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Fight Master: Bellator MMA Episode 1 Recap

Tim Welch

Fight Master: Bellator MMA launches its first season on Spike TV. The show will follow 32 welterweights as they vie for $100,000 and a shot in an upcoming Bellator tournament. MMAFrenzy will have continuing coverage of the burgeoning and innovative reality show until the show wraps up at the Bellator Season 9 premiere this September.

The show kicks off with introductions of coaches Greg Jackson, Frank Shamrock, Joe Warren, and Randy Couture. The action kicks off with the coaches getting seated and discussing their backgrounds and their strategies to get fighters to pick them. All fights will feature the usual two-round exhibition format with sudden victory round in the event of a draw, no elbows will be allowed in these bouts.

Chip Pollard vs. Tim Welch is the first welterweight pairing. Coaches are giving each other grief before the fight kicks off. Coaches are giving commentary as Welch and Pollard fight, providing an interesting setup. While Pollard’s jab is the story of the fight early, Tim Welch explodes with a vicious left-right combination.Welch now has his choice of coaches.

The show explains that the winning fighters are allowed to pick their coach with four fighters per team. Once a coaches team fills up the fighters must choose one of the remaining coaches.

Luckily for the fighters, Welch is able to ask questions to each coach to gauge where he would fit best and he decides to go with Greg Jackson. The pick works out for Jackson, as he really wanted Welch for the promise he showed.

Eric Scallan vs Chris Curtis is the second bout on tonight’s show. Both fighters start off by giving their background, with Scallan talking about MMA and wrestling allowing him to overcome addiction and Curtis talking about his son and being a nerd.

In the fight, Scallan starts the fight with a cheapshot legkick, rather than touching gloves, and it obviously upset Curtis as he scored a flash knockdown but is unable to finish. Scallan recovered fairly quickly though and used his superior wrestling to control the rest of the fight. The edited footage of the fight focuses on Scallan’s wrestling throughout the bout and he is awarded the decision.

Back with the coaches, Warren, Shamrock, and Jackson are not sold that Scallan is the right fight for them. All citing him being too raw and/or not seeming like a good fit for their personality or style. Ironically, Scallan picks Joe Warren’s Rhino Sports team. Warren laments the fighter’s decision and Shamrock gloats that he was not picked by Scallan.

Brendan Tierney vs. Nick Barnes is the third fight of the evening. Nick seizes control of the fight with a furious combo that catches the coaches’ attnention as he blasts into a double. Barnes fends off a kimura and ankle lock before escaping. Barnes is throwing recklessly and that’s something Tierney takes advantage of as he drops Barnes with a knee in the Thai clinch. Tierney takes his back and locks up an armbar and then lands an inverted triangle as well. After a long struggle, Barnes is able to work out and turn the tables as he then ends up taking Tierney’s back and eventually cinches up a rear-naked choke.

Shamrock loves Barnes’ heart and aggression however he thinks his ground technique is a little raw, but still the coach thinks he is perfect for his camp. All of the coaches seem to like the kid though. Shamrock pushes hard for the fighter and it works out as Barnes joins Shamrock’s team.

Darryl Cobb vs. AJ Matthews is up now. Cobb’s striking advantage is evident in the first round but he also shows some good wrestling as well. Matthews roars back in the second however and he appears to take the round. Cobb seems tired after the first two but starts strong in the third. Matthews then seizes control with a powerful takedown and takes the fight via a unanimous decision victory.

Jackson likes the kid’s heart and technique a lot. Shamrock keeps picking on Couture during the picks and makes a big push to land the fighter. Matthews isn not convinced Frank is up-to-date enough to be the right fit for him. All of the coaches are really pushing for Matthews, and he is really struggling with the choice as he seems to like Jackson and Couture. In the end, Matthews picks Couture.

Josh Quayhagen vs. Bellator vet Chris Lozano is the last bout on tonight’s show. Both fighters talk about their hard pasts and how MMA has been their redemption. Lozano knows that he is more known and believes he has more to offer as a fighter.

Touch of gloves to start the action and Lozano is powering through Quayhagen in the first round. Quayhagen bounces back early in the second but Lozano again seizes control on the ground and is landing some vicious punches – that are making a horrendous sound – as the round ends. Quayhagen’s face shows the damage of the strikes as he looks like he’s been hit with a baseball bat.

In the decision, Shamrock and Warren really want Lozano to pick them. Shamrock still gives Warren grief over his career. Lozano reveals that he has trained with Jackson before and Shamrock decides to push him off to Jackson to try and get Lozano to pick him later. It works, as Lozano picks Team Shamrock. Jackson seems unaffected by the choice, as Lozano was very respectful of his former coach but wanted to try to learn something new.

That’s the last pick of the episode, as more fighters will take to the cage on next week’s episode of Fight Master: Bellator MMA.


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