In addition to Saturday Night's UFC 180 show, Bellator was in the spotlight with their big Bellator 131 event airing live on Spike TV. Headlined by UFC Hall of Famers Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar, the company started it's step in a direction much different than their tournament-based format of the last five years. Increased production values, a new entrance ramp, and an emphasis on making interesting fights were all involved.
Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion (and part-time TNA talent) Tito Ortiz took a split decision win over Stephan Bonnar. The two showed their age, and were noticeably slow for the duration of the three rounds. Both were able to land solid punches on the feet, but ultimately Ortiz's wrestling proved to be too much for Bonnar to overcome.
The bad blood continued after the fight as Ortiz stood behind Bonnar and flipped him off. With Bellator's limited talent pool at light heavyweight, Ortiz is very likely to get a title shot against the winner of Emanuel Newton/Liam McGeary. Rampage Jackson was previously in the running, but refused to fight Newton, as the two trained together.
Will Brooks retained his Bellator Lightweight title with a big fourth round TKO of former champion Michael Chandler. After Brooks got the lead on the scorecard, Chandler attempted a takedown but slammed his own head on the mat. When the two got to their feet, Brooks connected with a huge punch that sent Chandler loopy and set up one of the strangest finishes in MMA history.
Chandler looked like he waved the fight off, or was asking for some sort of break. Unfortunately for Chandler, that's not how the sport works. Brooks pounced on his foe, who abandoned all defense and turned away from the fight. Referee Jason Herzog stopped the action (an A+ stoppage) and declared Brooks the winner. This makes three straight losses for Chandler, all in title fights.
TNA Wrestling talent King Mo was also on the card, and was dominant in his TKO victory over late replacement Joe Vedepo. The much smaller Vedepo made the jump from middleweight to light heavyweight in order to take the opportunity, and was met by the overwhelming offense of Mo. After a round and a half of being put on the mat and pounded, Vedepo made it to his feet and caught two huge punches that finally spelled the end. Mo followed up with ground and pound to earn his third win of the year, and sixth in two years.
In addition to those fights, former WCW Champion Bill Goldberg was at the event, as well as UFC welterweight Josh Koscheck, Don Frye, Cung Le and Simon Inoki. The company made a huge leap under the new Scott Coker regime, and looks to be the "spectacle" answer to UFC's "sport."
You can check out our full results here.