MMA Analysis: Chandler, Lombard Highlight Fantastic Bellator 44


Bellator Lightweight Tournament Final
Michael Chandler(8-0) UD Patricky Pitbull (9-2)
Scores:  29-27, 29-27, 29-27

With a $100,000 bonus and a shot against Eddie Avlarez for the Bellator lightweight championship the stakes were high for both Chandler and Pitbull.  But, it soon became clear that Chandler simply wanted it more.  After a methodical first round, things began to pick up as both fighters started swinging for the fences.  However, the pace soon slowed as Chanlder lands a knee to the cup of Pitbull that stopped the action for a moment.  After spending the majority of the second round eating the jab of Pitbull, Chandler seized control with a quick takedown and the former Missouri collegiate wrestler was all over his Brazilian counterpart.  Chandler looked to maintain the momentum he fought so hard to build in second, but was deducted a point for yet another low blow that landed on Pitbull’s cup.  With a new sense of urgency due to the point deduction, Chandler upped his aggressiveness, securing a slam and slowly grinding down the will of Pittbull with elbows on the ground.  The remainder of the round boiled down to a grueling war of wrestling attrition and Chandler emerged the victor. 

Bellator Middleweight Superfight
Hector Lombard (29-2-1, 1 NC) KO 3 Falaniko Vitale (29-10)
Time of the Knockout:  0:54 RD 3

Few fighters have the fight game experience of Falaniko Vitale.  The former UFC, Strikeforce, and IFL fighter has been in against some of the game’s best.  However, on Saturday night he went up against a buzz saw of a fighter, Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard who went into the fight riding a 22 fight winning streak.  However, it was the experience of Vitale that gave Lombard fits in the opening round as he struggled to get inside the jab of his Hawaiian opponent.  The round was mostly devoid of action, a rarity in a Lombard fight.  Lombard came out more aggressive in the second round as he tried to bum rush the counterpunching Vitale.  Lombard began to find some success toward the end of round two as he landed a couple of combos punctuated by some high kicks.  Still, for a Lombard fight, this was becoming pretty uneventful and the packed crowd as Cesar’s Palace Atlantic City began to shower the cage with boo’s.  In the opening minutes of the third round Lombard finally found his mark.  As Vitale began to press his attack a whipping right hand from Lombard landed right on the chin of Vitale.  Vitale went down in a heap and just like that, the fight was over.  Lombard wins with a one-punch knockout.

Bellator Welterweight Fight
Giedrius Karavackas (5-1) SUB 3 Sam Oropeza (5-2)
Time of Submission: 3:59 RD 3

Training with Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez undoubtedly gave Oropeza valuable experience and confidence as he headed into this Bellator debut against the judoka that is Karavackas.  Oropeza looked impressive in the opening round as he landed a number of hard body and head kicks to the shorter Karavackas.  Even when Karavackas finally was able to secure a takedown, “Sammy O” was able to get into the guard and ended the round with a flurry of vicious ground and pound shots.  The second round started out good for Orpeza but Karavackas’ tenacity was clearly on display as he was able to scores with some work in the clinch and some trip takedowns.  Karavackas came out like a shot in the third round and quickly secured a takedown.  Trapping Oropeza in a headlock on the ground, Karavackas pounded the exposed face of Oropeza while in a modified crucifix.  Oropeza continued to try and escape the hold but Karavackas put an end to thinks with an arm lock that cranked the shoulder prompting “Sammy O” to tap out. 

Bellator Middleweight Fight
Alexander Shlemenko (32-5) UD Brett Cooper
Scores:  30-27, 30-28, 29-28

Some fights just boil down to good old fashion primal fun.  Such was the case during Saturday night’s Bellator middleweight scrap between Alexander Shlemenko and Brett Cooper.  Despite the varied nuances that comprise modern day MMA, Cooper and Shlemenko gave us a barnburner of a donnybrook as both pummeled each other over three very entertaining rounds.  Shlemenko started things off impressively by using his wide assortment of unorthodox strikes punches, knees, and spinning backfists to batter and stagger Cooper throughout the round.  Cooper would rally back in the second round as Shlemenko was visibly tired and Cooper’s more varied attack kept Shlemenko busy fighting takedown attempts and clinches.  The rock and sock ‘em robot reenactment continued into the third round but by this time it was clear that Shlemenko had more in the gas tank and tenderized the face and body of Cooper in route to earning a decision victory and inclusion into next season’s middleweight tournament. 


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