FIGHT! Facts & Rankings: Bellator XVII

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(Alvarez finishes Neer. Courtesy of Bellator.)

According to Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, Pat Curran’s upset win last night over tournament favor Roger Huerta represented “proof of concept,” while Eddie Alvarez’s easy finish of UFC vet Josh Neer justified “The Silent Assasin”‘s top-10 ranking, whether or not Alvarez thinks rankings matter. FIGHT! was on the scene for Bellator 17 last night – full results, press conference quotes, and revised rankings are below.

FIGHT! Facts

Cole Konrad def. Pat Bennett by unanimous decision (29-26, 29-28, 30-27).
Eddie Alvarez def. Josh Neer by Technical Submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:08 of Round 2.
Patrick Curran def. Roger Huerta by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) to advance to the finals of Lightweight Tournament.
Toby Imada def. Carey Vanier by Submission (arm bar) at 3:33 of Round 2 to advance to the finals of Lightweight Tournament.
Greg Rebello def. John Doyle by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Justin Torrey def. Lance Everson by TKO (strikes) at 3:55 of Round 2.
Josh LaBerge def. Dan Bonnell by TKO (strikes) at 0:48 of Round 1.
Chuck O’Neil def. Damien Vitale by TKO (doctor stoppage due to cut) at 1:02 of Round 1.

FIGHT! Rankings

At FIGHT! Magazine, we believe there is a need for a completely objective and unbiased ranking system for fighters to replace the myriad of subjective rankings that have become skewed, in many instances, by fighter popularity. In an effort to address this issue FIGHT! Magazine brings you its computerized rankings system which takes into account a fighters strength of opponent, strength of performance, and frequency of activity.

Only four ranked fighters appeared on last night’s card. Top 10 lightweight Eddie Alvarez started and finished the night ranked #9 at 155, while the man he defeated, Josh Neer, stayed put at #56. Roger Huerta fell hard from #22 to #47 with his unanimous decision loss to unranked Pat Curran. Curran advances to the season two lightweight tournament final, which will be his third qualifying fight. It will be interesting to see where he appears in the rankings following his bout with Toby Imada. Last year’s Bellator lightweight runner-up, Imada improved his position slightly, moving from #50 to #48 with the win over unranked Carey Vanier.

Odds and Ends

Bellator XVII marked the first sanctioned, nationally televised MMA event held in Boston since the state’s new athletic commission began regulating the sport in March.

Eddie Alvarez on Josh Neer’s pre-fight hype: “[Josh Neer] kept saying, ‘Oh, I’ll finally fight someone who will stand and fight me and not lay on me.’ And it started to make me think like, maybe he’s gonna take me down and lay on me. I thought maybe he was trying to play head games. But he was seriously content with standing up and fighting and throwing his hands. And any fighter here knows that’s a 50-50 shot, and that’s not an intelligent, it’s not smart to do when you’ve got a guy who’s reckless and willing to throw like that. So I tried to put the numbers in my hands and in my favor.”

Eddie Alvarez on rankings: “I think the rankings are more of a way for my manager to negotiate with Bjorn and get me more money (laughter from audience). That’s all the rankings mean. Everybody’s seen the last couple of weeks. BJ Penn was knocked off by a guy who was ranked number seven, Aoki was knocked off by a guy who was ranked number five. It happens everyday, and any one of us can beat any one else on any given night. So I’m not concerned where I’m ranked. I feel like I could beat any lightweight in the world right now at this time in my career on any given night. So wherever I’m ranked, hopefully, if I ever get out of my contract I’m ranked very high, and then I can re-negotiate for a higher price. (laughter)”

Roger Huerta on losing: “Pat fought a good fight. I’m not sure, I think I started off pretty flat. I don’t know, I just started out slow and he just capitalized on that. I mean, I mean it’s my fault leaving it up to the judges, especially with a new commission out here. Again, my hat just goes off to Pat. Another thing, too, is taking a loss is pretty hard and any fighter out here knows that taking a loss is pretty hard to swallow, and it’s definitely hard for me to swallow. For somebody to say ‘You lose,’ it’s really hard for me to take that.”

Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney on sitting cageside as the possible Alvarez-Huerta vanished: The feeling was proof of concept, brother. The feeling was that the tournament is what it is, and it’s objective, and it’s not a guy in a shiny suit sitting behind a desk making a decision…Tonight, Pat Curran won and Pat Curran is going to move on to fight Toby Imada, and the winner of that fight is going to earn the right to walk away with $100,000 and earn the right to fight [Eddie Alvarez]. And neither me or [Bellator matchmaker] Sam Caplan or anybody else is gonna sit behind a desk and make the decision on how that works.”

Cole Konrad on his performance: “Obviously, I still have a long ways to go with my game. And I believe Pat would say the same about his. And we’re looking to make strides and we’re looking to fight the best dudes out there. I know I am. A lot of things I’ve got to work on, but I’m excited to get in there and work on it. I’d like to test myself against the best guys. That’s how you learn. You can only learn so much in practice.”

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