Bellator 102: Brennan Ward and Vinicus Spartan Surprise

| October 4, 2013 | 10:47 pm | Reply

Bellator 102 boxBellator MMA was back in California tonight for the heavyweight tournament semifinals and Bellator 102. Two former UFC heavyweights were making their Bellator debuts looking to turn their luck around and rejuvenate their career. One of them was successful while the other one was quickly denied.

But Bellator 102 had some other hidden gems that shined tonight.

Brennan Ward: A late replacement in the first round, Ward took the fight to semi-final late replacement Joe Pachero, taking out the hulking brute with a bottle cap guillotine midway through the fight. I really like Ward’s wrestling, as while Div-1 and State Champion wrestlers are a dime a dozen in MMA, his style tends to be more functional. As the sport progresses, certain techniques from the composite parts of MMA disappear, as they’re found wanting in the cage, and Ward just seems to be one step ahead of the curve in terms of functionality. With his chance for the tournament title against Parlo, we could well see a Cinderella Story here.

Mikkel Parlo vs. Jason Butcher: Well, this was ugly, and it was really both fighters’ fault. Parlo came out looking to avoid the mat at all costs and did a fair job of it, rarely hitting the ground for more than a second or two before springing out of danger.  If he was meant to shine on the feet though, he didn’t appear to be aware of that; punches coming few and far between.  While his strike quality was high, he should have done much more to put Butcher away, and seemed to lack a killer instinct at key moments of the bout.

For Butcher, he’s a throwback fighter if there ever was one, and that’s not a compliment. Being great at your craft is all well and good, but Butcher is so one-dimensional that he can’t even move like a fighter, using sluggish and awkward footwork to careen around the cage haphazardly. His shots were beyond bad, his striking was landing only because Parlo didn’t appear to comprehend where it was coming from, and his mat work was once again non-existent. For all the wild no-gi footage of this guy, it might be time for him make a decision to sign with Metamorphoses rather than waste time on the Bellator screen.

Vinicus Spartan: I called Spartan to win this one, but didn’t think we’d be seeing a one punch KO of that magnitude.  It was the perfect angle and strike from Spartan that saw Johnson faceplant from the blow, although I didn’t like what I saw leading up to it. When you’re an ultra-tall fighter who likes to fight tall, you either have to be loose, using head movement and shoulder rolls, or have impeccable range control. Spartan does well in terms of keeping range, but fights stiff as a board, which has contributed to his losses and near falls. The fact he’s yet to fix this glaring error bothers me, especially considering his next opponent in the finals.

Cheick Kongo: This was a huge fight in terms of Kongo’s career, and he performed as well as we’ve ever seen him.  Someone whose made a decent career in the fight game and is just shy of forty years old has every reason to put half effort into their fight camp, but Kongo fought a high-paced clinch battle for one and a half rounds with no hint of slowing down. If he comes into his next fight with the same discipline, I can’t see Spartan getting much going on him before being crushed by the Frenchmen’s wrestling pressure.

Complete Bellator 102 results:

265 lbs. Tournament Semifinals: Cheick Kongo defeated Mark Godbeer via 2nd rd. TKO

265 lbs. Tournament Semifinals: Vinicius Queiroz defeated Lavar Johnson via 1st rd. KO

135 lbs. Summer Series Tournament Final: Rafael Silva defeated Anthony Leone vs. unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

185 lbs. Tournament Semifinals: Mikkel Parlo defeated Jason Butcher via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

185 lbs. Tournament Semifinals: Brennan Ward defeated Joe Pacheco via 2nd rd. submission (guillotine choke)

Scott Cleve defeated Isaac DeJesus via 2nd rd. TKO

Javy Ayala defeated Thiago Santos via 1st rd. knockout

Brandon Girtz defeated Poppies Martinez via 1st rd. submission (armbar)

Stephen Martinez defeated Bryan Travers via 1st rd. technical submission (guillotine choke)

Cain Carrizosa defeated Juan Quesada via 2nd rd. submission (triangle choke)

Brandon Cash defeated William Richey via 2nd rd. TKO (exhaustion)

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Category: Bellator, Featured, MMA, Results

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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