The 411 MMA Top 10 07.30.12 Ten Fighters Bellator Should Sign
Posted by Alex Rella on 07.30.2012
From Quinton Jackson and Tim Sylvia to Dave Bautista, Bobby Lashley, Andrei Arlovski and more, 411's Alex Rella counts down the top 10 fighters that Bellator should get under contract!
Ten Fighters Bellator Should Sign
Hey there gentle readers, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. This week we will be looking at ten fighters Bellator should look to sign. But first,
Thoughts from last week and other random stuff:
Ľ A few people debated whether or not Bonnar beat Griffin in their first meeting. It's definitely one of those fights where you have to watch it the second time and try to look at it from a judge's view point. I thought it could have gone either way the first time I saw it but the afterwards I can see where Griffin won.
Ľ Ryan Raze requested a top ten bloodiest fight list in the future, I could do that.
Ľ ĹDeeRayMoore' said the fight against Hector Lombard shouldn't have made the cut last week. What?
Ľ Last week I was planning on doing the ten potential opponents for Cormier. But like I called it, Frank Mir was announced as his opponent the day before my column goes up. But luckily I've been switched to Mondays so I had time to fix things up.
Ľ Check out the Invicta FC event from this weekend on youtube if you haven't already.
Back to this week's list
Bellator, the place "Where title shots are earned, not given..." has carved themselves out a nice place in the MMA world. Founded in 2008 by Bjorn Rebney, Bellator has turned out to be nice alternative to the UFC. The company has based themselves off of their tournament format where a fighter can only win a title shot by winning the eight man tournament in their weight class. Unique, though it does have it's holes when champions lose non-title fights. I also think the no elbow rule for different rounds of a tournament is stupid. Bellator will start airing on Spike in 2013 in a move that should help them expand even more. Bellator does have a few of the best fighters in the world but they can't compete with the UFC when it comes to signing top talent. But there are some fighters out there they could sign to help them out in their huge upcoming year. This list is based on ability to draw, past and current success, potential, and some personal opinion. The partnership with TNA will also influence a few picks as this could possibly take Bellator to a new level.
Ľ Veronica Rothenhausler
Ľ Travis Fulton- The Ironman has 247 wins, give him a chance in a tournament.
Ľ Kurt Angle- he's been talking trash for years, he's getting older but the partnership with TNA could make it finally happen. Probably not though.
10: Dan Severn
Now hear this one out before you completely shut it down. Dan Severn, the former UFC Superfight champion is 54 years old with a 101-19-7 record. Severn hasn't fought in a major Promotion since WEC in 2001 but he's in a different boat from other former greats at his age. Severn hasn't stopped winning for the most part and is looking to retire after one more good fight. Bellator could sign Severn to a one fight contract and give him one last good fight in the sun with top television coverage. Severn has said he wants to fight Tim Sylvia or Royce Gracie in his last fight but I doubt he'll turn down a fight against one of Bellator's lower ranked heavyweights. Severn is also a former NWA champion, so he could make an appearance with TNA as well. This would be a nice way to respect one of the founding greats of the sport and it could bring in new viewers.
9: ┬ŰÓńŔýŔ ╩ţšŰţÔ
Oleg Prudius, better known as Vladimir Kozlov would be a solid addition to the Bellator roster. Kozlov could compete at heavyweight in Mo Lawal type deal with both TNA and Bellator. Kozlov wrestled on the WWE main roster from 2008-11 and became a pretty solid wrestler before he was released. But Kozlov is more than just a wrestler. Kozlov was the 2005 USA Open Heavyweight Sambo Champion and a United States Kick-Boxing Association International Heavyweight Grappling Champion. Kozlov also played football in college and on the Ukrainian National team. Kozlov could work as a midcard face or heel in TNA and could be a solid heavyweight in Bellator. Bellator's heavyweight division is fairly thin so it wouldn't take much for Kozlov to pull off a few victories. Kozlov has a little name value as a former WWE tag team champion would was well liked at the end of his run. So Kozlov would be a nice addition to both companies as they continue to work together in the future.
8: Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley was once a top prospect but his value has dropped considerably in the past two years. Lashley was 5-0 before an embarrassing loss to Chad Griggs knocked him out of Strikeforce. The former WWE and TNA wrestler then rebounded with two straight wins but a recent loss to James Thompson killed that momentum. So why is he on the list? Because he could add to the TNA/Bellator partnership. TNA actually used Lashley pretty good in his first run with the company and he was their first hope for a crossover champion. But now in 2012, Lashley can still attract decent interest and he could be a midcard guy in both companies.
7: Andrei Arlovski
The former UFC heavyweight champion has won two fights in row at ProElite, the last being a KO over Travis Fulton and has a fight coming up with One FC in August. Arlovski has defeated good fighters in the past like Sylvia, Werdum, and Nelson but the past few years haven't been as good. The Pit Bull's run in Strikeforce was pretty bad as he went 0-3 but he looks to have rebounded nicely at the lower level. A third win in a row might make higher promotions give him a chance. This would be a low risk move for Bellator. Worst case, he gets one fight in a heavyweight tournament and gives a fighter something to brag about. Or he could end up reviving his career.
Side note- Arlovski is the only fighter to ever knock out Roy Nelson. So yes Arlovski is a better striker than Dos Santos, Mir, Cro Cop, and Werdum. Of course I'm kidding but it is an interesting stat.
