Bellator's 10 Brightest Stars
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It’s probably safe to assume that Bellator Fighting Championships will never soar to the heights of the promotional powerhouse known as the UFC. Between a meager advertisement campaign and being locked into a deal with MTV2, Bellator’s chances of expansion even seem limited.
However, don’t let that fool you as to the talent this fledgling promotion totes; there are some insanely talented and marketable fighters on the Bellator roster.
Should we expect overnight stardom for these unheralded warriors? No, we shouldn’t, but given a few more fights, some more exposure and the appropriate time to develop, we may see the birth of some bona fide celebrities.
10. Ben Askren
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Bellator’s welterweight champion ranks last on this list, and coincidentally enough, he may be the most technically skilled fighter to be featured in this piece.
The problem with his potential stardom? His newfound tendency to call out Zuffa-signed fighters.
Should Askren continue to retain his Bellator title, he may be able to gain the attention of Dana White. If he continues to unleash insults at established UFC fighters, he’ll make for the perfect heel.
The problem is, fans grow tired of the enemy, especially when their attempted wit fails to match the size of their mouths.
09. Christian M’Pumbu
Though Christian is an undersized light heavyweight, he’s got the tools to be a star at middleweight. He’s versatile in his attack, patient, precise and most significantly, he finishes fights.
Add a respectful attitude to the mix, and you’re looking at a man who could gain some serious fans stateside.
08. Bryan Baker
Beyond this initial sentence, I’m not going to speak on Baker’s battle with Leukemia, as it definitely does not define who the man is as a fighter.
Bryan Baker is a dangerous wrestler with an improving striking game and rangy frame to accentuate his attacks.
Baker’s been a fairly consistent fighter throughout his entire career, but he seems to finally be coming into his own now that he’s settled in with Bellator.
He’s got character, and a bright enough personality to propose on television; he’s a star in the making.
07. Joe Warren
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Joe Warren finds himself on this list for similar reasons that Ben Askren does; he loves to talk, and does a pretty fine job of backing it up.
Now testing the waters at 135, Warren would be a nice addition to the UFC considering he’s capable of finding success at 145 as well as 135.
He’d also draw a legion of fanatics eager to see “The Baddest Man On The Planet” thoroughly mauled.
Come on, Joe, we can only hear it so many times…
06. Luis Alberto Nogueira
Here’s a kid who has both speed and lead in his fists. If this kid can land flush, he can put you away, and the speed in which he can do so is truly dazzling.
He also happens to possess a very sound ground game that enables him to keep the fight standing, and avoid submissions while the action unfolds on the mat.
At a time like this, when lighter fighters are really beginning to earn some shine, it’s only a matter of time before “Betao” is riding high.
05. Pat Curran
With Pat making his move back down to featherweight, we can expect to see some explosive displays of violence from this promising youngster.
Curran contains the ability to outbox as well as outwrestle the majority of men he’ll meet in the cage.
Being related to the legendary Jeff Curran doesn’t hurt either.
What could however hurt Pat’s chances of rising to fame, is a dull personality; speak your mind, Pat, PC isn’t always the solution!
04. Patricio Pitbull
There’s nothing like a fighter who comes out and tries to decapitate his foe. It’s often a scary sight, but fight fans yearn for this primal violence, and Pitbull tends to deliver.
On top of heavy hands and an impressive knowledge of both jiu-jitsu and wrestling, this kid has enough personality to launch a reality show. Always energetic and upbeat, this kid is the Brazilian answer to Clay Guida.
Get this kid on the big stage, and let him earn the respect and paychecks he deserves.
03. Ronnie Mann
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Another fighter south of the lightweight mark makes the list, as Ronnie Mann is a kid you cannot overlook.
Not only does Mann bring some polished striking to competition, he’s displayed some of the most vicious ground-and-pound I’ve seen since a prime Matt Hughes ripped the welterweight division to shreds years ago.
This kid’s got attitude, and a wealth of confidence. After securing 19 wins in 22 fights, it’s time to let this young man show the world exactly what he’s made of.
02. Hector Lombard
There’s really not a lot to say about Hector Lombard; by the time you begin praising him, he’s being pulled from an unconscious body.
This man may be the heaviest hitter in the 185-pound division. He’s also a master of ground-and-pound.
We may never get the chance to see it, but this man may very well be able to give top pound-for-pound considerate Anderson Silva a run for his money.
He’s got the speed of Melvin Manhoef, the power of a faded Mike Tyson (that’s still damn impressive), and some solid defense. It’s a long shot, but I’d love to see him toe the line with Silva.
01. Eddie Alvarez
Eddie Alvarez is without question the best lightweight not currently signed to Zuffa. He’s run amok on the Japanese circuit, and as of late, chewed up quality opposition like Roger Huerta and Josh Neer stateside.
But what helps make Alvarez a marketable commodity is his down-to-earth, dedicated-to-family-and-training personality. He’s not much of a trash talker, and in truth, he’s rather well spoken.
When that cage door closes, however, we’re talking about a genuine punisher; exactly what the masses crave.