Bellator’s 2011 Featherweight tournament got underway on Saturday night with the quarterfinal matchups at Bellator 37. Four fighters have made it to the semifinals, slated for later in the year, and are now one step closer to a Bellator Featherweight title shot in 2012.
The Patricio Freire vs. Georgi Karakhanyan fight was hyped as a closely-matched battle that could have gone either way, but no one told Freire that. After two dominant rounds Freire landed a big left hook that was enough to get the KO victory. He was a -210 favorite at 5Dimes and looked good enough to warrant some respect for the remainder of the tournament.
We knew that Wilson Reis and Zac George would end up fighting on the ground at some point, and after Reis landed a heavy left to George’s chin in the first round that’s where the remainder of this fight played out. Reis quickly got George’s back and locked in a rear-naked-choke until George submitted. Oddsmakers at 5Dimes expected a similar result and had Reis as a -275 favorite.
Eric Larkin got a chance in the 2011 Bellator Featherweight tournament with only three pro fights to his credit, and he was in tough against Kenny Foster. The two fighters exchanged punches and takedowns until Foster locked in a guillotine choke in the first round. Larkin tried his best to escape but to no avail, and ended up tapping out just after the three-minute mark of the first round. Despite his inexperience Larkin came into the fight as a heavy favorite, and the biggest upset payday on the Foster bet was a +425 line at Bodog Sportsbook.
The other upset on the Bellator 37 card was in the Daniel Straus vs. Nazareno Malegarie fight. Malegarie entered the cage as the 5Dimes -135 favorite, but after winning the first round Malegarie could not handle the leg kicks from Straus. The fight went the distance but it was Straus that did most of the damage in the last two rounds, earning the unanimous decision and paying out a +135 upset price at Bodog Sportsbook.