ProMMANow.com writer Richard Mann is currently less than 10 feet from the Bellator cage. He will provide his immediate reaction to the main card fights as they happen live. While watching live on Fox Sports Net, get all the details here.
Zoila Frausto vs. Jessica Pene
Tonight, Frausto made her 115-pound debut. She clearly dominated the fight from start to finish. Her size advantage at the lower weight helped her avoid the takedowns and keep the fight on the feet. However, she still focuses on throwing single power shots. Throughout her career, Frausto has thrown flashy kicks and exotic strikes. If she sets these up with jabs she would be clearly more effective.
The weight cut may have played a factor in her inability to get Pene out the cage. She will get a chance to get used to it as she moves on in the tournament. On the other hand, Pene is probably the better fighter on the ground. However, she did not have the wrestling or takedowns to get the fight there.
Dan Hornbuckle vs. Brad Blackburn
The pro-Hornbuckle crowd got what they wanted as “The Handler” came back from an early knock down to take the fight. In the first round, Blackburn caught the ATT fighter backpedaling and put him on his rear end.
Towards the end of the first round, and for the rest of the fight, Hornbuckle continued to score with his combination. His punches often came up short, but his kicks the body landed. Those kicks were really the story of the fight. Blackburn is known to slow down in fights, and the kicks seemed to drain his gas tank even more.
Hornbuckle picks up an impressive win. He should be in position to get the next shot at the Bellator middleweight title after Ben Askren and Lyman Good face off later this year.
Damian Grabowski vs. Scott Barrett
Grabowski has been hyped as one of the best heavyweights to come out of Poland. In his U.S. debut, struggled to deal with the Barrett’s wrestling game. A lot of fighters from the European circuit have trouble dealing with American wrestlers and Grabowski is no exception.
On the other hand, Grabowski also showed why there was so much hype behind him. Despite ending up on his back in the first round, he remained active and reversed position. In the third, he turned it on with his superior athleticism.
Despite picking up the victory, it is clear that Grabowski needs to spend some time in the gym working on his wrestling. If he is matched with another wrestler in the second round of the tournament, he might not be able to escape with the victory.
Cole Konrad vs. Rogent Lloret
Even though the crowd was not happy with the fight, Konrad remained undefeated and moved on to the second round of the tournament. The fight was clearly not the most exciting thing in the world, but Bellator does give converting wrestlers a way to work on their games.
If Konrad improves his game throughout the tournament, like say Ben Askren, he could be well on his way to being a top-level heavyweight. However, he will not do himself any favors with the fans if he keeps dominating with wrestling and top-position grappling.