Posts Tagged ‘Bellator 66’
Reacting when face-to-face with adversity, Andreas Spang’s only intention is overcoming obstacles in his way.
Originally moving to Las Vegas from Sweden to pursue a career as a fighter, Spang (Twitter: @AndreasSpang) has since found his place in the world of mixed martial arts. Turning pro in 2008, the Swede has fought for promotions such as Canada’s Maximum Fighting Championship, Strikeforce and most recently, on a week’s notice, Bellator.
Advancing to the finals of Bellator’s Season Six middleweight tournament to face Maiquel Falcoa, Spang beat the five-to-one odds by knocking out Brian Rogers at Bellator 66. Knowing that he was there to win, Spang never saw the victory as an upset.
“I’m feeling great,” Spang said to Mike Fester, Amy Barton and Hector Castro of MMA Beatdown on the MMA Diehards Radio Network. “To me, it wasn’t an upset because I was there to win. I know that I took the fight on short notice and nobody gave me any chance, but I was there to win and I was focused on the goal the whole time. He did put me through some rough times, but my goal was to win the whole time, and I did.”
While having one week to prepare for a bout is not ideal, Spang is still a student of the sport and his constant desire to learn helps keep the middleweight in shape. Traditionally, fighters may have up to eight weeks for a training camp, but with the unique format of Bellator’s tournaments, only half of the time is allotted.
Not having any time to relax, Spang spent his time training with Skipper Kelp at Fight Capital, “One Kick” Nick Blomgren at One Kick Gym and Sergio Penha – all of whom are situated in Las Vegas.
“Lucky I had been training and sparring because I knew that I was on some peoples’ waiting list,” Spang
admitted. “It was just a matter of time before I was going to get a fight, but I didn’t expect it in one week. I was focused and mentally strong and I did the best with my opportunity.”
“I don’t really have time to relax too much because I’m fighting in the final again on May 18, and that’s four weeks away,” Spang continued. “I have all my people I need here in Vegas, so I’m just going to turn it up more and be ready for May 18. The great thing with Vegas, where ever you go you have someone to train with.”
Following Spang’s victory over Rogers, he was faced with his opponent in the final and a scuffle erupted between the two. Having someone step up into his face for the second time in so few days, Spang’s instant reaction was to push him away. The shove may have cost the “Sweet Swede” 20-percent of his winnings, but he’s still guaranteed his spot in the finals.
“After the fight, I was so high from my victory and still happy,” said Spang. “I didn’t know that we were supposed to face off and I didn’t know that Falcao was in the cage. They said, ‘here is your opponent,’ and there was a guy with a mean look walking straight in my face. With my emotions already high from the beginning, I didn’t really know what was going on, so I reacted and pushed him off.”
“I do apologize for any harm that I did to anybody,” Spang clarified. “I personally apologize to both Brian and Falcoa. I didn’t mean to blow up like this and I have seen fighters get in the face of each other before, but I just don’t like people in my face.”
An apology wasn’t enough, and the Ohio State Athletic Commission stepped in after the bout to give the fighter an ultimatum.
“First they wanted to suspend me,” admitted Spang. “Then they said you can choose whether we fine you 20-percent or suspend you six months. If I take the six months then I can’t fight in the finals and if I take the fine, I can still fight.”
Now that the issue with the commission is behind him, Spang has set his sights on concentrating for the fight ahead. What sets Spang apart from the rest is that he doesn’t concentrate on the attributes his opponent brings to the cage, only on what he has to do for victory.
Once his appetite for the tournament finals has been satisfied, the “Sweet Swede” has another craving to take care of.
“What I like to do on my free time is sit around, watch movies and eat ice cream,” Spang confessed. “I will take my well-deserved vacation after May 18.”
Bellator 66 took place Friday at the I-X Canter in Cleveland, Ohio, and the main card featured the Bellator season 6 middleweight and lightweight semifinals, as well as a long awaited lightweight rematch.
In the main event Eddie Alvarez avenged a loss to Shinya Aoki via first round TKO.
Andreas Spang knocked out Brian Rogers in a spectacular contest, Maiquel Falcao defeated Vyacheslav Vasilevsky, Rick Hawn finished Lloyd Woodard, and Brent Weedman got the judges’ nod over Thiago Michel.
Alvarez lost to Aoki at Dynamite 2008, but he exacted revenge at Bellator 66.
