It finally happened! After technical problems saw it replaced by Miley Cyrus’ almost nude performance at a certain awards show Rampage Jackson’s first visit to his new home made it to British screens when Bellator 108 was shown on Viva this past Tuesday night.
The show began with the featherweight tournament final as Justin Wilcox faced Patricio Pitbull.
You could say that this fight was a sign of things to come for the entire show. Pitbull rocked his man early before easily avoiding Wilcox’s takedown attempt. The action then settled down for a few moments. Wilcox managed to get in a couple of good strikes, although Pitbull always looked one step ahead of him in that respect.
Then, just past the two minute mark, a left/right combination staggered Wilcox and sent him to the canvas. There was a brief scramble before Pitbull rocked his man again, and as Wilcox went to ground Pitbull followed him down. Within seconds Wilcox was flattened out and offering nothing in response until the referee stepped in to give Pitbull the TKO win.
Bantamweight action followed as Tom McKenna took on Marcos Galvao.
This has to be one of the most one-sided fights I’ve seen this year. From the moment Galvao scored with the takedown it was all one-way traffic. The Brazilian was able to transition with ease as he mixed in some submission attempts with a spot of ground and pound, and the only good point for McKenna was when he escaped from Galvao’s arm bar attempt.
But when they got back to their feet Galvao took the fight back down within seconds, and once again there was just nothing McKenna could do against Galvao’s attack, and when they reached the final minute of the first round Galvao took McKenna’s back, flattened him out and went to work with the ground and pound. That was it for McKenna as the referee stepped in to give Galvao the TKO win.
Filler material followed in the form of the light heavyweight encounter between Najim Wali and Liam McGeary.
McGeary began his night’s work with some nice kicks and a flurry of blows which Wali countered with a brief takedown. A frantic few seconds followed as they scrambled for position and McGeary opened up a cut on Wali’s forehead with a hard elbow before the fighters went to the ground again.
Once they got there McGeary went to work. It wasn’t long before he took Wali’s back, looking for a rear naked choke. A few moments later he wrapped his legs around his man’s neck looking for a triangle, and when that didn’t quite work he quickly transitioned into an arm bar. Wali had no choice but to tap out to give McGeary the submission win after just 91 seconds.
The co-main event saw Vitaly Minakov challenging Alexander Volkov for the Heavyweight title.
This all-Russian battle saw an exchange of blows early on before Minakov instigated a clinch against the cage. From there his suplex attempt failed, but as the fighters fell to the mat he quickly managed to reverse the positions.
A brief moment of ground and pound followed before the referee stood the fighters up. That was just what the challenger needed. After Volkov connected with a couple of kicks Minakov backed the champion up and dropped him with a big right hand. He then followed him down for a barrage of blows, and it wasn’t long before the referee stepped in to give Minakov the title winning TKO win.
More filler material followed in the form of the catchweight encounter, made at 174 pounds, between Chip Moraza-Pollard and Sam Oropeza.
The blink or you’ll miss it affair of the evening saw Moraza-Pollard connecting with a few good right hands early on. This led to a few more exchanges with Oropeza connecting with a great kick.
A second or two later Oropeza connected with a left hand that staggered his man. Another quick left followed as Moraza-Pollard fell to the mat, with the referee stepping in to give Oropeza the TKO win after just 37 seconds.
The main event featured more catchweight action, this time at 210 pounds, as Joey Beltran went up against Rampage Jackson.
This certainly proved to be an interesting battle. After the initial exchange Beltran got his man in a clinch against the cage, intent on grinding his man down and wearing him out. Rampage managed to break away briefly, but it wasn’t long before Beltran had him back up against the cage.
Beltran looked like he was doing a good job with his chosen tactic until Rampage managed to push his way free. They then moved to the centre of the cage, and as the end of the first round neared Rampage unloaded with a series of clubbing lefts and rights, the final big right sending Beltran crashing to the mat. The referee quickly called the action to give Rampage the knockout win.
Yet more filler material followed in the form of the light heavyweight encounter between Jason Lambert and Tom DeBlass.
These two began trading as soon as the bell sounded. A brief clinch against the fence interrupted this for a few seconds, with DeBlass playing the counter-strike game very well.
A few seconds later a big left from DeBlass sent Lambert to the ground briefly. He was still stunned when he got back to his feet, and another left shortly afterwards sent him back down to the ground. That was it as far as the referee was concerned as he stopped the fight to give DeBlass the knockout win.
In conclusion – well, we may have had to wait a few days because of technical problems, but it was worth it.
Bellator 108 proved to be another quality show. Now I like a good technical ground battle as much as the next guy, but I also like to see fights go to a finish, which is why I enjoyed this show so much, and I doubt if I’ll see another show full of first round finishes for quite a while.
As for my fight of the night no-prize that particular honour goes to Marcos Galvao’s win over Tom McKenna, mainly because of his great ground work. Kudos must also go to Tom DeBlass for the sportsmanship he showed after knocking Jason Lambert out. It’s a shame we don’t see that kind of thing more often.
So with all of that out of the way let’s wrap this thing up by giving Bellator 108 the thumbs up.
By day I’m an unemployed retail worker, and at weekends I volunteer at a local museum, but by night I’m the author of The Two Sheds Review, Britain’s longest running professional wrestling and mixed martial arts blog. Visit my site at www.twoshedsreview.vze.com. It’s been online in one form or another since June 2000!