With more tournaments closing out and others just beginning, the Bellator cycle is alive and well at tonight’s Bellator 80. With former champion Joe Warren looking to get back in the fold and the Featherweight and Heavyweight tournaments having their final bouts set, let’s dig into this busy night of fisticuffs.
Darryl Cobb vs. Brett Cooper:
A possible entry into the next Middleweight tournament was on the line here as two scrappy men in Cobb and Cooper squared off. The bout started slow as mutual respect was shown for their opponent’s power, but it wasn’t long before fists were flying. Cooper took the smarter approach in exchanges and began working strong wrestling takedowns and some seriously punishing ground and pound. Cobb would find his way to his feet time and again and look to land heavy counter punches, but Cooper picked his spots well, closing out the first round with an easy 10-9.
The second round started with more of the same as Cooper played on the feet for a bit before landing an easy takedown and pounding away on Cobb from his open guard. The beating continued for the entire round with Cobb’s only response to throw punches from his back while loudly cursing Cooper out. While the verbal attack was certainly funny, it did very little for him and cost him a 10-8 round on my card.
The third completely unnecessary round played out exactly as the others with Cooper landing an immediate takedown and working from his guard. While Cobb was able to stand at the end of the round, Cooper showed he was the superior fighter in every aspect of the MMA game, finishing out a strong 10-9 round.
Brett Cooper wins via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
The highly anticipated Featherweight semi-final saw heavy leather flying the moment the bell sounded as Martinez worked to keep Fabiano from using his bread and butter jiu-jitsu. While Fabiano did surprise Martinez with a takedown early, Martinez as able to stand and continue his sprawl and brawl assault. A close round saw Martinez land a little more often than Fabiano, and edge it in his favor.
Round two saw both men land shots that wobbled their opponents, with Martinez hands finding the mark frequently while Fabiano landed a monster clinch knee to the jaw that put Martinez on Queer Street. It was Martinez movement in and out of range and his strong single punches that had Fabiano looking winded and frustrated throughout the round, giving Martinez another close round.
With the score cards a little too close for comfort, neither man let off the gas in the third round. Martinez continued to land single power shots and small combinations that saw Fabiano hurt a few times in the round, though Fabiano’s straight punches were finding the mark often as well. With a double left hook almost putting Fabiano out in the closing seconds of the round, Martinez sealed a round for himself and potentially the fight.
Rad Martinez wins via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-29, 30-27)
Alexander Volkov vs Vinicius Queiroz:
Two of the largest men in Bellator history faced off as both men worked heavyweight caliber punches early in the round. Spartan lunged forward with looping shots, yet Volkov had more success with the straight shots and put Spartan on his heels. A quick takedown and one of the fastest stand-ups I’ve ever seen by a referee saw the fight return to the feet, where each man landed massive punches. Another takedown by Spartan and active striking from both men made this a close round, but one that I think Spartan edged.
Round two saw Volkov stay behind his jab and make better use of reach as Spartan’s punches started to come up short. As Volkov became more comfortable, kicks found their way into his arsenal, landing several hard liver kicks and push kicks that upset Spartan’s balance. With Spartan on his bicycle, Volkov came forward with a pair of one-twos that put Spartan on the mat, though Volkov was unable to finish the deed. A quick takedown by Spartan resulted in poor officiating as he was stood up from guard literally fifteen seconds after the fighters hit the mat. Landing brutal combinations on Spartan, Volkov finished his opponent against the fence with seconds to go in the second round and sending him into the Heavyweight Tournament final against Richard Hale.
Alexander Volkov wins via 2nd Round KO (punch)
Joe Warren vs. Owen Evinger:
The former Featherweight champion Joe Warren said he was going back to basics for this fight and did exactly that, putting his grinding style to work with an immediate takedown after a few wild striking exchanges. A crazy ground battle unfolded in the middle of the first round as both men wildly transitioned from dominant positions and latched onto every submission hold they could think of. Warren’s overall wrestling skill took over towards the end of the round as Warren slowly worked an arm triangle but couldn’t complete the move before the bell.
The first round was so good for the former champion he decided to rinse and repeat things for the next two rounds. Warren didn’t really hurt Evinger but he defiantly dominated him for 15 minutes and there was nothing Evinger could do about it.
Joe Warren wins by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Bellator 80 Un-aired Preliminary Card:
155 lbs.: Brandon Girtz defeated Mitchel Quinones by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
170 lbs.: Cristiano Souza defeated Robert Otani by 1st rd. KO (2:46)
170 lbs.: Cosmo Alexandre defeated Josh Quayhagen by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
150 lbs.: Shannon Slack defeated Sky Moiseichik by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
185 lbs.: Joe Vedepo defeated Mike Bernhard by 1st rd. Submission (3:26)
170 lbs.: Ryan DeRocher defeated Taylor Krahl by 1st rd. KO (0:20)