Tito Ortiz and Quinton Jackson may no longer be slated for action at the show but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other fighters with Octagon experience to choose from. Included in the bunch are Mike Guymon, Hector Ramirez, Terry Etim, and Joe Riggs. It’s obviously not a Murderers’ Row but there’s a least a little nostalgia involved and Etim in particular could end up impressing beyond tomorrow night’s show based on potential. Joe Riggs vs. Mike Bronzoulis doesn’t exactly have the same appeal as Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar but the end result might be similar, at least in terms of a sloppy scrap where both men shed blood. Riggs and Bronzoulis both lived up to their shared status as seasoned veterans on Bellator: Fight Master (the promotion’s answer to TUF) and came out on top in the end. The winner will be crowned the season’s champion, so that in itself is notable on some level. The situation surrounding Mo Lawal’s attempt at redemption against Emmanuel Newton is certainly a strange one. Lawal and Newton will be fighting for an interim title despite linear champion Attila Vegh being healthy enough to compete. Essentially, Bellator was hoping to capitalize off Lawal’s name value along with the buzz created by Newton’s beautiful spinning backfist finish of “King Mo” earlier this year. Unfortunately, they solid their champ and belt down the river to do so. The 26-year old Curran has quickly become one of the best 145ers in MMA. However, it will be impossible to know exactly how good the featherweight champion is until he signs with the UFC and faces elite opposition. Of course, chances are Bellator won’t give up their rising star so easily and another nasty legal battle could ensue when his contract runs out. Then again, Daniel Straus could take Curran’s gold tomorrow night, ending the 19-4 fighter’s run at the division’s top spot and avenging a 2009 loss in the process as well. If you haven’t seen the 2011 tilt between lightweights Michael Chandler-Eddie Alvarez, stop reading this sentence and go find a video of the fight. It was one of the year’s best bouts and an instant classic. It will be hard for Chandler and Alvarez to repeat the feat when they clash in the headliner, but fans should still expect fireworks. Alvarez is well-rounded an extremely tough, while Chandler has improved in every effort and has already shown he can finish the former title-holder.
2013 has been an up-and-down year for
Bellator, featuring highs like the company’s presence on Spike TV and lows including the fallout from Eddie Alvarez’s attempt to sign with the UFC. Initially set for PPV until headliner Tito Ortiz went down with injury, tomorrow night’s lineup for is a perfect example of both sides of the coin. In addition to some pairings with favorable odds to entertain, the card has plenty of subplots worth paying attention to when things unfold Saturday in Long Beach. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images) Bellator 106