As number two MMA organizations go, nothing even comes close to how smooth and professional a Bellator show feels when you're sitting there taking it all in live, and this past Friday's installment at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City was no exception. It was like watching a well-oiled machine in motion - albeit, a machine that churns out violence and entertainment. Some thoughts:
-I've been there for almost ever fight in Zach Makovsky's career and I've watched him do some amazing things in the cage, but once the door shut and the ref signaled for him and Eduardo Dantas to go at it... sheesh. Other than his near-flawless takedowns, Makovsky had nothing. The Brazilian's kicks to the body sounded like a baseball bat hitting a brick wall, and whenever it went to the ground Dantas was working him hard. I was shocked when Dantas put Makovsky to sleep, but now that he's done it and secured himself the bantamweight belt, I'm firmly convinced that Dantas is going to remain the champ for a long while.
-Daniel Straus can definitely deliver a beating and Mike Corey can definitely take one. Seriously, I thought Corey's face was going to fall off for all the damage it took.
-How dangerous is Lyman Good when he's "on"? Thirteen-second knockout dangerous. Frighteningly dangerous. "He will be champ again" dangerous.
-Alexis Vila had one good punch in him, and he clearly used it up when he knocked out Joe Warren, because the Cuban had nothing for Luiz Nogueira. Vila was quite simply out of his league and was beaten in all aspects.
-Thank God Marcos Galvao made the decision in his bout against Ed West an easy one. For three rounds he was clearly the better man - beating West at striking and grappling - and when it came down to the judges deciding the winner, I had every confidence that the commission in New Jersey wasn't going to mess it up.
-Kris McCray got the job done, but I feel like he had a harder time than he should have against jiu-jitsu specialist Ailton Barbosa. Granted, Barbosa was dangerous on the ground and was willing to stand and wing punches. However, we've seen McCray perform with confidence and unchecked aggression before, and for some reason Barbosa was able to stifle all that.
-Will Martinez looked to be in trouble against Terrell Hobbs before reversing his fortunes with his sub game, but I had faith. I once saw him fight Al Iaquinta to a draw at a Ring of Combat - the man certainly has skills.
-Duane Bastress just steamrolled over Plinio Cruz. Same with Scott Heckman over Lester Caslow and Kenny Foster over Jay Haas. Now, I don't know about Haas, but I've seen Cruz and Caslow kick ass before, so I guess that means we have to keep our eyes on Bastress and Heckman. They may be the collective real deal.
-Mikhail Malyutin must've really been thrown off when a fight broke out between him and EJ Brooks. Must've really taken him out of his element. Probably wasn't expecting he'd have to actually fight or something...