Bellator came through Friday night with another exciting action packed card littered with future stars such as Brennan Ward and Michael “Venom” Page. The main event itself was none to full of surprises as humongous underdog Rafael Carvahlo shocked the MMA world when he put an end to the undefeated streak of rising star Brandon Halsey. We were treated to a special night all the way around. In wake of the exciting event, here are the next matchups that ought to be considered next for the victors:
Goiti Yamauchi vs. John Teixeira
Yamauchi turned in one of his most exciting and most dominating performances in the Bellator cage to date after submitting the number 1 ranked featherweight from Japan in Isao Kobayashi. Goiti dominated the first two rounds handedly with an offensive onslaught of submission attempts both on top and off his back, never allowing his opponent to mount a legitimate offense. Going into the third round, Goiti was already unanimously favored on the score cards, yet never took yield from his grappling assault and even managed to drop the Japanese star with a straight left that would be the beginning of the end as Yamauchi would follow this up with a fight ending rear naked choke submission. Goiti has now won 3 fights straight with two submission finishes, and after coming off a layoff like a man possessed, Yamauchi is primed to make a legitimate run at the Bellator featherweight title while also cementing himself as one of the divisions elite. To prove that point a bout with equally game competitor John Teixeira makes the most sense. Teixeira is 3-0 under the Bellator brand and is riding an eight fight undefeated streak. A bout between these two could certainly highlight which man will go on to cement himself as the next possible star in the already stacked Bellator featherweight division.
Michael “Venom” Page vs. Brennan “Irish Bad Boy” Ward
IF there was anything that didn’t surprise us it was these two men putting on spectacular highlight-reel performances once again. While it’s already debatable the quality of opponents put before Ward and Page, both opponents signed the contract and were ready to duke it out against two of the fiercest and flashiest welterweight’s on the planet. Michael Page however showed a much different side of himself Saturday night as he instead opted to show fans a different side of his fighting style that’s been very rarely seen up until now, which is his grappling. After clinching up with his opponent Charlie Ontiveros, Page utilized great Judo in taking Ontiveros down. After showing off fantastic transitions, positioning and top control Michael utilized his sharp elbows to put away the Texas native in devastating fashion. The “Irish Bad Boy” however stuck to his bread and butter against Dennis Olson and unleashed a massive hurricane of punches on Olson after initially dropping “The Menace”. Both men have more than established themselves as the top-tier of fighters at 170 lbs in Bellator. Both men have now also made it clear that their end game is the fight for the Bellator Welterweight championship. While Bellator has had its fun matching up both men up against opposition that always seems to end up deep six into the underdog category, and getting highlight-reel performances each and every time, its time for both men to take that step up. It’s time to see both men to take the next step in their careers and work towards the title. A bout between both men is simply one of the biggest fights period that Bellator could make right now. You could say that Bellator has been potentially building up to this as both men have competed on the same card twice in a row while also being scheduled a third time prior. If that’s the case, then smart move.
Rafael Carvahlo vs. Hisaki Kato/ Ben Reiter
Carvahlo shocked the MMA world Friday night in his upset win over the formerly undefeated Brandon Halsey. With a finish that would have made Bas Rutten proud, Carvahlo landed a stunning liver kick that would lead to the demise of the former Middleweight champion in Halsey. It was a spectacular comeback as Carvalho struggled early on as Halsey’s size and strength proved difficult to overcome. Halsey was offensively early after finding the mount and nearly finishing the fight with an arm triangle submission choke in the first round.Carvahlo was able to tough it out and secure the game winning kick in the next round. Carvahlo now holds the championship in one of the least stacked divisions Bellator has. Not to say that he isn’t one of the best fighters in the world right now, but he certainly doesn’t have a huge line of opposition to prove so. One big player who most recently entered the game is Hisaki Kato who in his last fight earned a Knockout of the Year candidate over mutual opponent Joe Schilling. Kato next faces Manhoef who doesn’t necessarily qualify as a title earning match-up, but when you’re in a division as shallow as Bellator’s middleweight division, some exceptions can be made. However, if Bellator wanted to be overly reasonable and give it to the man who mosy likely earned it logistically, Ben Reiter is the next logical choice. Reiter is undefeated at 16-0-1 and has already won his first two Bellator bouts against opponents more so decorated in MMA than Joe Schilling. Whatever Bellator chooses to do, you can’t really go wrong with either man taking on the newly crowned Brazilian.