Bellator 106: Grades for All Main Card Fighters
Bellator 106 moved from pay-per-view to Spike, and the fans were the winners of the evening.
Three title fights lined the card along with the Fight Master finale.
In the main event, Eddie Alvarez edged out Michael Chandler to regain the Bellator Lightweight Championship.
The 25-minute fight was not the only championship bout to go the distance. The co-main did as well. Emanuel Newton got a decision win over Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal for the Interim Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship.
The best fight of the evening took place in the featherweight division. Daniel Straus took Pat Curran's title with an excellent showing.
It was a fun night. The five-fight main card delivered for MMA fans, and Bellator will look to carry the momentum forward.
Let's take a look at all of the fighters and award them grades for how they performed on Saturday night.
Akop Stepanyan vs. Mike Richman
Akop Stepanyan: C-
Stepanyan and Richman stood toe-to-toe, and neither fighter did particularly well early on. Stepanyan rocked Richman, and that elevated his grade until moments later.
Instead of being measured in his shots, he got sloppy. He ate a counter shot and was put out of commission in the first round.
Mike Richman: C+
Richman avoids a quality grade of a B or higher because he was largely ineffective until the blow that ended the fight. He was in danger when Stepanyan connected, but his opponent's foolishness opened the door for a fight-ending counter.
It wasn't a great fight, but it had an exciting finish. Richman got the W, and that is always a positive.
Mike Bronzoulis vs. Joe Riggs
Mike Bronzoulis: D
Bronzoulis is not that polished on his feet, but he managed to land some strong leg kicks. However, he failed to defend Riggs' takedowns throughout the fight.
He simply did not have the skill set to make this a competitive fight. He allowed Riggs to dictate the action and lost a unanimous decision.
Joe Riggs: C+
Riggs got the victory, and he showed good fight IQ in the process.
He did well enough on the feet and took the opportunities to put Bronzoulis on his back. It was a diligent performance from the veteran. Good performances are not always represented by finishes or spectacular showings. Sometimes, a fighter performs well by doing what he needs to do in order to pick up the win.
Daniel Straus vs. Pat Curran
Daniel Straus: B+
If Straus had landed a few more effective strikes or finished this fight, his grade would have been an A. Regardless, the new champion gave a very good performance in a unanimous-decision victory.
He mixed up his attacks well, controlled Curran and pushed the pace.
It was a well-earned championship performance.
Pat Curran: C+
Curran did a fairly good job, but I had to dock him some points due to an illegal knee that struck Straus while he was down.
His stand-up was fine, and he defended some of Straus' takedowns. When taken down, he threatened with some chokes and worked his way back to his feet. It was not a bad performance, but it wasn't his best either.
We have seen Curran look better, but he showed why he was the champion entering. These are two solid featherweights.
Muhammed Lawal vs. Emanuel Newton
Muhammed Lawal and Emanuel Newton: C
This was not a great fight, but I don't think many expected it to be.
Newton threw some decent spinning back kicks, and he defended Lawal's wrestling a few times.
For Lawal, the disappointing result should not take away from what he did well in this fight. He wrestled well early to get back to his roots. It is hard to gauge where Lawal goes from here, but he showed plenty to move forward in Bellator's thin 205-lb division.
It was a so-so fight with so-so performances.
Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler
Eddie Alvarez: B+
Alvarez recaptured the Bellator Lightweight Championship with a measured performance.
His movement and striking gave Chandler fits throughout the fight. Chandler wore the battle on his face. Alvarez busted him up over the course of the fight and narrowly edged him out. He put forth a veteran performance.
Michael Chandler: B-
Chandler gave a solid showing, but it wasn't good enough to retain his belt.
As Alvarez pressed on, Chandler appeared to slow down. However, whenever Alvarez seemed on the verge of putting together some offense to take over the bout, Chandler would drag the fight to the mat.
He didn't retain his belt, but the performance showed the heart of a champion. When they meet again, we will get a better Chandler and another excellent fight.