A brand new feature to #WHOATV called Where do we go from here, as we look at the weekend winners’ next options inside the Bellator cage.
Featherweight – Daniel Straus def. Justin Wilcox KO (punches) [R1/0:50]
An emphatic left hook knockout of Strikeforce veteran Justin Wilcox in just 50 seconds showed Daniel Straus had forgotten about his 112 title defeat to then champion Pat Curran and was ready to push for the title once again. The American Top Team fighter made definitive ease of Wilcox, and his thunderous knockout will send ripples through the Featherweight division.
The crowded Bellator Featherweight league already has a plethora of challengers for Patricio Pitbull’s world title, which he picked up at Bellator 123 in September. With potential contenders: Bubba Jenkins and Julio Cesar Neves as well as Daniel Weichel still awaiting his title shot, Straus may still be one more win away from a title fight. 20 year-old Neves who stands 20-0 would be a fine opponent for Straus, who could provide the undefeated Brazilian the first real test of his career.
Catchweight – (173 lbs) Fernando Gonzalez def. Karo Parisyan TKO (punches) [R1/1:43]
The shock of the night fell to Fernando Gonzalez who defeated ex-UFC fighter Karo Parisyan in just under two minutes. With this win, Gonzalez who has often struggled to continue his momentum is currently in his element, backing up his previous win over Karl Amoussou with a great performance against Parisyan. With the Welterweight division currently lacking movement, Gonzalez could arguably earn himself a title shot after two impressive wins. Douglas Lima sits on the sidelines, and unless the returning Paul Daley is given the next chance, there are many arguments for Gonzalez’s title fight worth.
Catchweight – (138 lbs) Rafael Silva def. Rob Emerson via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) R3 – 5:00
Former Bantamweight title hopeful Rafael Silva used his superior wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu to defeat Rob Emerson by unanimous decision. Silva constantly looked to take Emerson down and grind out the win. Emerson provided some challenge, as he wobbled Silva, but it wasn’t enough to make a comeback. His loss to Joe Warren last season, overshadowed Silva’s worth, but he will look to climb the rankings once again, and there are numerous fighters he can face next.
Mike Richman is coming off a big first round knockout of Ed West last month, and could provide Silva with a true test. With his good wrestling and fast hands, it would be a great fight for the MMA neutral.
Middleweight – Kendall Grove def. Christian M’Pumbu Submission (rear-naked choke) [R2/4:14]
Kendall Grove utilised his vast wrestling experience as he submitted Christian M’Pumbu in round two with a rear naked choke. Immediately Grove took the fight to the ground and M’Pumbu looked to offer little defence to Grove’s takedowns. This continued in the second, and once Grove took back mount it was game over for M’Pumbu, as the ex-UFC fighter sunk in the submission.
With Brandon Halsey the current Bellator champion, and Melvin Manhoef tied up for Bellator 131 against Joe Schilling, there aren’t many options for Grove. A fight against Tamdan McCrory who viciously knocked out Brennan Ward at Bellator 123 is a good option, and provides Grove a tougher challenge on the ground as a BJJ purple belt.