While I’m pretty confident that no one but the most hardcore of MMA fans tuned in Saturday night to see the kickoff for Bellator’s summer featherweight tournament. This is a shame when you consider that not only did Bellator deliver in terms of action and great fights, but Saturday’s Bellator 46 may have been one of their best cards to date.
Ronnie Mann kicked off the night with a first round knockout of Air Force veteran Adam Schindler. After trading blows to open up the fight, Mann took control and delivered a crushing left hook that dropped Schindler. A killer barrage of ground and pound strikes followed and Mann was declared the winner and moves on to the Bellator Featherweight Tournament Semifinals.
Argentinian finisher Nazareno Malegarie was up next, taking on Arizona native Jacob Devree, who entered the fight riding a seven-fight win streak. It was clear early on that Malegarie was set on making up for his only career loss and Devree would be his victim. The first two rounds were controlled by Malegarie, but he failed to put away the tough Devree. The third round was a different story, as Malegarie was determined to finish the fight and did just that with a guillotine submission that earned him a spot in next month’s Featherweight Semifinals.
Former Sengoku Champion Marlon Sandro then took on fellow Brazilian Genair da Silva in one of the more intriguing fights of the night. Sandro administered a mix of leg kicks and combinations throughout the fight, putting da Silva on the defensive for most of the fight. As the fight moved into the later stages, both fighters wanted a finish and left it all in the cage by exchanging devastating punches. The fight ended up going the distance, and Sandro was awarded the split decision and moves on to the semifinals.
Former Bellator Season 2 Lightweight Tournament Champion Pat Curran took on long time Bellator veteran Luis Palomino in the night’s main event. The two fighters came out attacking but it was Curran who pulled out one of the more thrilling and rare submissions in MMA when he ended it in the first round with a Peruvian necktie (on native Peruvian Palomino in an ironic twist) to earn a coveted spot in the Featherweight Semifinals
All in all, Bellator 46 was an excellent card featuring some of the game’s best 145 pound fighters. Too bad most casual fans were unaware of the card. Hopefully with the momentum gained from this Saturday’s event more people will become aware of this intriguing summer series.