Dave Jansen has won his last five fights, three of them by submission. | Photo: Keith Mills/Sherdog
After a week spent hanging out on the sidelines and doing keg-stands with the “1,000 Ways to Die” crew, everyone’s favorite Viacom-owned promotion returns to Spike TV on Thursday, as Bellator MMA presents Bellator 93.
The event goes down from the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine, which famously hosted Muhammad Ali’s 1965 heavyweight championship rematch with hard-hitting former titlist Sonny Liston. The Bellator 93 main draw airs live on Spike TV, while the preliminary card streams immediately prior on Spike.com.
Here is what to watch for at Bellator 93:
Held Up No Longer
After seeing their Season 7 lightweight tournament final delayed twice over the course of three months, Dave Jansen and Marcin Held will finally throw down. At least, I hope that is the case. Can we double check and make sure both guys will actually be allowed inside the venue before we get our hopes up? Held is over his injury, right? Nobody has come down with flu-like symptoms?
If this thing is postponed again, I will absolutely start a riot. Remember that little hissy fit that Montreal threw after Axl Rose bailed at the Olympic Stadium back in 1992? I will make that look like those 99 Percent dorks talking through a megaphone in your local park. I am talking human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. Do not test me.
On paper, this fight is easy enough to figure, though I imagine it could get a little stickier if and when the lightweights actually step into the cage. Jansen should use his improved boxing attack to stick a one-two in Held’s face for 15 minutes and stay away from the Pole on the mat. The American’s superior wrestling and conditioning should also allow him to shuck off any takedown attempts from Held, who has no problem pulling guard or diving for a leg lock if he sees the opportunity.
The winner of this truly interesting clash of styles will earn himself a $100,000 payday and a shot at Michael Chandler’s lightweight title. With so much on the line, which man will rise to the occasion and ensure that I do not bring about the fall of modern civilization and cloak the earth in 40 years of darkness?
Honest thought: when I think of things I genuinely like to do, watching Bellator heavyweights drag themselves around the cage probably does not make my Top 100.
I cannot lie to you, folks. Brett Rogers-Eric Prindle and Travis Wiuff-Ryan Martinez both have the potential to be 15-minute stinkers. That possibility is inescapable, much like it will be futile to resist when our evil, mechanized overlords wipe out most of humanity with a nuclear strike and then decide to model themselves after a seven-time Mr. Olympia.
Still, there is always a chance both fights could be a blast -- no pun intended. Rogers and Prindle are nothing if not heavy-handed, even if their grappling skills do conjure up images of Freddy Krueger’s 1984 roll-about with Nancy Thompson on Elm Street. If both guys plant their toes in the center of the cage and swing away, that should be all that is required to give the people what they want.
With Wiuff, you know what to expect. The guy throws bombs, and he goes hard after double-legs. With that in mind, I am intrigued by his matchup with Ryan Martinez, who, despite looking less-than-awesome in his two Bellator appearances, showed some excellent takedown defense and counterpunching ability in his 2011 victory over onetime NCAA wrestling champion Mark Ellis.
Grenade vs. Wolf
Marcus Davis and Waachiim Spiritwolf may have seen better days, but that does not mean these welterweights will not show us a good time. With the exception of Davis’ drawing power in Maine, I would wager that is the biggest reason why both men are still employed at this level of fighting.
As we learned during his 15-fight Ultimate Fighting Championship career, Davis is a pure puncher who will fight to his last breath if need be. In Spiritwolf, he faces a man probably best known for his ability to take a beating and keep moving forward. Simply put, this matchup is designed to deliver a finish and could easily produce buckets of blood along the way. While I personally am not keen on seeing men repeatedly battered -- especially over the course of a long career -- the potential excitement locked inside this pairing is hard to deny.
Turn the Page
I will keep this brief. Michael Page is worth a look.
Cut from the same cloth as the UFC’s Stephen Thompson, Page is a British kickboxer and karate man who has already garnered a considerable amount of hype, despite only competing three times as a professional mixed martial artist.
This is perhaps due to his wide-open fighting style -- an approach that has earned him three stoppage victories, all of which came inside of three minutes. Particularly impressive was his tornado kick knockout of Ben Dishman under the Ultimate Challenge MMA banner. Yes, you read that right.
The 25-year-old’s speed, footwork and confidence are enticing, to say the least, but Page does everything you are not supposed to do in MMA, utilizing a completely sidewise karate stance and fighting with his chin sky high and his hands down by his knees. Up until this point, it has not mattered, because the Brit has yet to face someone even remotely on the same athletic or skill level. Will Page continue to look infallible against local talent Ryan Sanders?