6: Ayaka Hamasaki
Bellator's women's division has been interesting so far and is something they should continue to expand as they go forward. Bellator has held women's fights in a few different weight classes but they only have a title for the straw weight division (115 lbs). This was a good move by them to pick a different weight class from Strikeforce to focus on, it's just another thing that makes them different. They have some top fighters with champion Zoila Gurgel, Jessica Aguilar, and Megumi Fujii. Right now Hamasaki would be a nice challenger for Gurgel when she comes back from her torn ACL. Hamasaki is undefeated right now (8-0) and is the Jewels lightweight champion (115 lbs). She is the number three ranked 115 pound woman fighter in the world and is definitely someone Bellator should pursue.
5: Harry Smith
The son of the late British Bulldog announced that he will be debuting in MMA this year. A fight hasn't been announced yet but it looks like he has been taking it seriously. Harry Smith, 26, is a big guy at 6'5 250 pounds and showed great strength during his time with the WWE. Smith is one of the last to come out of the Hart Dungeon and is considered to be one of the best catch as catch can wrestlers around today. Smith has been realistic when talking about going into MMA in the past. He knows that he can't half ass it as he has some name value and a lot of heavyweights will be looking to make names for themselves by fighting him. Smith has been training with Billy Robinson and is a training partner for Josh Barnett. I could see him having a similar fighting style as Barnett. Smith is another one who would be great for a TNA/Bellator deal. As Smith comes from a famous family, he has already shown he is a good wrestler, and has all the makings to be a successful fighter.
4: Sergei Kharitonov
I don't get how the Russian Mercenary doesn't have a spot with a top company. The former Russian paratrooper and boxer has had a solid career so far and is only 31. Kharitonov returned to fighting in June with a first round submission victory. Kharitonov has had respectable runs in Pride and Strikeforce and has notable wins over Overeem, Werdum, Rizzo, and Arlovski. The big knock against him is that his submission defense is pretty bad but he usually finds a way to win with his 19-5 record. Kharitonov has made the semifinals of the Pride and Strikeforce Heavyweight Prix's as well. Just a fighter with some name value that could make an impact on the Bellator heavyweight division.
The six time world champion wrestler has been talking about competing in MMA since he left the WWE in 2010. The Animal came close to signing with Strikeforce in the past and there was a moderate buzz with some hoping for him to fight Bobby Lashley. But the deal fell through when Zuffa purchased Strikeforce. Batista's debut fight will be in October against Rashid Evans who is also making his debut (1-2 amateur record). Batista doesn't have an amateur wrestling or fighting background besides that he used to be a bouncer. But Batista does own a Gracie Fighter Gym in Tampa and has been training for several years. He'll be a complete joke if he loses his first fight but a win should move him onto bigger things. Bellator could be the company for him. Batista was a true wrestling main eventer for several years, his fans will tune in to see him fight and MMA purists will tune with the hopes of seeing him get owned. Both are possible in Bellator's heavyweight division but he would bring in new viewers to the company.
2: Quinton Jackson
Rampage's UFC career appears to be coming to an end at UFC 153 against Glover Teixeira. It's the last fight on his contract and Bellator is the only other place that can give him top money. I'd like to see Rampage come back for one more fight to take on Chael Sonnen as the trash talk has already been good so far, but I doubt it will happen. Jackson is no longer a top fighter but still has a lot of name value. Bellator will try to sign him regardless of the outcome of his next fight but his performance will be an indicator of what he has left in the tank. A fight against Lawal would have been great a few years ago but they have seemed to have buried the hatchet recently and Lawal has said Rampage should be his tag team partner in TNA. Either way I would book Rampage against Bellator's light heavyweight champ, Christian M'Pumbu in his first fight with the company (though it would be non-title).
1: Tim Sylvia
I think Tim Sylvia is a good option for Bellator right now. It came out last week that Sylvia would fight Cormier but then Dana White shot it down. White really hates Sylvia since he requested his release from the UFC in 2008. Sylvia left mainly because he thought he wasn't being paid enough and he wanted to fight Fedor. This fight in Affliction ended in a first round submission. This is nothing to be ashamed of at the time but it was his next fight which White brings up every time he talks about Sylvia. Sylvia got knocked out by 48 year old former boxer Ray Mercer in 2009, Sylvia came into the fight at 310 pounds. Since then he has rebounded nicely going 7-1, with the one loss some say was stopped early. Sylvia has been campaigning pretty hard to get back into the UFC and his last two fights saw him stop being a fat shit and return to heavyweight. His training video did not come off as cool as he was hoping but the two time UFC champion does deserve another chance in a major company. Sylvia's past success would bring pretty good ratings and he would be within the top five heavyweights in the company.
Ľ So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left a fighter out that you thought should be in the top 10.
Ľ As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.
Ľ ***Save the date***: Sept 14 I make my professional wrestling debut with Pro Wrestling Syndicate in Rahway NJ. Also appearing is Matt Hardy, Sami Callihan, Lex Luger, Anthony Nese, Demolition, Powers of Pain, and Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell will be the commissioner for the night. So come check it out if you like wrestling, Saved by the Bell, or just want to see me shirtless.
Ľ Next week I'll pull a Dana White and rank ten fighters that should change weight class.