June 19, 2009

Live from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Coming at you live from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Tonight’s card features two belts on the line. Eddie Alvarez will take on Toby Imada for the Lightweight crown. Hector Lombard will mix it up in the cage with Jared Hess for the Middleweight crown. Both fights should be action packed as both fighters will lay it all on line to become Bellator champion. It expects to be a packed house. If you can’t make it here for the action, stay with us tonight online at Bellator.com and catch the live play-by-play coverage!


Tom Casale's Bellator Xll Fight Predictions

Lightweight Championship

Eddie Alvarez (17-2) vs. Toby Imada (22-12)
Imada has had a great run and his choke out of Jorge Masvidal will win Submission of the Year but Toby will have to settle for that. If you read Alvarez's interview further down in this blog, he says he's been saving himself for this fight and I think you are going to this the total package tonight. Imada is a good fighter but we are talking about the No. 3 ranked lightweight in the world in Alvarez. Imada is as tough as they come but no one is going to stand in the way between Alvarez and Bellator lightweight title.

Prediction--Eddie Alvarez

Middleweight Championship

Hector Lombard (20-2-1) vs. Jared Hess (8-0-1)
I believe Lombard to be the best fighter in Bellator at the moment and he will prove that tonight with a dominant win over Hess. We rode back to the hotel with Hess after his semi-final win over Yosmany Cabezas and you won't find a nicer, more down to earth guy. He's the kind of fighter you want to root for and he has a bright future in front of him. But tonight is Lombard's night. This is just a terrible match-up for Hess at this point in his career. Hess is a wrestler who likes to take his opponent down and control him on the mat. Well, Lombard just too big and strong for that. Lombard has been absolutely dominant in his Bellator run and I expect that to continue tonight, as he's crowned the company's first-ever middleweight champion.

Prediction--Hector Lombard

Non- Tournament Bouts

155 lbs. Jorge Masvidal (17-4) vs. Eric Reynolds (8-0-1)
This could be a tough night for Reynolds. By all rights, Masvidal should be facing Alvarez for the lightweight belt. He pounded Imada for three rounds but got cocky and Imada caught him in that amazing inverted triangle choke. Say what you want about Masvidal, the guy can fight and I expect him to bounce back in a big way tonight and send a message that he's the one who should have been fighting for the lightweight crown with an impressive win over Reynolds.

Prediction---Jorge Masvidal

155 lbs. Troy Gerhart (5-0) vs. Luis Palomino (10-5)
Prediction---Troy Gerhart

145 lbs. Sami Aziz (4-0-1) vs. Fabio Mello (5-6)
Prediction---Sami Aziz

170 lbs. Josh Martin (6-2-1) vs. Sergio Moraes (3-0)
Prediction---Josh Martin

Women’s---Valerie Coolbaugh (1-1) vs. Rosie Sexton (9-1)
Prediction---Rosie Sexton

Women’s---Yvonne Reis (0-1) vs. Stephanie Guimaraes (0-1)
Prediction--- Yvonne Reis

Joe Pettit's Bellator XII Fight Predictions

Lightweight Championship

Eddie Alvarez (17-2) vs. Toby Imada (22-12)
Alvarez came into this tournament with one thing on his mind, : the championship. He is one victory away from realizing this goal and will not be denied.  He seems to be improving with each fight as he climbs to the top of the lightweight class. He has scored two submission victories over the likes of Greg Loughran and Eric Reynolds. Imada is coming off the improbable Inverted inverted triangle choke victory over Jorge Masvidal. He also scored a first round stoppage via rear naked choke over Alonzo Martinez. Both fighters can bring it standing up or on the ground. I love Imada’s do or die attitude, but it will be Eddie’s night to shine. Eddie will go for the early kill and get the belt around his waist. The fans will chant Eddie’s name at the end of this bout.

