Sixty events down, and Bellator continues to deliver entertaining fights and highlight reel moments seemingly with ease. Now once again, it’s time to ask: What’s next?
What does the future hold after Pat Curran KTFO’d Joe Warren and claimed Bellator’s Featherweight Championship? Here’s my answer to just that: a new edition of my “What’s Next for the Winners and Losers” series of articles, now featuring Bellator 60.
The Featherweight Tournament Semifinals
Our four Season Six Featherweight Tournament semifinalists are Alexandre Bezerra, Marlon Sandro, Mike Corey and Daniel Straus. Based on their track records, I think Sandro and Straus have got to be the favorites to win the entire tournament. Unless they get put against each other in the semifinals, I think it’s very likely that Straus vs. Sandro will be the finale of this tournament.
In regards to actual matchups, I have to say that I think Daniel Straus is the worst matchup for all three of the other semifinalists. Bezerra and Sandro have demonstrated good hands (more so in Sandro’s case) and great submission games, but Straus is a dominant, grinding wrestler.
Mike Corey is a grinding wrestler, too, but what I’ve seen of his wrestling leads me to believe that it’s just not as good as Straus’ at this point in time.
For Marlon Sandro, it’s all about neutralizing the ground game no matter who he’s put up against. All three of his possible opponents like taking fights to the ground, but none of them have true knockout power. Sandro does. He needs to let those hands go, and even if he can’t crack a chin, he’ll get into the finals so long as he focuses on keeping the fight standing.
For Alexandre Bezerra, it’s the exact opposite. Bezerra has a majority of his career wins by submission. He needs to take the fight to the ground no matter what. I do think Bezerra can submit Corey, but it’s going to take a lot of effort to submit Sandro or Straus. Is it possible, though? I’d say yes, and especially in Bellator, where the phrase “anything is possible in MMA” might as well be the promotion’s official motto.
And finally, I think Mike Corey is the official “dark horse” of this tournament.
He’s a good wrestler, but Daniel Straus is a great wrestler. Marlon Sandro could knock him out, Alexandre Bezerra could submit him. But this is Bellator we’re talking about, and Daniel Straus himself went from “dark horse” to one of Bellator’s best seemingly overnight thanks to his performances in a previous Bellator tournament.
Next for Joe Warren
As much as I dislike him for his brash cockiness, Joe Warren is definitely a star in Bellator. He’ll probably be in the next Featherweight tournament, or even the next Bantamweight tournament. Who knows? Maybe he’ll even try Lightweight.
Coming off of two incredibly humbling KO losses, I just don’t know what the future holds for Joe Warren. The only thing I’ll say for sure is that Warren will probably either fight in Japan at least once or in a “super-fight” in Bellator while spending time on the Bellator sidelines waiting for the next lighter-weight tournament to start up.
Next for Pat Curran
From relative obscurity to the winner of two Bellator tournaments at two different weight classes and now a Bellator champion...how can you not love Pat Curran?
We’re talking a humble fighter with exploding potential who's not even in the prime of his career yet. I hesitate to call him a “Jon Jones” type of fighter; he hasn’t proven that yet. But mark my words: The potential is there. Curran could easily become Bellator’s equivalent of Jon Jones: a dominant, young champion who takes on and beats everyone that’s put before him.
I think we’ve only just begun to see the best of Pat Curran.
Oliver Saenz, also known as PdW2kX, is a freelance journalist, opinion columnist, hardcore MMA fan and lifelong video game nerd. For more news, views, previews and reviews on all things Mixed Martial Arts, as well as video games, be sure to visit FightGamesBlog.net.