Two more fights will be contested during the fifth installment of “Fight Master: Bellator MMA,” as Jason Norwood and Ismael Gonzalez of Team Warren square off with Team Couture’s Mike Bronzoulis and Team Shamrock’s Joe Williams.
A former Legacy Fighting Championship welterweight titlist, Bronzoulis says he imagines himself as a Roman gladiator prior to his bouts and is hunting for Norwood’s respect. Coach Randy Couture expresses confidence in his charge, stating that people will be surprised by “The Greek” and his abilities.
A military man, Norwood’s mindset is straightforward: “I fight where I’m told, and I win where I fight.” Coach Joe Warren believes his team will prevail, but admits that it will be a challenge to corner opposite Couture. Warren hopes Norwood will use his superior wrestling to control his foe, while Couture believes Bronzoulis can win by keeping the fight standing.
“Norwood is a physical specimen, but he’s not technically refined. He uses a lot of horsepower, and he’s very straight-ahead,” Couture says. “Protect yourself, but make him work. That’s the key.”
Norwood drives forward soon after the bout starts and initiates a clinch. Bronzoulis grabs an over-under and fights the takedown for nearly two minutes before Norwood finally slams him with a double-leg. Bronzoulis gives up his back in order to stand, and he makes it to his feet before Warren’s competitor can capitalize. Bronzoulis pivots and returns to the over-under clinch, and both men land knees from the neutral position before Norwood briefly takes Couture’s man down. Bronzoulis pops right back to his feet, however, and the frame expires with both men locked in that clinch.
Bronzoulis fires some kicks and punches to start round two, but nothing lands cleanly before Norwood dives in on a double-leg attempt. Norwood hoists him in the air, but Bronzoulis grabs the post pad to alter the slam and lands on his feet. The referee slaps at Bronzoulis’ offending appendage but takes no other action, much to Warren’s dismay. Bronzoulis creates separation but cannot score with strikes before Norwood clinches once again. Couture’s charge again shoves him off and this time lands with a sweet combination, punctuating the flurry with a knee to the face. Norwood tries hard for another takedown, but Bronzoulis fights him off and fires a sustained combination of blows into the exhausted Norwood’s skull and ribs.
The fight is scored a draw after two rounds, meaning that a third period must be contested. Norwood immediately finds himself on the defensive, and “The Greek” floors him with a vicious right hand before sealing the victory with ground-and-pound.
Up next, Gonzalez will look to score Team Warren’s first win against Team Shamrock’s Williams, who was selected as a wild-card entrant after falling to Cole Williams in the elimination round. Gonzalez, a California police officer, says that he selected Williams because of that loss and expects “an easy fight.” Both coaches see this as a straightforward, striker-versus-grappler matchup.
Three seconds into the fight, Williams grabs a single-leg takedown and lands in half-guard. Gonzalez tries to buck his opponent off, but Frank Shamrock’s man passes to side control and lands several hard knees to the ribs. Shamrock loudly reminds Gonzalez that he is losing, which appears to irritate Warren, who hollers at Gonzalez to explode off his back. Gonzalez recovers half-guard but looks to be drowning under the heavy Williams as the round expires.
For some reason, Gonzalez throws a low kick to start round two, which Williams plucks out of the air and uses to take him back down. Shamrock’s fighter passes to mount just 30 seconds into the round, and Warren can only watch and scream as his pupil flounders. With three minutes left, Williams grabs an arm-triangle choke and forces the tap. Warren looks like he wants to throw up.
Next week, Greg Jackson will see two of his fighters take to the cage, as Tim Welch and Joe Riggs face off with Team Shamrock’s Nick Barnes and Team Warren’s Eric Scallan.