Prediction---Alvarez over Imada

Middleweight Championship

Hector Lombard (20-2-1) vs. Jared Hess (8-0-1)
Lombard has scored two brutal victories in this tournament. He landed a resounding uppercut in his first round TKO over Virgil Lozano. He then followed that up with the gruesome beating of Damien Stelly in another first round TKO. He always has the early kill stop on his mind and has the striking skills to get the job done. Hess has great wrestling skills, and these skills are his chance at victory. He submitted Daniel Tabera with a rear naked choke in the first round. He then showed his great wrestling skills in his third round TKO   domination of Yozmany Cabezas. I see the usual happening for Lombard as he makes it three for three with a first round TKO. Hess suffers the first loss of his career and Lombard takes a step towards stardom

Prediction---Lombard over Hess

Non- Tournament Bouts

155 lbs. Jorge Masvidal (17-4) vs. Eric Reynolds (8-0-1)
Masvidal should be fighting for the lightweight belt. He got cocky and paid for it in his loss to Imada. I am sure the loss still haunts him and he wants to put it behind him as quickly as possible. Masvidal gets the victory and takes a step in forgetting that defeat.

Prediction---Masvidal over Reynolds

155 lbs. Troy Gerhart (5-0) vs. Luis Palomino (10-5)
Prediction---Palomino over Gerhart

145 lbs. Sami Aziz (4-0-1) vs. Fabio Mello (5-6)
Prediction---Aziz over Mello

170 lbs. Josh Martin (6-2-1) vs. Sergio Moraes (3-0)
Prediction---Martin over Moraes

Women’s---Valerie Coolbaugh (1-1) vs. Rosie Sexton (9-1)
Prediction---Sexton over Coolbaugh

Women’s---Yvonne Reis (0-1) vs. Stephanie Guimaraes (0-1)
Prediction--- Reis over Guimaraes

June 18, 2009

Catching Up with Eddie Alvarez

Eddie Alvarez comes into his match-up against Toby Imada Friday night as the No. 3 ranked lightweight fighter in the world according to most media outlets. We were able to catch up with Eddie in this exclusive interview as he prepares to become Bellator's first-ever lightweight champion.

Q: You are considered Bellator's biggest signing. What made you decide to sign with this promotion?

: Well, there was a number of reasons.  There were three main reasons.  One was the tournament.  The fact that it was tournament structure; I wanted to fight in a tournament and Bellator offered that.  Two was that they gave me security to worry just about fighting and not worrying about having to pay my bills.  They offered a decent amount of money to where I could just focus on my fighting and not have to lose sleep at night as to whether I can pay my mortgage or not. And three was it had some top names, Jorge Masvidal, and now everybody knows Toby Imada, it had some good names and good competition. Those were the three main factors that I looked for.  First and foremost, can I take care of my family?  Is it gonna do good for my career with the competition?  The tournament structure was a big swaying thing because I like fighting a lot of people in a little bit of time. 

Q: You got caught early on in your fight with Greg Loughran and you have dominated ever since. Did that punch kind of wake you up?

: That happens to me every once in a while, it actually happened before I fought Greg.  It happened in like two other fights, I got hit and I got flash-knocked down. It’s not a big deal. I think if you stay down, then it becomes a big deal, but just to get clipped and caught when you’re open, it’s not that big a deal.  I recover fast and I’m always working on my defense, so it’s something that won’t happen very often now that I’ve recognized it.  But, I just got caught.  When you try to throw big punches and finish fights, sometimes you gotta throw caution to the wind and leave yourself open in order to do that.  I’m that type of fighter. I take risks.

Q: What are your thoughts on the tournament setting? Have you had to change anything about your training to compensate for it?

: I think with the tournament, the biggest thing I’ve learned, because I fought in a tournament right before this tournament, the biggest thing I learned was listening to your body. In order to make it to the next round 100% and healthy and be able to perform at a high-level at each round of the tournament, you have to be 100% healthy.  Listen to your body and rest your body when your body needs it and take a day or so off if you feel incomplete.  Listening to your body is the biggest thing I had to cope with in the tournament structure and not trying to push through injuries.

