Saturday February 18 San Jose California, all eyes will be on “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko as he makes his return to state side MMA competition. Fedor has not competed in the United States since he suffered his third straight loss at the hands of Dan Henderson in 2011 at a Strikeforce event. Once the unquestioned king of MMA, many have wondered, are Fedor’s dominate days behind him? His opponent Matt Mitrione is a bit of a wild card. Mitrione is a former NFL player and UFC journeymen that never quite lived up to his expectations. Meathead was a featured fighter on “The Ultimate Fighter:” Heavyweights, the same season that the late Kimbo Slice appeared on.
The co-main event of the evening has tremendous lightweight title implications. Patricky Pitbull squares off against home town favorite Josh Thompson. Pitbull is looking to rebound from a devastating knock out loss at the hands of current lightweight champ “Iron” Michael Chandler. Thompson is looking to win his third straight contest inside the Bellator cage and set himself up with a title shot later in the year.
Don’t forget the heavyweights. Oli Thompson and Cheick Kongo go head to head in what is sure to be a slugfest. Oli is a middle tier UK fighter that has by far his biggest test in Kongo on Saturday night. Kongo at times looks fantastic and other times your left scratching your head. All indications are that Kongo has had a good camp so this fight should be entertaining. Bellator 172 has something for everyone. A very intriguing women’s flyweight fight between newcomer Brooke Mayo and Veta Arteaga is slated to be the second fight on the main card. The women bring it, every time they step into the Bellator cage there are fireworks.
Kicking off the main card is Josh Koscheck making his long awaited Bellator debut against Mauricio Alonso. It’s been almost two years since Koscheck signed a multi-year deal with the Viacom owned company, and finally after some setbacks we get to see if Koscheck is still relevant in the welterweight division. That being said, Alonso is a much bigger fighter than Kos. At 6’2 Alonso is one of the largest fighters in the welterweight division, and his size could pose a big problem for Kos who relies heavily on his wrestling. There is a total of twelve fights on the prelims before the main card on Spike gets going. I’m very excited to see Anatoly Tokov vs Francisco France, I must say I am a bit surprised this fight did not make the main card. The main card begins at 8pm (cst) live and free on Spike TV, and of course the prelims start the evening of fights off at 5pm (cst).-Mike Straus