The Fight Report: Bellator 99

| September 11, 2013 | 3:42 pm | Reply

Bellator 99 main eventBellator was the best show of the week last time out, and will look to keep the ball rolling with the start of a new Featherweight tournament at Friday’s Bellator 99. Faces both new and old are present in one of Bellator’s most competitive divisions, as they all look to get a piece of Pat Curran and his title, along with a cool $100,000.

Let’s take a look at what the night has in store for us as the featherweights storm the cage.

Diego Nunes vs. Patricio Pitbull Freire: The most interesting Featherweight bout of the night features long time Zuffa fighter Diego Nunes, looking to right the ship in his professional career against Bellator original Patricio Freire. Nunes has been a thorn in the side of several opponents due to his run-and-gun style; lashing at his opponent’s base with kicks, planting for counter punches and fading away from danger. While he’s shown an ability to hit a mental switch and brutalize opponents like Bart Palaszweski, he’s more comfortable with his back near the cage and reacting more so than acting.

That works just fine for Pitbull, who loves to work his muay thai combinations and press the action.  Having iced the talented Jared Downing in his last fight, Pitbull looked fresh and ready to go in this tournament, hitting with pin-point accuracy and smartly pursuing his foe for the win. With his BJJ takedowns on point, a well-rounded ground game, and the skills to chew someone up in the clinch, there is no safe way to engage Pitbull in the cage as he looks for a signature win at Bellator 99.

This is an incredibly close fight due to Nunes’ defense being just as good as Pitbull’s offense. The thing that clinches it for me would be both men’s relative competition at this point in their careers, as Nunes takes a step down from the MMA world’s elite for a crack at this tournament. Having faced the best in the world, Nunes has little to fear from Pitbull’s bag of tricks, and can confuse Pitbull with his high energy evasions and counter strikes. This one is in the judge’s hands, but my money is on Nunes landing enough on the move to grab a close decision against the Bellator vet.

Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Houston Alexander: It’s fairly rare for two 40-year-old men to fight professionally, yet Bellator has seen fit to put these two together in what could be an excellent fight, regardless of age. Matyushenko is a proven commodity in MMA with his stiff wrestling style and old man strength, but Alexander is an explosive monster in the pocket, and is never truly out of a fight because of this. My brain is saying Matyushenko can ground Alexander early and work him over from top half-guard to destroy his endurance, but Matyushenko’s endurance has faltered in tough fights as well and could set him up for a brutal beating late. It comes down to whoever holds onto their youth longest, but I tip my hat to Matyushenko to take a decision.

Desmond Green vs. Fabricio Guerrerio: D-1 stand-out Desmond Green makes his Bellator debut, taking on Brazilian firecracker Fabricio Guerrerio as part of the Featherweight tournament. Green brings outstanding wrestling takedowns with tight and careful top control, but is extremely green at this stage of his career. The lack of submission training and striking is something Guerrerio can absolutely exploit, being a hyper-aggressive puncher with the accuracy to land early and get Green right off of his game. What I don’t like about Guerrerio is his lack of a gas tank and apparent lack of heart in his previous bout in Bellator, though Green may not having the firepower to wilt his resolve. It has potential to be close if Green works out the kinks in his game, but I have to give it to Guerrerio to tag Green standing, follow him to the ground, and get him out of there by early submission.

Justin Wilcox vs. Akop Stepanyan: Replacement fighter Justin Wilcox makes his featherweight debut, taking on ace striker Akop Stepanyan. Wilcox is a tremendous fighter with his fluid grappling and deceptive punching style that tends to land flush due to the angles he throws at. Stepanyan is a stone-cold killer with a massive arsenal on the feet and functional sambo, yet having trained for Shamhalaev won’t help him against Wilcox’s sound wrestling. Wilcox chin could very well betray him here, but his takedowns will more often than not see him to safety on the mat and allow for a spirited decision for The Silverback.

Andrew Fisher vs. Joe Taimanglo: A bit of a filler fight within the tournament, UK fighter Andrew Fisher faces Guam’s Joe Taimanglo. Fisher is a decent all-around fighter with a love of scrambles, but faces a bad stylistic match in the hard-hitting and powerful Taimanglo, whom will stop at nothing to ground his foe and crush the life out of him. While neither guy will make it far in the tournament, Taimanglo should grind Fisher to dust in his US debut, taking a submission win early.

Bellator 99 takes place this Friday September 13th from the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California.

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Category: Bellator, MMA

About the Author ()

I'm a 20+ year veteran of martial arts and a fan of MMA since UFC 1, when my world was thrown on its head by the budding sport. I'm obsessive in the pursuit of martial abilities and have competed across the country in everything from Vale Tudo to archery to Scottish broadsword. Once my body broke down, I picked up a pen and went in the direction of writing. I specialize in betting advice, predictions, and I'm a walking encyclopedia of MMA trivia. I own a cafe in Exeter, NH called Hammersmith Sandwich Company and write out of my office between customers.

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