Q: What did you think about Imada's submission of Masvidal? Have you ever seen a triangle choke like that?

: I’ve seen a few people do it. I’ve never seen anyone get tapped out by it or anyone get submitted by it.  It’s something that you know, there are certain guys that practice certain things and if you do them long enough and do them enough times anything can become effective. It looked like Toby was doing that for a while and he set him up beautifully with it.  Props to Toby, I mean, the way he set it up, I didn’t realize that he did that move all the time.  And then I went back and watched it, you could actually see the way Toby pushed his head in between his legs, he was setting him up the whole time.  Props to him, that was cool as hell.

Q: Imada has now won eight fights in a row. What kind of challenges do you think he presents for you in the finals?

: He’s a veteran, he’s been around the block, and he’s fought a lot of tough guys.  So I don’t think there’s going to be anything that I’m gonna come out and do that’s going to surprise him.  I think he’s been around MMA long enough to see everything.  I just don’t think he’s fought the type of competition that I’ve fought in recent years.  And I don’t feel like he’s fought anybody…I don’t feel like he’s gonna be ready to handle the taste that I’m gonna bring to the fight and deal with all the problems that I have for him.

Q: What part of your fight game do you think has improved the most over the years? What are the weakest and strongest parts of your game?

: I think my biggest improvement in fighting period had nothing to do with my physical attributes.  I was always very physically gifted and jiu-jitsu came fast to me, wrestling came quick and punching.  I think that my biggest improvement by far is my mentality.  Fighting in these tournaments and fighting against top name guys you have to improve your mentality and believe in yourself and if you don’t try to strengthen your mind and strengthen your mentality, I don’t think you are gonna to go very far.  Physically you can only go so far.  My biggest improvement has to be my mind, I’m very self motivated, I’m very confident and I believe in my abilities to perform at a high level all the time.  And, I find that what I accept in my mind, my spirit becomes better and I become a better fighter.

Q: What do you do to prepare for a fight? Is it the same every time or does it change depending on who your opponent is?

: I treat things to work on the tendencies and weaknesses of my opponent and I may tweak things in my training, but a lot of it has to do with me.  I try to control things that, I try to focus on things that I’m able to control.  And I’m not able to control my opponent what he’s going to do in the ring and his actions.  It’s more of a focus on me and what I’m gonna do.  Not so much what he’s gonna do.  Like I said, I do play off some of my opponents weaknesses and things of that sort, but I try to improve strength in my weaknesses and the things I feel I need to work on.  And when I can play off and try to exploit my opponent’s as well.

Q: What have you been training for to play off Toby Imada’s weaknesses?

: I ain’t gon tell you that…I ain’t gon tell nobody that.  That would be like going to a marine in the United States and asking how do you plan on bombing Iraq and what’s your strategy and then the general just saying it on national TV.

Q: You have a huge fan base. What does it mean to you to have all those fans cheering for you everywhere you go?

: Where I came from in the beginning till now, it means a lot.  You don’t realize how many people are watching.  And when I’m not training, I’m hanging out with my family and doing stuff with my wife.  So I don’t get out much to see how I’m affecting other people or how many people are actually watching.  You know, me and my wife went out not too long ago and it’s crazy like, I went out to see a couple friends and you know, random people, the support and love that I’m getting from the people here in Philadelphia and people all over the world, it’s unbelievable. It encourages me to push and be strong and keep me doing what I’m doing.  I’m doing a good thing and inspiring other people, and for people that don’t have much, people that came from where I came from to believe in themselves and work harder.  If I can inspire even a couple of people then I’m happy with what I’m doing.

Q: Do you think this has increased since the beginning of the Bellator tournament? 

: Yeah, especially among the Spanish crowd.  I got a gym that’s around my old neighborhood and the majority of people in my old neighborhood is all Spanish.  Before I fought on Bellator, when I would go to the gym I was just another guy at the gym, you know?  And now, all these new guys come into the gym, a lot are Hispanic and are “hey man, you look familiar” I get that a lot now. “you look familiar, you fight on TV” So a lot of people in the Hispanic community are tuning in to ESPN Deportes and watching Bellator.  So yeah, it’s worth it.

