Bellator 85: 5 Memorable Moments from Irvine, CA
Bellator MMA launched their relationship with Spike TV on Thursday night with a card that included two championship fights and two light heavyweight tournament bouts.
Prior to the Spike TV portion of the card that took place at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, California, fans could log on to SpikeTV.com to watch the seven fights on the prelims.
While the reviews of the actual in-cage performances of the fighters were mixed, there were at least five memorable moments from Bellator's debut on Spike.
Here are the lasting memories from Bellator 85 (in no particular order).
5. Jamie Yager Is Still Doing What He Does Best: Complain
The last time I recall seeing Jamie Yager fight was in June 2010 as part of The Ultimate Fighter 11 finale.
My impression of Yager is the same as many others. He was an immature guy who enjoyed rattling the nerves of those around him and seemed to find a reason to complain about everything.
Nearly three years has passed and Yager has the same fro and appears to have not grown out of deflecting blame onto others.
While taking punches to the head from Joe Williams (which weren't very clean), referee John McCarthy warned him no less than four times to defend himself. Yager didn't.
McCarthy, one of the best referees in the business, stopped the fight.
Yager threw up his arms and got into an argument with the referee about the stoppage.
The loss is Yager's second in a row. You never want to wish any ill will towards anyone, but I'm sure fans aren't going to lose any sleep if Yager's MMA career isn't successful.
4. Crisp Boxing of Pat Curran and Patricio Freire
The Spike TV portion of the card started off with Pat Curran (18-4) retaining his featherweight championship in a split-decision win over Patricio Freire (17-2).
The fight resembled that of a good boxing match. Both Curran and Freire traded technical combinations for the duration of the five-round fight. Each fighter maintained their poise and bounced in and out of the pocket with relative ease.
In the end, Curran had the most consistent offensive game plan and took home the victory.
3. Spinning Backfist Puts an End to Babalu Sobral
Bellator gave quite the introduction for Renato "Babalu" Sobral on television prior to his quarterfinal bout against Mikhail Zayats. It was a nicely done montage which included shots of Sobral instructing children and describing a plea he received from his daughter to stop fighting.
Sobral didn't look too bad during the first three minutes of the fight. The best moment came when he connected on an overhand right that landed flush on the face of Zayats.
That was as good as it was going to get for Sobral.
Zayats landed a spinning backfist on the head of Sobral, which caused him to retreat. Zayats continued the offensive attack and landed a punch on the chin of Sobral, dropping him and eventually leading to the TKO at the 4:49 mark of the first round.
Sobral has now lost three of his last five fights, with all of them coming by knockout.
It's obvious his chin left him quite some time ago. At the age of 37, there doesn't appear to be a plausible way in which Sobral can work himself back into the title picture of any respectable organization.
Bellator's tournament looks to have been his last stand.
2. Michael Chandler's Dominance
The most impressive fighter of the evening was Michael Chandler (11-0). The 26-year-old lightweight champion defended his title in spectacular fashion against Rick Hawn (14-2).
Chandler displayed phenomenal wrestling, strength and cage control against Hawn, which led to one of the most impressive rear-naked chokes I've seen in recent memory.
Chandler is one of those fighters who will continue to be successful over the next five years. He consistently puts on exciting fights (four knockouts, five submissions) and is only three-and-a-half years into his professional career.
1. Seth Petruzelli Blows out His Knee in Defeat
In what was a deflating way for the night of fights to end, Seth Petruzelli re-injured his knee in his loss to Jacob Noe.
Noe and Petruzelli were in the midst of an entertaining fight. Petruzelli landed a punch to the left eye of Noe, which almost immediately swelled the eye shut.
On Noe's subsequent attack, Petruzelli went to the canvas and covered up. Noe continued throwing punches until the fight was stopped shortly after at the 2:51 mark of the first round.
Not too long after the fight, Petruzelli confirmed that he had torn his PCL:
Guys i apologize. I tore my PCL and sprained my MCL a week ago today. Just completely tore it taking that shot. Wanted a ko...
— Seth Petruzelli (@silverbackseth) January 18, 2013
Joe Chacon is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report and a staff writer for Operation Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JoeChacon.