Bellator Season 8: Creating 8-Man Tournaments in Every Division

Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2012

Bellator Season 8: Creating 8-Man Tournaments in Every Division

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    Bellator is making the biggest move in the company's history when it jumps to Spike TV in 2013. With that, the up-and-coming MMA promotion is going to need to bring out all of the stars.

    It is not known which weight classes other than welterweight will have a tournament. Therefore, speculation for who will make tournaments in the other weight classes can still be made.

    Here are eight-man tournaments that could and should be made for their first season on Spike TV.

Heavyweight

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    The heavyweight division is currently without a champion, as Cole Konrad retired to work in the family business. Therefore, the winner of the current season should be crowned as champion when this season concludes.

    Either way, Bellator needs to showcase their young talent and notable names alike. They have two Russian up-and-comers in Vitaly Minakov and Ruslan Magomedov that should make the tournament, notables faces in Brett Rogers and Thiago Santos, as well as several other key heavyweights under contract.

    Even the loser of the heavyweight finals from this season should be included, which will be either Alexander Volkov or Rich Hale.

    Here is a potential eight-man first round.

    Alexander Volkov/Rich Hale loser vs. Ron Sparks

    Vitaly Minakov vs. Ryan Martinez

    Thiago Santos vs. Vinicius Queiroz 

    Brett Rogers vs. Ruslan Magomedov

Light Heavyweight

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    Currently, champion Christian M'Pumbu is set to defend his title against Attila Vegh at the end of this season. Whoever loses should be plugged into the tournament.

    The light heavyweight division got key additions in Muhammed Lawal and Renato Sobral, so their addition is almost obvious, assuming Lawal gets licensed.

    Also, international flavor could be added to the tournament in the form of Mikhail Zayats of Russia and Martin Desilets of Canada. With just those five names thrown out there, a light heavyweight tournament could be good.

    Here is a potential eight-man first round.

    Christian M'Pumbu/Attila Vegh loser vs. Martin Desilets

    Muhammed Lawal vs. Tim Carpenter

    Renato Sobral vs. Raphael Davis

    Mikhail Zayats vs. Emanuel Newton

Middleweight

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    Since the middleweight title is currently vacant, the last two tournament victors should fight over it next season in Maiquel Falcao and Alexander Shlemenko.

    With their exclusion, the middleweight division is sort of thin for Bellator. Repeat entrants like Brian Rogers, Slava Vasilevsky, Giva Santana and Bruno Santos should enter the tournament with their experience.

    Then there are guys who beat other guys that should have been in the tournament, but I will give the spots to them for winning. Billy Horne defeated Trey Houston, a guy I was very high on, while Perry Filkins knocked off Jonas Billstein.

    Both Horne and Filkins earned spots in the tournament and should be given a chance.

    Here is a potential eight-man first round.

    Brian Rogers vs. Billy Horne

    Slava Vasilevsky vs. Perry Filkins

    Bruno Santos vs. Mikkel Parlo

    Andreas Spang vs. Giva Santana

Welterweight

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    Since Bellator is letting fans vote on a first round matchup (the four choices are Douglas Lima, Paul Daley, War Machine and Ben Saunders), it's safe to say those four men will be included in the tournament.

    Next season, Ben Askren will have to defend his strap against Karl Amoussou, so they will both be off the table. Fortunately, welterweight is Bellator's strongest division.

    Add surging fighters like Ryan Ford, the loser of this seasons welterweight final (Andrey Koreshkov/Lyman Good) and a couple more guys, and it could be an amazing tournament.

    Here is a potential eight-man first round.

    Lyman Good/Andrey Koreshkov loser vs. Waachim Spiritwolf

    Douglas Lima vs. Ben Saunders (fans choice, rematch)

    Paul Daley vs. Jim Wallhead

    Ryan Ford vs. War Machine

Lightweight

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    The lightweight title picture is currently a logjam, as Michael Chandler is still awaiting a fight with Rick Hawn. The winner of that fight then needs to face this seasons tournament winner, which will be either Dave Jansen or Marcin Held.

    The loser of Jansen-Held should snag a spot in the next tournament. Young guns like Cosmo Alexandre, Thiago Michel and Alexander Sarnavskiy should find a spot in that tournament as well.

    Then there are the tournament veterans like Patricky Freire, Brent Weedman and Lloyd Woodard. Their additions would solidify that bracket.

    Here is a potential eight-man first round.

    Marcin Held/Dave Jansen vs. Thiago Michel

    Brent Weedman vs. Cosmo Alexandre

    Lloyd Woodard vs. Alexander Sarnavskiy

    Patricky Freire vs. Chris Horodecki

Featherweight

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    Speaking of title logjams, the featherweight division has so many guys waiting for their title shots, it's ridiculous. Pat Curran first has to defend against Patricio Freire, than the winner of that must fight Daniel Straus and then the winner of that must take on the winner of Rad Martinez-Shahbulat Shamhalaev.

    Confusing, right?

    Anyways, Bellator has some high-profile guys to put in a tournament such as Marlon Sandro, Mike Richman and Joe Soto. Throw in usual tough fighters like Alexandre Bezerra and Genair da Silva, and the tournament will be really competitive.

    Shahbulat Shamhalaev/Rad Martinez loser vs. Nazareno Malagarie

    Marlon Sandro vs. Shannon Slack

    Alexandre Bezerra vs. Joe Soto

    Mike Richman vs. Genair da Silva

Bantamweight

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    Current bantamweight champ Eduardo Dantas must defend his title against Marcos Galvao next season, so those two are already out of the equation.

    Former bantamweight champ Zack Makovsky and former featherweight champion Joe Warren should get spots in this tournament due to their credentials. In addition to those two, former WEC champion Chase Beebe and former featherweight Ronnie Mann should earn spots.

    Here is a potential eight-man first round.

    Zach Makovsky vs. Rafael Silva

    Luis Nogueira vs. Nick Kirk

    Joe Warren vs. Travis Marx

    Ronnie Mann vs. Chase Beebe

Women's

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    Currently, Zoila Gurgel is the champion of Bellator and will face Jessica Eye in a non-title bout this season. She just got off a long-term knee injury that kept her out of action for a while.

    It's time to reassemble a woman's tournament.

    The winner of the upcoming Felice Herrig-Michelle Gutierrez should join names like Eye, Jessica Aguilar and Munah Holland, who are all among top women in Bellator.

    Here is a potential eight-woman first round.

    Jessica Aguilar vs. Elena Reid

    Rosi Sexton vs. Michelle Ould

    Jessica Eye vs. Munah Holland

    Megumi Fujii vs. Felice Herrig/Michelle Rodriguez winner