Q: What are your thoughts on competing in Bellator so far and how does this promotion stack up to others you have fought in?

: So far my experience in Bellator has been great.  We fought at the Hard Rock and we fought in Dayton, Ohio.  The pays been good, the productions been great.  The production value of each show, you know watching it on TV, it looks like a quality good product that is gonna make it.  And even the shows themselves, the Toby Imada submission of the year, that guy’s spinning back fist made probably knockout of the year, some of the stuff that’s being put on make noise.  Not just in the Bellator promotion, but in all the promotions.  There doing big things and I’m happy where I’m at, I’m happy.

Q: What would a Bellator Lightweight title mean to Eddie Alvarez?

: Right now, the short term goal of mine is to get the belt and the long term goal is for me to defend it and to be the champion.  And it’s everything that I put my heart and soul into for the past six months to a year preparing for this final.  I put a small piece of my life into winning this title and I’m putting everything I can out and there’s no doubt in my mind that come June 19th that I’ll have my title and will continue to be a champion of Bellator.

Q: How motivated are you to win for your hometown?

: To win for my city? Man, the people here and the love that I get here in Philly, I don’t need much to wake up in the morning.  That’s all I gotta say, especially with the fighters.  They’re behind you 100% and they’re loyal, win or lose.  So I have a lot of friends and a lot of people that follow me in my hometown.  I love them for that, and I think that regardless of how I do they’re just happy that I came from where I came from and I’m able to do a positive thing, that’s all.

Q: When you last fought in Dayton, you promised big things for the finals, can you elaborate?

Alvarez: This will be my best performance to date, June 19th will be my absolute performance to date.  I plan on going out and displaying every act of MMA, to show the viewers that don’t know what MMA is and don’t quite understand the sport…I want to display every aspect of that to them that Bellator fighting is here to stay and we’re going to put on exciting shows.  You’re going to see well rounded fighters, the best fighters in the world fight for this promotion.  And just showing all aspects of the game, takedowns, jiu-jitsu, standup and showing everything and showing people how cool it is to transition from one martial arts to the other and that’s what this sport’s about.

Q: What's next for Eddie Alvarez? Strikeforce says you will fight for them in the fall. The UFC has been trying to sign you for some time now. You obviously have a lot of options. What does the future hold for Eddie Alvarez?

: The only future that I’m thinking about is, I’m thinking about capturing the Bellator lightweight belt and relaxing for a couple weeks with my family.  I’ve been going crazy. I fought in the DREAM lightweight tournament before this, I fought Ayoki at New Year’s and that was right after my five fights last year, I took this tournament.  So I’ve fought a lot of times in the last year or so and I’ve been very active and I feel like my body and my mind just needs to rest, relax and chill with my wife and my kids.  Just relax a little bit.  I’m kind of leaving it all on the map right now, emptying my gas tank and by the time the fights come, I’m not gonna have much to give MMA for a little bit.  I just wanna finish up hard, show one of the best performances people are going to see in a long time and relax and rest and see what comes in the months ahead.

Q: Any final words for all of your fans out there?

: Thank everyone, hoping people tune in, it’s gonna be a monster disappointment if you don’t tune in. I’m going to perform at a very high level and this is going to be something to see.  I’m excited to see it.  So if I’m excited, then you should be, then tune in.  I also want to thank my wife and kids for allowing me to do what I do and that’s really it. 

