We are finally hitting the end of Bellator on MTV2 this year. Come January, the promotion will be making a jump to the big time with its fights airing on Spike TV. It couldn’t be a better move for the fighters and for arguably the second biggest promotion in North America.

While Bellator winds down its final run on its current home network, the promotion has decided to backload its cards entering 2013’s channel switch with possibly the biggest cards of season seven.

The main card might only have three fights, but they are three fights consisting of champions—both current and past—and a tournament final.

The tournament final between Rad Martinez and Shahbulat Shamalaev could bring out the beasts in both fighters as they fight for that title shot. Martinez already had a great opening fight against Nazareno Malegarie, then impressed against Wagnney Fabiano. And both of Shamalaev’s tournament fights have been first-round knockout finishes.

Then we have the other two fights that round out the main card, consisting of women’s champion Zoila Gurgel, taking on Jessica Eye, in her second fight this season and Zach Makovsky, who always brings it to his fights, tangling with Anthony Leone.

Bellator was smart to backload these last two cards. Bringing out the big guns before leaving MTV2 is the perfect way to bring in an audience for Spike TV.

Create the buzz now and draw it over with the switch. Then, when the promotion opens in 2013 on Spike, it will almost assuredly begin with a huge kickoff card building on the momentum of these last two season-seven events.

If Bellator wants to succeed in counter-programming with the UFC, it needs to generate a huge buzz, especially since the UFC airs on easy-to-get channels like FX and Fox. On top of this momentum, the promotion will get all the viewers who still tune in to watch the UFC reruns Spike has been airing this year. It’s a pretty good situation to walk into for Bellator here.

Bellator didn’t have the greatest first half of the season, but it is definitely finishing strong with the added bouts featuring Gurgel and what now will be a super-heated scrap between Felice Herrig and Michele Gutierrez. There’s nothing like a little hate to spice up a women’s battle, or any battle for that matter. That fight alone should be able to bring in eyeballs for the prelims—I know it has me wanting to watch.

The season ends with Bellator 84 and while it isn’t fully filled yet, that card will bring the ending of two tournaments with the lightweights and heavyweights vying for their title shots.

Bellator is in a very good position here heading over to Spike. With the eyeballs already on Spike for MMA added to the great cards that Bellator has put in place to close out its MTV2 era, the promotion is definitely paving a great road into 2013. Bellator won’t surpass the UFC by any means on Spike, but the organization is definitely going to steal more eyes from the UFC than any previous promotion thanks to its tournament format and the fact that its first card of 2013 will definitely be one loaded card.

Photo: Marlon Sandro (R) (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.