Bellator MMA will be entering its 9th year this season. Monthly shows have been planned that will pit some of the top MMA fighters against each other. On February 18, the thrilling Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione showdown will take place at the SAP Center. Fans have been looking forward to this faceoff for quite some time and finally they are being rewarded. Bellator tickets sales also increased when the fight between Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd was announced. It will take place on March 3 at the Winstar Casino.
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Bellator MMA – The Format
Featuring the “Toughest Tournament in Sports”, Bellator MMA is the most awaited fighting event of the year. Ranging from a 4-person to 8-person tournament, it pits the top MMA fighters against each other. Earlier a smaller tournament format was followed in which eight fighters participated and had to go through single elimination system. In 2015, Bellator MMA brought in some changes and decided to make it an event spread over three months. Various weight classes were included, from bantamweight of 135 pounds to heavyweight of 265 pounds. It received much popularity and a significant increase was noticed in Bellator tickets.
The tournament kicks off with the opening round in which eight fighters participate in their respective weight class. With the elimination format in place, they move to the semi-finals and later the finals. In the 4-person tournament, there are no elimination rounds, only the semi-finals, followed by the finals. There is a one month break between the opening rounds, the semi-finals and the finals.
Bellator MMA – The Rules
Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts are followed by Bellator MMA that were established in 2000. According to these rules
- The fighters can’t attempt any groin strikes
- Eye gouging is not allowed
- There can be no kneeing or kicking a grounded opponent
- Head butting and strikes to the back of the head are prohibited
- There can be no grabbing of the fence or downward elbow
- Depending on the severity and frequency of the foul, the referee can take a point away, warn the fighter or at times even disqualify the person.
There are three rounds of five minutes each in the non-world championships. The world championships are spread on five rounds of five minutes each. There are seven weight divisions – Bantamweight (135 pounds), Featherweight (145 pounds), Lightweight (155 pounds), Welterweight (170 pounds), Middleweight (185 pounds), Light Heavyweight (205 pounds) and Heavyweight (265 pounds).
Bellator MMA 2017
The 2017 Bellator MMA kicked off on January 21 and was headlined by the UFC veteran Chael Sonnen and Tito Ortiz, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Ortiz managed to defeat Sonnen through submission method, a rear-naked choke. In Bellator 171, Melvin Guillard took on Chidi Njokuani, and defeated him in the third round through a unanimous decision.
Bellator 172 is scheduled to take place on February 18 and will feature the most anticipated Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione faceoff. Emelianenko is hailed as the heavyweight legend and this will be his first fight in the US, against Mitrione, since 2011. Called the “Last Emperor”, Fedor Emelianenko is from Russia and at 40, considered one of the greatest fighters of all-time in the heavyweight class. Former NFL player, Matt Mitrione is 38-year old. He recently recorded some back to back wins against Oli Thompson and Carl Seumanutafa.
Bellator 174 will take place on March 3 at the Winstar Casino. Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd will be fighting it out for the inaugural women’s featherweight title at the Bellator MMA. It looks to be an exciting run from the start till the end, with all the veteran MMA fighters looking to add to their title haul. Don’t miss it.
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