Bellator XII Featured Fight: Hector Lombard vs. Jared Hess

Bellator XII Fight of the Night: Hector Lombard vs. Jared Hess (Middleweight Championship)

The second championship bout on Bellator’s Friday night Bellator XII card will feature the Middleweight championship fight between Hector Lombard and Jared Hess. In Hector Lombard, you have a fighter that will bring you to the edge of your seat because of the way he can end a fight.  A win by Lombard could mean a top ten ranking in addition to the $175,000 in total purse winnings. In contrast, Hess has all American wrestling skills and will use these skills to keep Lombard from unleashing his awesome striking abilities. A win for Hess would mean a title as well as making a name for himself.  Something has to give at the Seminole Hard Rock on June 19. Grab a seat and enjoy MMA at its best!!!

Lombard comes into the final with two of the most brutal beatings that you will see in MMA.  In his first victory, he landed a vicious uppercut that stopped Virgil Lozano dead in his tracks in just 1:10. He followed up that brutality with a total ground and pound clinic in his first round TKO of Damien Stelly. Hess and I have come to the same conclusion: Lombard reminds us of Mike Tyson. He will stalk you and try to take you out with brute force.  Add the fact that he is a Cuban judo champion, and you can see what kind of monster of a fighter he is. This is the type of fighter MMA fans pay to see!!

Hess made his way into the finals with less drama but was impressive nonetheless. He took out Spanish legend Daniel Tabera with a rear naked choke at 2:34 of the opening round. In his second fight, he totally dominated Yozmany Cabezas with his superior wrestling and finally received the TKO from the ref at 4:26 of the third round. With great wrestling skills like these, Hess always has a shot against anyone he fights. Hess will bring everything he has and Lombard will have to be ready for that do or die attitude.
This fight comes down to how Hess will defend the offensive onslaught that will come at him from Lombard. Lombard will show no mercy for Hess, and Jared’s wrestling will have to be at its all time best. Wrestling can be very effective in keeping Lombard from striking and wearing him out from being pinned down. He used a great strategy in his last fight and will need that same strategy in this bout. Taming a lion makes for a great battle; Hess will hope to tame this lion called Hector Lombard!!

June 17, 2009

Bellator XII Featured Fight: Eddie Alvarez vs. Toby Imada

The Seminole Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida will host the Bellator Lightweight world championship on June 19. Fan favorite Eddie Alvarez will be taking on Toby Imada. In addition to capturing the belt, Alvarez will be looking to solidify his position as one of the top lightweights in the world. Imada will be looking for a third straight upset and use the submission of the year he executed as the momentum he needs to pull off the victory.

Alvarez positioned himself into the finals with his first two submission victories of his career. In his first fight, he wore down Greg Loughran and submitted him via guillotine choke just 2:44 into the fight. His second bout produced a more mature and cerebral Eddie Alvarez. He used his superior wrestling skills and took any real threat away from Eric Reynolds. Alvarez patiently waited his turn and applied a rear naked choke at 1:30 of the third round. Alvarez can fight you both standing and on the ground and is getting better with each fight knowing what this victory would mean to his career. Alvarez will be determined, and one tough fighter to beat.

Imada is coming off the YouTube sensation submission of the year. He took a pounding for over two and a half rounds. In true underdog fashion, Imada pulled off an incredible and improbable inverted triangle choke on Jorge Masvidal with just 1:38 left in the fight. This confidence will bode well for Imada in this fight.  He also choked out Alonzo Martinez just 3:26 into his first fight, via rear naked choke. Imada can also trade with you standing or take the fight on the ground.  Imada will never give up. It is this attitude that makes him dangerous and a threat to this belt.  A third choke and upset would suit Imada just fine.

I think that both fighters will come out with both guns blazing. Alvarez will set the pace and try to finish off Imada quickly and squash any chance of defeat. He will look to do what Masvidal did not do. Imada will need to match that same intensity and counter with a defense if he is to survive. Imada has proven that he can hang in there with the best of them. This all adds up to an intriguing matchup that should produce excitement and highlights.  Bellator will be proud to crown either one of these combatants champion!!!

June 16, 2009

Catching Up with Jared Hess

We caught up with the undefeated Jared Hess before his middleweight finals bout with Hector Lombard on Friday night. In this exclusive interview, Hess talks about his match-up with Lombard, fighting in Bellator, what he does to prepare for an opponent and a lot more.

