Bellator kicks off it sixth season this Friday with Bellator 60 live at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, IN. This season is a very important one for the Bellator brand as the company looks to gain momentum before it begins airing on Spike TV next year.
Bellator looks to jump into that season quickly by showcasing one of its better divisions, the featherweights. MMAFrenzy takes a look at some things to watch for and look forward to on a stacked card.
Bellator Featherweight Championship fight – Joe Warren (c) vs. Jeff Curran
If there is one thing these two fighters share it’s their ability remain dangerous when you least expect it. Curran is coming off a stunning knockout of Marlon Sandro. A fight in which Curran struggled mightily but continued to time Sandro before landing a devastating headkick KO.
Meanwhile, Joe Warren is looking to bounce back after a brutal KO loss to Alexis Vila during his run at adding the bantamweight title to his existing featherweight title. Warren has also been trying to make the 2012 Olympic wrestling team, which is a time consuming goal, so he may not be as focused here as he normally would.
Both fighters start slow and Warren holds a clear edge in the wrestling department. While that is normally enough to grind out a win, Curran is dangerous on the ground thanks to his cousin, UFC fighter and BJJ Guru Jeff Curran, and he can at least wrestle defensively enough to win. Another advantage for Curran is that his striking has improved by leaps and bounds with each fight. Warren has a tendency to get rocked a few times a fight, and against a guy like Curran, that could prove fatal.
Other things to watch:
- Former Sengoku featherweight champion Marlon Sandro is the clear favorite in this tournament and will be gunning for a shot at the title after falling short in unexpected fashion. Sandro was devastated after the loss last year and it will likely drive him to bury that disappointment with some vicious striking and submission skills.
- Expect the non-title “fight of the night” to be Alexandre Bezerra and Genair da Silva. Da Silva held his own in a tough fight with Sandro in last year’s tournament and Bezerra has some serious skills on the ground. Expect this one to be a fun match-up.
- Daniel Straus is a favorite this Friday, and for good reason. Straus possesses dominant wrestling with evolving skills in both the striking and submission game. This make him a formidable opponent for anyone. I would not be surprised at all if he and Sandro are the finalists in this year’s tournament.
- Ronnie Mann is very tough featherweight with some excellent muay thai skills and a strong skillset in all areas. Last year he was smothered by Curran due to his inability to avoid the takedown and mount enough offense of his back. At only 25, Mann has plenty of time to get better and it will be interesting to see how his game has evolved in the time between seasons.
- Be sure to check out Spike.com as they will likely be airing the night’s undercard, which will involve former UFC fighters Sean McCorkle and Shamar Bailey. As well as the first man to give a Bellator champion a loss in a “Super Fight,” longtime veteran Travis Wiuff.