TXMMA – Texas Mixed Martial Arts

Bellator 121: Pride FC vets return; Banaszak highlights undercard

By TXMMA Staff


Former Pride FC fighters Thompson and Sokoudjou look to resurrect their careers at Bellator 121


bellator-121THACKERVILLE, OK, June 5, 2014 – Fresh off their PPV debut, Bellator FC returns with the first event of their Summer Series this Friday night. Bellator 121: “Prindle vs. Thompson” will emanate from the WinStar World Casino in nearby Thackerville, OK. The show will feature the opening round of Bellator’s light heavyweight tournament. It will also feature several Texans fighting on the preliminary undercard.

The main event features a heavyweight bout between James Thompson and Eric Pridle. Thompson has, in surprising fashion, won 3 in a row before signing stateside. Granted those wins included names like Bobby Lashley, Bob Sapp, and Mariusz Pudzianowski. That won’t instill confidence in the hearts of too many but lucky for “Colossus” he’s not facing the MMA elite in his Bellator debut. Eric Pridle has lost 4 out of his last 5 and is prone to getting finished. Same with Thompson either way it goes so if nothing else, this should be a fan-friendly bout.

Bellator 121 also features the return of another former Pride FC star in Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. Unlike Thompson, Sokodjou has experienced nominal success awhile back. He has beaten top fighters like Ricardo Arona and Aontonio Rogerio Nogueira. Unfortunately for him that was so long ago it might as well have been in another life. He will go into Bellator 121 looking to resurrect that other version of himself and will do so against journeyman Terry Davinney.

As for the rest of the main card, it features 2 additional light heavyweight bouts. Those fights will serve as part of the opening round for this season’s 205 lbs. tournament. Two of those fighters, Carlos Eduardo and Phelipe Lins, are affiliated with the Nova Uniao camp so they’ll surely come in well-prepared as they take on Egidijus Valavicius and Austen Heidlage respectively.


Greenville’s Stephen Banaszak featured on Bellator 121 undercard


1146456_10151790111799293_604983421_n-300x200Texas’ own Stephen Banaszak headlines the Bellator 121 undercard. Once a prime pro prospect as an amateur, Stephen turned pro in March 2014. Since then he’s gone 3-1 with 3 finishes. Next he’ll be facing Treston Thomison, a familiar opponent and Oklahoma hometown favorite. Banaszak has already beaten Thomison by submission in his last fight. Not sure what warranted this rematch but let’s see if it ends the same way once again.

Also representing Texas at Bellator 121 are three other lone star state natives in Bubba McDaniel, Matt Jones, Cody Walker, and Will Florentino.

McDaniel hopes to rebound after most recently going 1-2 in the UFC. He faces Jones who won his last fight after losing 4 straight. With that said Bubba should be the prohibitive favorite. He’s a fighter that prefers submissions though and Matt has yet to tap to anyone so that aspect of the fight should prove interesting.

Meanwhile 3-1 Cody Walker returns to the cage for his own Bellator debut. This follows his second win in a row over Stephen Banaszak at XKO 21. That’s a solid win that should provide some momentum for him. All of his pro fights have ended by submission so he might look to do the same to his opponent Steve Garcia.

As for Will Florentino, the Keller native will look to snap a three fight losing streak when he takes on undefeated Cuban Guillermo Martinez Ayme.

Check out the complete card for Bellator 121 below:


Main Card (Spike TV, 8PM CST)

  • 265 lbs.: Eric Prindle (19-4) vs. James Thompson (8-5)
  • 205 lbs.: Terry Davinney (10-7) vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (14-12)
  • 205 lbs.: Austen Heidlage (7-0) vs. Philipe Lins (8-0) * tournament bout
  • 205 lbs.: Carlos Eduardo (26-10) vs. Egidijus Valavicius (11-3) * tournament bout

Prelims (Spike.com, 6PM CST)

  • 145 lbs.: Stephen Banaszak (3-1) vs. Treston Thomison (7-2)
  • 205 lbs.: Cortez Coleman (10-5) vs. Joe Vedepo (15-8)
  • 205 lbs.: Kelly Anundson (7-2) vs. Rodney Wallace (21-8) * tournament bout
  • 205 lbs.: Jamelle Jones (2-1) vs. Ray Sloan (6-0)
  • 190 lbs.: Bubba McDaniel (21-8) vs. Matt Jones (4-5)
  • 140 lbs.: Steve Garcia (3-0) vs. Cody Walker (3-1)
  • 185 lbs.: Guillermo Martinez Ayme (6-0) vs. William Florentino (4-3)