Q: What are your thoughts on competing in Bellator so far? How does this promotion stack up to others you have fought for?

Hess: It’s by far the best thing I’ve been in. Before Bellator I was just fighting in local fights in Oklahoma and Texas. So it’s definitely a step up as far as fighting and so far they’ve just been wonderful. I think they run a great show and they definitely know what they’re doing as far as promotions and running the show. For me as far as wrestling goes, it’s a tournament style fighting and that’s what I live for. That’s what I’ve been accustomed to and everything so I definitely like that style of fighting.

Q: Have you had to change your training at all to compensate for the tournament-style fighting?

Hess: No, it’s actually just for me, benefited my training just because it’s kind of the same concept as wrestling. You know you wrestle one match and then you’re right back into it. And that I think for me, as far as conditioning goes, is the best. Because you can train and condition as much as possible but your real conditioning is getting in there and fighting live and going live matches. So I like that style.

Q: This will be your fourth fight in a couple months. Do you worry about fatigue setting in at all?

Hess: No, no. That’s one of my big things. You can be the best boxer, you can be the best wrestler, judo guy, jiu-jitsu, on and on, but as far as conditioning, you can have all those skill sets, but if you don’t have conditioning in the third round you can’t fight, you can’t box, you can’t breathe. No, as far as my fatigue in fighting, I think that the tournament-style fighting definitely helps me out and training for all that.

Q: Hector Lombard has been pretty impressive so far. What are your thoughts on him and the challenges he presents?

Hess: Hector is a hell of a fighter. I think he definitely knows what he’s doing and he’s been in the game a long time. What he kind of reminds me of is a mini-Mike Tyson as far as the kind of fighter he is. Just ‘cause he’s kind of short, stocky, you know, he has so much power in his hands, its unbelievable; he’s quick. So that’s what he reminds me of and I think he’s a good fighter, so it’s definitely going to be, for me, my toughest fight yet.

Q: Do you think you’ll be able to control him on the ground with your wrestling skills?

Hess: Me and my coaches at Premier Martial Arts, we’ve kind of set up a game plan of going into the fight and definitely if we stick to the game plan of what we’ve gotten set I think we’ll do really good. A lot of people think fighting is street fighting--get in there and you just get after it--but in all reality this is a sport and it’s actually more of a strategy, kind of like chess, I’d say. You always have to think of one move ahead of your opponent to pull out the victory.

Q: What part of your fight game do you think has improved the most over the years? What are the weakest and strongest parts of your game?

Hess: As far as my wrestling background, that’s what I was raised up, that’s what I came up to do. But what’s come the most is my striking, you know, that’s what was the weakest and that’s what I’ve really been concentrating on the last couple years since I’ve started fighting is my striking and my stand up. I still think, you know, it’s the weakest but it has improved night and day since when I started.

My strongest, in fighting, my strongest standpoint is obviously my wrestling, taking the opponent down, getting him and controlling him and either submitting him or TKO ground-and-pound. So definitely that’s my strongest, but as far as what’s improved the most is my stand up but I still have a lot to work on and stuff like that.

Q: Where does the tenacity come from inside the ring because you seem like a pretty down-to-earth guy outside the ring?

Hess: I think that has to involve with just wrestling, the type of competitor I am. I’m the type of person that, I will do anything and everything in the world to win. I mean I can’t stand to lose. As nice as a guy I am, I will bite you, cheat, do anything in the world I have to. I was just brought up, as far as you know, in my family, in just wrestling and in football. And anything I do I can’t stand to lose and that just kind of goes along with my life in general. I was bread to be a winner and that’s what I’m going to do.

And so I think I was raised right, good Oklahoma raising but definitely when I step in the cage it’s a different story. I’m there to do one thing and one thing only and that’s how I always was in wrestling. Once I stepped out in the mat I would do anything in the world to get my hand raised. It’s the just the competition and the competitiveness in me to get in there and get after it.

