Bellator 106 Results: The Real Winners and Losers
Bellator 106 came with a whirlwind of emotions and news. It was a pay-per-view with two former champions main-eventing, then it was a free-TV card with three rematches for championships. We were skeptical then excited.
One thing for certain is that Bellator 106 was a memorable and important card for the company. Three championships were contended for, and an overall solid night of fights was turned in, despite the "disaster" revolving around the main event.
Here are the real winners and losers in the aftermath of the event.
Loser: Akop Stepanyan
Akop Stepanyan had a very entertaining bout with Mike Richman, as both men threw heavy leather and made the fight interesting. Unfortunately for the Russian, he suffered a knockout loss at the hands of "The Marine."
A loss in Bellator doesn't necessarily mean the end of the world because many fighters can still pick up fights with the organization. However, Stepanyan is 1-4 in Bellator, with an 0-3 record in Bellator tournaments (Seasons 7, 8 and 9).
He is a high-level striker who always brings a great energy to the cage. The problem is, this may have been the Russians last chance in the Bellator cage.
The next step likely includes a return to the Russian regional circuit.
Winner: Joe Riggs
Bellator 106 gave us a feel-good story in the form of Joe "Diesel" Riggs.
Riggs has been around the sport for a while and has had his ups and downs. He has had his issues outside the cage, his moments inside the cage and now has the title as "Fight Master."
It would be great to see Riggs make a comeback in the sport. Many have pegged Riggs as past his prime and a has-been. At Bellator 106, he proved he could come back.
Next up is a huge opportunity in the form of a welterweight tournament slot that came with his win. That means he is just three wins away from a title shot and the ultimate Cinderella story.
Loser: Fight Master
To me, and probably many others, the point of Fight Master, Bellator's version of The Ultimate Fighter, was to launch a new star in their promotion. Unfortunately, it really didn't.
It's great that Joe Riggs has seemingly shed his demons and got back on the right path. He's a guy who has all the skills to be great, but outside circumstances always held him down.
However, Riggs is a decade-long veteran of the sport who really didn't need the show to elevate his name. His name alone is enough to draw eyes and opportunities with mid-tier to low-end upper shows.
The ratings weren't good for the show, and it failed to create a young star. I don't see the show making a return for a second season.
Winner: Daniel Straus
Daniel Straus was a heavy underdog. He lost his previous encounter with Pat Curran. He received a brutal illegal knee midway through the fight.
He still came out on top.
With seemingly everything against him, the tough-as-nails Straus used his usual grinding approach and all-around toughness to outlast featherweight champ Pat Curran for his title.
Straus is the unlikely champion out of all of this. He doesn't always have the most pleasing style or most exciting fights, but he always brings it in the cage.
His wait for the title shot was obviously well worth it. He looked phenomenal.
Winner/Loser: Emanuel Newton
Reason why Emanuel Newton is a loser here: He should have never been subjected to this quick rematch. This basically took away his rightful automatic shot at Attila Vegh. This fight could have stripped him of that right, especially because it's a rematch of a controversial decision that Newton lost.
That being said, Newton is also a big winner here because he beat "King Mo" for the second time, he did it in impressive fashion and he technically has Bellator gold.
Newton used his superior, more diverse striking and great takedown defense to keep King Mo at bay. The five-round fight saw Newton prove he is a legit light heavyweight and a great threat to Vegh.
Now he actually gets Vegh, the man he should have had in the first place. The winner is the undisputed light heavyweight champion of Bellator.
Loser: King Mo
I don't want to be too overdramatic, but is King Mo one of the biggest busts/most overrated fighters of all time?
King Mo entered Bellator as the uncrowned champion. All he had to do was win a tournament.
His first tournament, he beat a no-name before catching the spinning backfist from hell against Emanuel Newton. That dashed his title hopes momentarily.
Then, he joined a four-man tournament that was pretty much tailor-made for him to win. He did, effectively earning his future title shot.
Then came Bellator 106, where he was inserted into a interim title match with Newton under very sketchy circumstances. Obviously, Bellator wants one of their most marketable fighters in big fights, otherwise he wouldn't have gotten the gift of an interim title shot.
He goes five rounds with Newton, looking pretty subpar in the process. Just like that, his title hopes have again been derailed.
Will Lawal ever be a champion again? I don't know, but I can tell you that he walked out of Bellator 106 one of the biggest losers of the night.
Winner: Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez
This should have been the main event, regardless if this was on pay-per-view or free TV.
The first fight between Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler was amazing. The second fight was just as good.
I really saw no way either man was a loser here. Both men brought the fight and had the hearts of pure warriors.
I scored the bout 48-47 Alvarez or a draw. Of course, the final decision went in the favor of Alvarez who won a split decision.
I am sure the fans can't wait for the rubber match. I know that I can't wait and will clear my schedule to watch it.
This win keeps Alvarez around for one more fight and is a huge win for Bellator. This is a hugely marketable fight and could be the perfect fight for the first-ever pay-per-view headliner.
Losers: Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson
The way I look at Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz when it came to Bellator 106 is, they needed the card more than the card needed them. There were three title fights fans were looking more forward to, and they got those without having to pay the likely ludicrous salaries of the former MMA greats.
Both men were hoping this fight would launch them back into relevance, but instead, Ortiz suffered yet another injury, and Jackson moved to a different card that is free and with a more low-profile opponent.
Ortiz is 2-7-1 in his last 10. Jackson is 4-4 in his last eight. For these men to be getting the contracts they received and the high-profile main event they were given, this was a huge opportunity lost.
Moving forward, I really hope these two don't fight each other, on free TV or pay-per-view. The chances the buyrate on a pay-per-view featuring these men scrapping has all the potential to be a box-office flop.
Pricey pay-per-view or free-TV championship fiesta?
Count me in for the latter.
We were almost subjected to paying for a card that was headlined by two over-the-hill fighters whom we would prefer not to watch anymore. Instead, we got young talent putting on a show and fighting for a bevvy of gold.
And it was all on Spike TV.
Even if you didn't like the fights that much, if you are a fan of MMA, you won at Bellator 106. Your wallet stayed a little more plump, and you got to see some high-quality mixed martial arts action.
Follow me on Twitter for MMA news and other random thoughts (@RileyKontekMMA). Or don't, that's cool, too.