Bellator will have some new bells and whistles in the picture as the organization enters 2013 for its fifth year of promoting MMA fights. These new improvements include a new television network, a new fight day and a brand new logo. One thing that isn’t changing for the new year is the number of weight classes that the organization will have.
Currently, Bellator features eight weight classes spanning from heavyweight all the way down to bantamweight along with a female division. One of their former champions Zach Makovsky, has had some trouble losing his last two fights including one for the bantamweight championship. Despite having success in the promotion, it appears as though Makovsky is just too small to compete in the 135 division any more.
Since he was a former champion and still has a lot left in the tank at just 30 years old, I believe Makovsky’s future is at 125 pounds. Bellator is trying to compete with the giant that is the UFC, so they are not in a position to let good talent go away of their own accord. One way to keep Makovsky and allow him to be more successful, is to start a flyweight division around him.
The UFC started its own Flyweight division this year and a lot of their top talent came from the bantamweight ranks. In less than a year, the UFC 125 weight class has arguably become the promotions most exciting division with stars like Demetrious Johnson, Joseph Benavidez and Jon Dodson.
Bellator has had three tournaments at 135 and I would be willing to bet that some of those fighters like Makovsky, could move down to 125. With a potential pool of former 135 fighters, Bellator wouldn’t have to look very hard to fill other spots in their 8-man tournament format. Even though the UFC has a lot of the top fighters in the division, there are still quality flyweights out there not on the UFC roster.
Some of the top flyweights in the world fought in Tachi Palace Fights, which recently announced it would be ending its operations after being in the MMA business for over a decade. Those fighters will be looking for a new home which Bellator can provide for them.
The only thing stopping Bellator from incorporating a flyweight tournament is Bellator itself. Bellator has a jam packed season eight planned with a scheduled six title title fights, and five tournaments to run over 12 events. That would make their next slate of tournaments to run sometime in the summer at the earliest. Timing aside, is Bellator willing to add another division to the fold?
With a potential second women’s tournament on the horizon, adding another male weight class might be too much for Bellator to handle. Trying to run all those tournaments while still keeping top talent fresh in-between tournament appearances may just keep the promotion from having flyweights, no matter how thrilling they are.
Personally, I would cut the heavyweight division entirely in favor of the flyweights entering the mix. I do not subscribe to the theory that combat sports live and die with the big boys. Exciting fights are what makes a combat sports organization flourish and no weight class can provide the type of the action like the 125 division.
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