Q: Who’s the toughest guy you ever fought?

Hess: You know I don’t know. As far as being the most decorated fighter I’ve fought was in the first round of the Bellator fight, Daniel Tabera. You know he was 12-1, 12-2, I cant remember, so he had a lot of fights, supposed to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in Spain and I went out there and basically dominated him, finished him in the first round and took care of business. And then Yosmany, as far as that he was 8-1 and a tough fighter and I just basically went out there and dominated that fight for three rounds and never was really in any danger as far as getting beat in either one of those fights.

The local fights, as far as here, the competition really wasn’t that great.  I mean I had a draw with Nathan James like my third fight in my career, third or fourth fight, I can’t really remember.  He was a tough competitor and stuff like that. I personally thought I got the victory in that fight just because the way the fight went. I just didn’t fight a very smart fight when I thought back. But I really don’t think he was probably the toughest guy I fought, but its either one of the big names, Yosmany or Daniel Tabera. I think they’re all really great competitors and good fighters so I can’t really just pinpoint just one good fight. I don’t think I’ve fought enough to give you that one answer.

Q: What do you do to prepare for a fight? Do you have a ritual or does it change depending on your opponent?

Hess: No, realistically it’s almost identical to wrestling. When I was preparing for wrestling and getting ready for a match, you know because it’s just a one-on-one competition and obviously in wrestling you don’t hit pads or warm up anything like that.

But as far as just the preparation of getting my mind and getting focused on the fight or the match itself is almost identical and I think that’s what I think helps me so much as far controlling my nerves and anticipation for everything is just because I’ve been there, I’ve been to the big tournament, I’ve been in front of crowds and it just kind of feels actually almost natural to me, so you know I’m only 8-10 and 1 but in all reality I’m like 500 and something just because I’ve wrestled so much and just been in that atmosphere to where this is time once you get out there you know you’re ready to go. You don’t have as much nerves or butterflies like some people do.

Q: What would a Bellator Middleweight title mean to you?

Hess: You know right now it would mean a lot, you know, because definitely I haven’t yet ever had a belt or a title holder or anything like that so definitely as far as winning. Realistically the title doesn’t really mean that much to me as much as me going out there and actually beating Hector Lombard. As far as him, he’s a decorated fighter and he’s going to be my toughest opponent yet so far, so me I’m not actually even worried about the title because that comes along with me going out there and taking care of business first. Beating Hector would be more on my top of the list than worrying about a title. Because you have to beat him before you get the title. But no, in reality though, it would mean a lot and I would be fortunate and thankful for everything that’s happened to me for it to give me that shot to win that title.

Q: How’s your health going in to the finals?

Hess: Good. As far the first fight, I didn’t even get punched so I definitely got in and took care of business. In fighting you definitely don’t want to stay in the ring.  You want to get in there and take care of business and get out because you never know what could happen in a fight. You could be winning the fight all three rounds and all of a sudden get caught in a KO and lose the fight. So you definitely want to get in and get out but I was really happy as far as my second fight with Yosmany, as far as being able to push my conditioning and see how I would do in the third round as far as my conditioning goes. But I never really was in danger or anything like that.  I didn’t get cut or I didn’t get banged up in the fight so it was good.  My health is great you know I couldn’t be healthier knock on wood.

Q: How much inspiration do you get from your daughter Jaden?

Hess: A lot. You know I’m not really in it for the fame or the glamor. I do this, I mean I have a degree from the University of Central Oklahoma, so I could definitely go out and get a job and make a very good living for myself and my family but I do it because I love it.

Hopefully I could more than anything touch the young people’s hearts and lives and others. For me, just to be able to show up and put a smile on a kid’s face actually means a whole lot. That’s why I do it. Because you know I’m fortunate enough to be healthy and have a chance to do this and these other kids that aren’t as fortunate to do that. To be able to go out and put a smile on kid’s face just because of who I am would be tremendous to me. And I do that for Ben and Jaden and everybody else and friends and family.

