"Big fight weekend" is quickly becoming an exhausted phrase: lately, all weekends have been fitting the description. (There will be five UFC events this summer; in 1998, there were three in total. So, yes: We're spoiled.)
Live from the Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla., on Friday but held for tape until Saturday is Bellator XII, which will determine both the lightweight and middleweight tournament champions. In the former, Eddie Alvarez takes on Toby Imada; Hector Lombard will contest -- and likely pummel -- Jared Hess for 185-pound honors.
Wins over overseas standouts makes Alvarez the favorite; Imada was getting trounced by Jorge Masvidal prior to securing an inverted standing triangle choke, which may be the greatest piece of footage ever committed to film. (Too much?)
The show, to be broadcast on ESPN Deportes, signals the end of Bellator's first "season" of tournament events.
A second installment of Strikeforce's Challenger Series is slated for broadcast Friday at 11 p.m. ET on Showtime and topped by a middleweight contest between Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos and Joey Villasenor. It'll be fun while it lasts: Santos, though aggressive, tends to lose steam quickly. Dennis Hallman, Jorge Gurgel and Duane Ludwig populate the undercard, an above-average roster for one of these lower-watt shows.