Dedicated viewers will recall that the series premiere of “Fight Master: Bellator MMA” saw Tim Welch choose Greg Jackson as his coach, while Eric Scallan selected former Bellator featherweight king Joe Warren to become his mentor.
Additionally, Nick Barnes and Chris Lozano decided on Frank Shamrock’s team, while A.J. Matthews joined up with Randy Couture. As a reminder, the winner of this 32-man welterweight tournament will receive $100,000 and a spot in an upcoming Bellator welterweight tournament.
The qualifying round this week rolls forward with Mike Dubois and Rob Mills. A repo man by trade, Dubois explains that he grew up in the woods, with no martial arts training save for what he learned in the streets and the fields.
“They call me ‘Zombie Mike’ because nothing stops a zombie,” Dubois says. “When I’m in the cage, unless you remove my head or destroy my brain, there is really no stopping me.”
Mills, by contrast, is a law enforcement officer from the United Kingdom who believes he can knock out “any man that God ever made.” Both of these guys know how to say cool stuff before a fight; it’s actually kind of sad that one of them has to go.
Mills tries a guillotine early but can’t find the squeeze. Dubois pops his head out and pounds away from half-guard, catching the Brit in a guillotine of his own as he tries to stand. “Zombie Mike” cranks the choke and forces the tap. “Yahtzee!” Dubois screams after being declared the winner, clearly earning himself thousands of fans in the process.
After Shamrock and Jackson try to undercut each other in an effort to snag Dubois, the Georgian decides to carry the Shamrock banner. Three of Shamrock’s four fighter vacancies have now been filled, while the other coaches have lured in just one contestant each.
A 24-fight pro, Tom Gallicchio will now do battle with Eric Bradley, a former Penn State wrestling standout who was convicted on felony burglary charges more than five years ago with teammate Pat Cummins. Bradley walks through his opponent, dominating the fight with 10 minutes of superior wrestling. After getting his hand raised, the two-time Big Ten champion heads to Jackson’s MMA.
Brett Nakamura and Evan Cutts are up next. After looking sharp during the bout’s opening seconds, Nakamura throws an ill-advised spinning back kick. Cutts sidesteps the technique and immediately takes the Hawaiian’s back, sinking in a fight-ending rear-naked choke.
Shamrock is wary of Cutts’ striking technique and tries to steer him toward Jackson’s camp. Instead, the self-proclaimed nerd selects Warren to be his coach, much to the delight of “The Baddest Man on the Planet.”
Cole Williams and Joe Williams are up next. Serving as special guest referee for the contest will be Cadillac Williams, while John “Hot Rod” Williams joins the imaginary commentary team in the booth.
Joe is relentless with his single-leg takedown attempts, but Cole fights him off skillfully through two rounds while landing some solid punches in the second frame. The cageside judges call the bout a draw after 10 minutes, and Cole quickly takes control of the deciding frame by dropping Joe with a hard right hand. Joe responds with a double-leg takedown, but Cole escapes to his feet and is awarded a unanimous decision for his efforts. He then decides to join Xtreme Couture, despite Shamrock’s insistence that he choose Jackson’s MMA.
Military man Jason Norwood will now face Jacob Ortiz, whom Bellator fans might remember as a knockout victim of Douglas Lima. Prior to the start of the bout, Shamrock marvels at Norwood’s “magnificent” chest. Though Ortiz bounces back from a tough first frame to make the second stanza competitive, he nevertheless falls in a unanimous decision. Warren fights hard for the muscular welterweight, and the tactic works. Norwood is now the third member of the Rino Sport squad.
Rounding out tonight’s qualifying matchups is a battle of training partners, as Cristiano Souza faces Steve Montgomery. Souza steps inside of his lanky opponents jab and wobbles him with a counter hook before dropping him to his knees with a straight right hand. Montgomery valiantly attempts to hang onto a single-leg, but this fight is over quickly after Souza drops some ground-and-pound. Following some tough deliberation, Souza elects to join Xtreme Couture.
Next week, the elimination round comes to a close with five more fights.