The stars were out in Uncasville, Connecticut at Mohegan Sun Arena last night for Bellator 216. NFL Hall Of Fame lineman Michael Strahan, Herschel Walker, and Rapper 50 Cent watched on as the first round of the Bellator welterweight Grand Prix continued. I must say, the crowd inside Mohegan Sun Arena was far and away more raucous and into the fights than the one in Brooklyn that watched on for UFC’s debut on ESPN a few weeks ago. Here are a couple takeaways from last night’s event from cage side.
Valerie Loureda is a star already
This 20-year-old had the crowd electrified from start to finish. Her fight style is different in the way she sets up combinations. Last night was her professional debut and she literally has no comparables as far as fight style goes. Obviously, she is beautiful, but her in-ring game is going to take her a long way. Her post-fight remarks suggest she gets it too, the crowd was on its feet for her emotional remarks about her family, her training and her life. A star was born last night.
Cheick Kongo is the new #1 contender
Scott Coker told media in his post event scrum that Kongo is next in line for a title fight against Ryan Bader. Coker told us that it will probably happen come summertime. Kongo was almost angry in his post right presser, he was very quick and to the point, saying some words that are best left out. Bottom line, Kongo is angry and he wants the shot against Bader. Look for that to headline a Bellator card in July or August.
Bad judging was a common theme
Roy Nelson was extremely unhappy with his decision loss to Mirko Cro Cop. He may have a legitimate beef. That being said there was a loud commotion near the fighters dressing room during Scott Coker’s scrum that drew the attention of uniformed Police Officers. Keith Shillan of Sherdog.com later confirmed that Roy Nelson had to be escorted out of the building by officers but was not arrested. A small note during Loureda’s post fight presser, owner of Dominance MMA, Ali Abdelaziz came out of the locker room loudly screaming about the judging. Take that for what it’s worth.
Michael “Venom” Page is a star
Page did not have his best night last night. Paul Daley was a formidable opponent and Page is dealing with some personal issues outside of the cage that hindered his training camp. All that being said, Page won the decision fairly although we had it scored as a draw from cageside. Page said at the post fight presser that he hopes to fight Daley again, hopefully in both fighter’s home country, the United Kingdom. The crowd was amped for Page though and he has a massive following that made their way to Connecticut. It will be fascinating to see how Page fights against the veteran Douglas Lima in round 2 of the Welterweight Grand Prix. As always with Page, we will be watching.
Successful night for Bellator
All in all, the arena was a sellout, and the crowd was hungry all night. The fights delivered even though there was some questionable decisions. Bellator has got some serious young superstars on the roster, and their production is very good. This promotion has got some big time upward traction and is a serious threat to the UFC. Keep building young stars like Page and Loureda and sprinkle in big name veterans is a winning formula. Big win this weekend for Bellator, and most especially the fans.