Q: You’re a very young fighter still, so what does the future hold for Jared Hess?

Hess: The future hold? You know I’m not a mind reader or a fortune teller but definitely think I’m in it for good. I mean Bellator’s giving me a chance to where I can fight full time and be able to support my family and everything like that so definitely this is what I love doing and as long as I’m healthy and able to stand and fight and keep winning I’m in. So it looks good, looks bright.

June 15, 2009

Bellator XI Fight Analysis

Lyman Good vs. Omar De La Cruz (Welterweight Final)

Bellator crowned another champion on June 12th at the Mohegan Sun Arena.  His name is Lyman Good. Good not only captured the belt but did it in true dominant fashion.  From the opening bell, it was evident that this fight was about passion. Good quickly took down De La Cruz and pounded him into submission just 1:23 into the bout. It was classic ground and pound effort from Good, and De La Cruz had no answer! Good was too powerful and too driven to be denied.  The crowd came to see Good be crowned champion and he did not disappoint. Good has a lot of potential which can lead to greatness down the road. Bellator can be very proud to call Good its Welterweight champion. He did it with class, selflessness and dignity. Congratulations Lyman Good!!

Nick Pace vs. Collin Tebo  (Lightweight)
This bout is worth mentioning because of the tremendous fashion in which it ended. Pace landed a jumping knee right on the kisser of Tebo resulting in a resounding TKO just 1:37 into the fight. It as a Knee KO and should be checked out for that alone. Pace is a young and exciting fighter that you should keep your eye on.  The clip can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14ZrMVHisag

Uriah Hall vs. Edwin Aguilar (Middleweight)
I came away impressed with the performance of Uriah Hall. In only his second professional fight, Hall showed an impressive striking arsenal and resilience against the veteran Aguilar. Hall used an array of powerful kicks and strikes and almost landed spinning back kicks a number of times that could have ended this bout early. Hall never stopped kicking and demonstrated tenacity in round two and was in trouble as Aguilar tried to finish him off.  Hall gained his composure demonstrating his striking skills to wear down Aguilar and finished him off at 4:31 of round three. With more experience and polish, Uriah Hall will be a MMA name that everyone will know!!

June 13, 2009

Bellator XI Post Fight Press Conference

We were able to catch the Bellator XI post-fight press conference with remarks from Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, Lyman Good, Omar De La Cruz, Team Tiger Schulman, and the other winning fighters from the evening.

Rebney addressed the media with great excitement over the success of the tournament style concept thus far for Bellator, re-iterating the idea that a fighter's destiny is in their control. He congratulated Lyman Good on becoming the Welterweight World Champion and spoke highly of Lyman as a great representative of Bellator and the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

Omar De La Cruz congratulated Good on his victory, and expressed his gratitude toward the Bellator organization for the opportunity to compete.

Team Tiger Schulman had an outstanding evening, as all four fighters won their respective matchups. Lyman brought to light the bond that they share as one family with a common goal, and the support structure that provides during the rigors of constant training.

June 12, 2009

Omar De La Cruz vs. Lyman Good

Welterweight World Championship

Round 1

Both fighters come together for the championship match at center ring. Fighters size each other up for a second. Fighters clinch and go to the ground. Good gets a top mount with Cruz in guard. Good takesDe La Cruz to the cage wall with his top mount and De La Cruz is in full guard. Good's attempts to posture up are guarded nicely byDe La Cruz with his legs around Lyman's back. Good gets a small combination on De La Cruz but is quickly defended again. Good lands another right punch on De La Cruz. Strikes are short with not much power. Three nice left hand punches landed by Good. Good gets free and postures up. He starts to lay down right haymakers on Cruz, one after another, until the referee jumps in to call the TKO.  Good is just too powerful and relentess for De La Cruz. No defense against that! Get the belt and check ready with Lyman Good's name on it, he's our Welterweight World Champion.

Official Result

Lyman Good def. Omar De La Cruz at the 1:23 mark of round one

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