered just as hard.
The second round started with Nogueira having more success defensively, seeming to have gotten his head movement and footwork to work against Galvao’s wild punches. With the majority of his strikes starting to land, Nogueira seemed to gain control of the fight, keeping his movement measured to avoid Galvao’s power and stop any potential takedown attempts while clearly owning the round in the first half. In a very surprising turn of events, a long straight left from Galvao suddenly put Nogueira on ice skates, and Galvao gave him no space to recover, chasing him around the cage and landing hard lefts over and over. Knocking Noguira to the mat, Galvao locked on a body triangle from mount and began blasting his opponent with downward elbows, forcing the ref to save Nogueira late in the round.
Marcos Galvao wins via 2nd Round TKO (ground and pound)
Travis “Diesel” Wiuff vs. Attila Vegh: While it’s not Bellator’s best division, the Light Heavyweight final was over before it began. Working a long-range striking game, Vegh set up a perfect uppercut and overhand punch combo on Wiuff as he moved in, dropping the “real” LHW champ of Bellator and finishing with punches on the mat. The end would come seconds into the fight and set up a very interesting title bout between M’Pumbu and Vegh.
Attila Vegh wins via 1st Round KO
Look for complete Bellator 73 results right here.