Alvarez was patient in the early going of the match. Aoki dove for a takedown, but was nowhere near close to accomplishing one. Following a familiarizing process from each fighter, Alvarez dropped Aoki and wasted no time jumping on the Japanese mixed martial artist. Alvarez riffled off punch after punch on Aoki’s head until the referee intervened and brought the bout to a halt.
Rogers immediately had Spang back peddling when the bout started by attacking with punches, but slipped when he attempted a head kick. Spang pounced on Rogers and took his back. Rogers stood up, but Spang stayed on his opponent’s back trying for a rear-naked choke. Rogers eventually dumped Spang on his head and attacked with vicious punches and two flying-knee attempts. The two combatants made their way to the mat in a scramble and Rogers tried for a rear-naked choke of his own.
In Round 2 Rogers was getting the better of Spang. He connected with a left hook on Spang’s jaw that had the Swede dazed. Rogers unleashed a flurry if shots on Spang’s head and body, but when he laid off, “Sweet Swede” fired back with a punch. Rogers collapsed to the canvas and Spang dropped one last punch on his adversary to finish the bout.
Following the win Falcao, Spang’s next opponent, came in the cage for a stare down. Spang then shoved Falcao, which initiated a tussle between the two Bellator Season 6 middleweight finalists. Bellator color commentator Jimmy Smith had to hold back the Falcao as Spang was escorted out of the cage.
Falcao got the victory against Vasilevsky, had to work for it.
Falcao came out of his corner throwing a wild hook that missed, but began striking with his well-known leg kicks shortly thereafter. Vasilevsky secured a takedown, but Falcao threw his legs up and controlled his opponent from the bottom. Once the two mixed martial artists were back to their feet, Vasilevsky instantly took Falcao down again. Falcao managed to get back to his feet, but was on his back not too long after. Though, Vasilevsky accomplished three takedowns in the round, he didn’t do any damage to the Brazilian.
Falcao came out in the second round appearing to be tentative and worried about getting taken down. They exchanged a few punches, but Falcao was fighting defensively. Falcao was taken down eventually and when he got back to his feet, Vasilevsky applied a standing guillotine-choke. Falcao threw a few short uppercuts and secured a takedown. As he lay in Vasilevsky’s guard, Falcao began dropping fists on his opponent’s face until the frame ended.
Both athletes came out in Round 3 fighting with a sense of urgency. Falcao hit Vasilevsky with a right hand that clearly rattled “Slava.” They clinched and Falcao landed some knees to the body of Vasilevsky. Falcao was gaining confidence with his striking and began picking Vasilevsky apart with punches and kicks. Vasilevsky did get a takedown, but Falcao bucked and reversed into mount position. Falcao slammed hammer fists on Vasilevsky’s chin, but “Slava” got back to his feet. Falcao held Vasilevsky in the clinch and landed two knees, but Vasilevsky got a takedown at the end of the round.
Falcao won a decision and will go on to compete in the Bellator Season 6 middleweight finals.
Hawn made sure this match did not go to the judges’ scorecards.
Shortly after the bout commenced, Woodard had his hands down, taunting Hawn, but when the two fighters locked up the judo Olympian tripped “Cupcake” to the ground. Woodard got back to his feet and they clinches against the cage while Hawn landed knees to his opponent’s thighs. They separated and traded blows until the round ended.
Hawn came out in the second round and knocked out Woodard with one punch. The referee jumped in and stopped the bout.
Hawn advanced to the Bellator Season 6 lightweight finals.
To kick the main card off Weedman and Michel put on an entertaining bout.
Weedman took control of the cage immediately; landing punches and kicks until he eventually took Michel down. Weedman slammed knees into the side of Michel and attempted a d’arce-choke, but the submission was defended and the fight returned to standing. Michel planted a few leg kicks on Weedman, and then the two combatants clinched up. Weedman secured a takedown near the end of the round.
Michel came out as the aggressor in Round 2, but the tables turned quickly. Weedman got the contest to the canvas and punished Michel with knees to the body. After grappling on the ground for a while, Michel managed to get on top of Weedman and batter him with punches. However, Weedman reversed the position and beat on Michel until the round ended.
Round 3 had Weedman coming out appearing to look like the dominant fighter, but he fell when attempting a push-kick. Michel swarmed on Weedman , but the fighters returned to their feet quickly. Weedman scored a takedown and landing some significant blows. Michel got back to his feet and hit Weedman in the stomach with a spinning back kick, followed by a head kick and a combination of punches. Near the end of the round Weedman tried for a takedown and a leg-lock as the horn sounded.
Weedman will meet Hawn in the Bellator Season 6 lightweight finale.