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MMA: Bellator Featherweight Tournament Semifinals Analysis

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The Bellator Summer Series continues on July 23rd from the Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario, Canada as the four Semi-finalists in the Featherweight tournament battle it out to earn their spot in the finals of this Summer series tournament. This will be Bellator’s first event in Canada since the promotion debuted in 2008.

The Chicago based promotion was originally set to debut in Canada at Bellator 4, but the promotion was unable to come to terms with the Quebec Boxing Commission. Pat Curran, Ronnie Mann, Marlon Sandro and Nazareno Malegarie earned their ways in to the semi-finals at Bellator 46 in June. They’ll jump back into the cage on July 23rd and here is the breakdown for the event.

Patt Curran vs Ronnie Mann: After winning the Bellator Season 2 Lightweight tournament back on June 10, 2010 and failing in his bid to capture the Bellator Lightweight from current Champion Eddie Alvarez, Curran made the drop to Featherweight for the Summer Series, defeating Luis Palomino by Peruvian Necktie in his Featherweight and Tournament debut at Bellator 46. Curran has proven to be a game competitor wherever the fight may go, whether it remains standing or heads to the ground. He’ll need everything in his tool box to advance in this tournament against a game Mann.

Mann rode a three fight win streak into the Summer Series tournament including winning the Shark Fights Featherweight Championship against Doug Evan. Mann took on wrestler Adam Schindler, showing impressive takedown defense throughout the first round before landing a stunning combination to take down Schindler, following it up with hammerfists before the bout was called, advancing to the next round in the Featherweight tournament. The English fighter currently holds a Brown Belt in BJJ and has shown impressive striking and submission skills in his young career, only tasting defeat twice, once to Robbie Olivier, a man Curran holds a victory over and current UFC Featherweight and former Sengoku Featherweight Champion, Hatsu Hioki. Mann’s striking could play a huge part in this fight and he’ll need to be active on the ground if Curran decides to take him there. With his showing against Schindler, that might be a hard test for Curran in this fight.

Marlon Sandro vs Nazareno Malegarie: Nazareno Malegarie didn’t start off his Bellator career like he hoped, dropping a unanimous decision to wrestler Daniel Straus in the Season 4 Featherweight Tournament after an action packed 3 round war, earning Fight of the Night honors. Looking to redeem himself, Malegarie earned his first Bellator and US win defeating Jacob DeVree in an entertaining fight at Bellator 46. Training alongside current UFC Lightweight Thiago Tavares, the BJJ Black Belt and Brazilian National Champion made a name for himself in Brazil, winning his first 19 fights as a processional before dropping his first and only defeat to Straus early this year. Malegarie will have to pull out all the stops in his match-up against Sandro, which could potentially turn into an interesting grappling match if this fight hits the grounds, with the history and strong submission skills of both fights, it’s very well a good possibility.

Marlon Sandro has shown to be a force in the MMA ring or cage, showing impressive striking and KO power to go along with his grappling game. Training out of infamous Nova Uniao Jiu Jitsu academy, Sandro won his first 14 fights as a professional before dropping a controversial “Must-decide” decision to Michihiro Omigawa in the 3rd round of the Sengoku Featherweight Tournament. The Sengoku championship would not elude Sandro for long, claiming the Championship from Masanori Kanehara just 38 seconds into their title fight at Sengoku Raiden Championships 13. Sandro would then drop the title to Hatsu Hioki, giving him only his 2nd loss in his career. Sandro would make the jump to the US, signing a deal with Bellator and competing in the Summer Series Featherweight Tournament.  Sandro would win a decision victory over Genair de Silva, with only two judges giving him the fight, with the 3rd scoring the fight in favor of de Silva 29-28. Sandro has shown some inconsistencies in his performances at times, possibly losing focus in a fight, but there is no question that Sandro has the power to KO many fighters if they aren’t careful. Sandro has shown to be comfortable on the ground, but has also been dominated in the position, nearly being submitted on numerous occasions by Hioki in their championship fight. Either way, expect fireworks before Sandro and Malegarie, in what could be a very evenly contested fight.

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