Tomorrow night, live from Portland, Oregon’s Moda Center, Bellator MMA kicks off its lightweight tournament round and closes out the show, with their top of the card match and bantamweight semi-final bout, featuring Joe Warren taking on Nick Kirk.
Bellator is an improving product and if you’ve been watching this season’s fights, then you’ve seen some very entertaining bouts, with very few snoozers. An example of that would be last week’s welterweight tournament. In it, fans were treated to an impressive and dominant outing by former UFC fighter War Machine and an absolutely brilliant stand-up performance by Douglas Lima; two fighters to keep an eye on for sure, particularly Lima.
Friday’s main card features no less than three former UFC fighters (Rich Clementi, John Alessio and Marcus Davis) and a former Bellator champion (Joe Warren), all striving to move forward and claim the 100K prize money.
The fight most likely to be of interest to UFC fans would that of Marcus Davis.
Davis was a long-time UFC stalwart and put on some great fights. As fans of the senior promotion know, Davis is not only a tough fighter, known primarily for his hands and foot work, but also an exciting one, having garnered five card bonuses in his UFC (15 fight) career; 3 FOTN / 1 KOTN / 1 SOTN.
Davis first broke into the UFC back in 2005, but was exited quickly from the promotion upon his lone fight and loss, to Melvin Guillard; TKO (cut). However, Davis was back within the year and racked up an impressive six straight wins. However, Mike Swick brought Davis’s surge to an end by way of a decision victory, and Marcus was forced to re-group.
Past the streak, “The Irish Hand Grenade” went 3 & 4 and although turning in exciting performances, his record fell to 1 & 4 over his last five and as such, it proved to be his undoing; Davis was cut.
Since then, Marcus has bounced around between six different promotions, racking up a 5 – 1 & 1 (NC) record and seems to have a little wind in his sails. Friday night’s fight will mark his second appearance in the Bellator cage, with his first bout being a no-contest match; illegal knee to his opponent.
In his sophomore outing, Davis will be going up against a talented Russian opponent in the way of Alexander Sarnavskiy. “Tiger” is a well rounded fighter with a professional record of 23 & 1 and an impressive 83% finishing rate; 6 KOs’ & 13 submissions. The singular stain on his record, was a split decision loss in October of last year; 3 fights back.
In comparing the two fighters, it doesn’t look good for Davis.
The first thing that would strike anyone when considering the two is their age difference; Sarnavskiy is 16 years the junior of Davis; 24 & 40, respectively. Beyond that, Davis has a finishing rate of 68% and is giving up 15 points in this department. That’s a lot to give up to a fighter that gets most of his finishes on the ground, particularly when the fighter giving up the points isn’t renowned for his ground game. Also and for anyone who knows Marcus’s history, he has a tendency to cut easily in a fight and as such, is the type of fighter who is susceptible to a doctor’s stoppage. Finally and for what it’s worth, Sarnavskiy has three inches in height over Davis (he’s 5’11”) and a one inch reach advantage. Stack it all together and this is a tough fight for the Irish Hand Grenade.
However and regardless of the disadvantages going in, any UFC fans that might be watching will probably be rooting for the long-time veteran, fighter and hoping that he scores the win and moves on in the tournament; Go Irish, on this one.
The show starts at 9 pm EST on SPIKE TV.
The card and its line-up are as follows:
Joe Warren vs. Nick Kirk (135)
Lightweight Tournament Opening Round:
Ricardo Tirloni vs. Rich Clementi
Will Brooks vs. John Alessio
Saad Awad vs. Martin Stapleton
Marcus Davis vs. Alexander Sarnavskiy
Scott Thometz vs. Brent Primus (155)
Andy Uhrich vs. Nathan Coy (170)
Joe Pacheco vs. Tyson Jeffries (170)
Marcin Held vs. Ryan Healy (155)
Jeremiah Riggs vs. Peter Aspinwall (170)
Austin Springer vs. Brent Alvarez (135)
Video Courtesy of The Fight Network