Bellator’s Welterweight Tournament features two local champions

The interest in the Mixed Martial Arts and going to see these true warriors fight has become a must see event. For all sorts of reasons, insiders claim the Grand Canyon University Arena is an ideal venue for the Mixed Martial Arts. Here we see MMA fans lining up to enter. The 135,000-square-foot sports and entertainment facility seats 5,000. With only 42 steps from event level to the concourse level, you can be sure that every seat in the house is a good one.

The interest in MMA and watching these warriors do battle has become as popular as watching a Super Bowl. (photo, bottom right) Grand Canyon University Arena is an ideal venue. Here we see MMA fans lining up. The 135,000-square-foot sports and entertainment facility seats 5,000. With only 42 steps from event level to the concourse level, you can be sure every seat in the house is a good one

The long awaited Bellator MMA Welterweight Tournament Final between Ben Saunders and Douglas Lima will take place Friday, September 20, 2013, at Phoenix’s Grand Canyon University Arena. That same evening Bellator Fighting Championships will include the opening rounds of their new Welterweight Tournament in which San Diego will have two dogs in the fight, Herman Terrado and War Machine. Both are currently trainers at the Und1sputed Gym in Downtown San Diego. The event is to be broadcast live starting at 6 p.m. PST on Spike, as well as in the Spanish language on mun2.

Why should we care? San Diegans will have two of our local brethren featured in this prestigious tournament. War Machine (13-4, 8 KOs, 5 submissions) and Herman Terrado (11-2, 7 KOs, 4 submissions) are two of the best Mixed Martial Artists in the world. Both gentlemen are revered locally. Now they have an opportunity to be lionized on the world stage.   

Since injuries have forced Mark Scanlon and Matt Riddle out of Bellator’s Season 9 Welterweight Tournament, they were replaced by Rick Hawn and Ron Keslar.

Hawn moves back to welterweight after an impressive run at lightweight that saw the former Olympian win the Season 6 Lightweight Tournament and fight for the Bellator Lightweight Title against Michael Chandler in January. After suffering defeat at the hands of Chandler, Hawn battled long time veteran Karo Parisyan in April and collected another finish with a devastating knockout victory. With a 15-2 record and a Bellator Tournament run already under his belt, Hawn knows he’ll have a target on his back. He’ll now face Terrado, while Vaughn Anderson is set to face War Machine.

Keslar joins Bellator riding a four fight win streak. A standout at the famed American Kickboxing Academy, Keslar will have his hands full when he goes up against Brazilian submission ace Sergio Junior.

After all is said and done, this is still an incredibly deep field of talent, and Friday will be the beginning of this great elimination tournament.

MAIN CARD

Bellator Welterweight Tournament Final: Douglas Lima (24-5) vs. Ben Saunders (16-5)

Bellator Welterweight Opening Round: War Machine (13-4) vs. Vaughn Anderson (16-1-1)

Bellator Welterweight Opening Round: Rick Hawn (15-2) vs. Herman Terrado (11-2)

Bellator Welterweight Opening Round: Brent Weedman (21-8-1) vs. Justin Baesman (14-3)

Bellator Welterweight Opening Round: Ron Keslar (10-3) vs. Sergio Junior (29-11)

PRELIMINARY CARD

Bantamweight Tournament Semifinal: Travis Marx (20-4) vs. Brandon Bender (11-0)

Featherweight Feature Fight: Bubba Jenkins (4-0) vs. LaRue Burley (2-0)

Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Beau Tribolet (7-2) vs. Liam McGeary (4-0)

Heavyweight Feature Fight: Mighty Mo (3-2) vs. Dan Charles (6-0)

Welterweight Feature Fight: Johnny Buck (12-8) vs. Adam McDonough (8-0)

Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Joe Yager (5-2) vs. Clifford Starks (8-2)

Lightweight Feature Fight: Efrain Escudero (19-7) vs. Zack Surdyka (5-1)

Though you might think it's a bit eccentric, a few years back Jonathan Koppenhaver, a black belt in Brazillian Jiu Jitsu, changed his name to War Machine. As a mixed martial artist he has excelled in both the UFC and Bellator Fighting Championships. The one intangible that has aided War Machine through his most difficult times has been his unbreakable bond with his chums at the two Undisputed Gyms, one in North Park, the other in Downtown San Diego. That is one tight group of friends. 

Though you might think it was a bit eccentric, a few years back Jonathan Koppenhaver, a black belt in Brazillian Jiu Jitsu, legally changed his name to War Machine. As a mixed martial artist he then excelled in both the UFC and Bellator Fighting Championships. The one intangible that has aided him throughout his most difficult times has been his unbreakable bond with his chums at the two Undisputed Gyms, one in North Park, the other in Downtown San Diego. It is and will remain a tight group of good buddies.

The 23 year-old Herman Terrado gives much credit to his coaches Enester Flores, boxing, Barret Yoshida, MMA & Jiu Jitsu, and Juan Herrera, strength & conditioning, plus his sparring partners War Machine, Ed Radcliffe, Toby Amata, Nic Barnes and Ben Khoshaba. Photos: Jim Wyatt

The 23-year-old Herman Terrado gives much credit to his coaches Nester Flores, boxing, Barret Yoshida, MMA & Jiu Jitsu, and Juan Herrera, strength & conditioning, plus his sparring partners War Machine, Ed Radcliffe, Toby Amata, Nic Barnes (top photo, right) and Ben Khoshaba. Photos: Jim Wyatt

Like a soldier, Terrado has now been in training for six solid years. His high level of confidence comes from the belief in his regimented diet, training and coaching. Knowing full well that if he continues with the program he’s on, he has to succeed. 

Like a soldier, Terrado, shown here with his striking coach, Nester Flores, has been training for over six years. His high level of confidence comes from the belief in his coaches, regimented diet, and nonstop training. He knows full well that if he continues with the program he’s on, success will follow.

His only real handicap appears to be his muscle size which holds him back from being quicker and using his legs as weapons. The high kicks and knees to the head used in Muay Thai are not part of his arsenal. When you look at the talent in this tournament, San Diego now has two, realistic finalists, whose courage is undeniable and whose laudable warrior instincts just might make them the next Bellator champion.

What are the characteristics/qualifications needed to become a champion? 1) Your stamina has to be better than your opponent’s to win by attrition. The strategy of imposing your weight on your opponent, leaning on him or having him fight while back-peddling is paramount. 2) Versatility has become so important. Since this sport has evolved so quickly, you can forget the notion that one Royce Gracie Armbar or one Junior Dos Santos punch in the face is going to get you the title. Future champions will need to be: not only great boxers, but great wrestlers, great kickboxers, and great Martial Artists. 3) Getting off to a quick start is important. The toughest obstacle for a fighter to overcome is a slow start and an early injury. The fighter who inflicts the first wound is likely to win every time.

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About the Author

Jim Wyatt, a 1970 graduate of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, has written weekly sports features for several Military newspapers, WCKMuayThai.com, SportofBoxing.com and Examiner.com as their San Diego Boxing Examiner. He was one of the four "Wise Guys" who predicted winning football selections versus the Vegas spreads. Some of the people he enjoyed meeting: Earvin "Magic" Johnson, WWF Wrestler Lita, LaDainian Tomlinson, Nate Kaeding and Darren Bennett of the Chargers, Tony Gwynn and Jake Peavy of the Padres, soccer stars Shannon MacMillan and Julie Foudy, Mixed Martial Artists Cris Cyborg, Junior Dos Santos, the Nogueira brothers plus the many great people involved in boxing and Muaythai.