Anyone who knows the norm of a Bellator Fighting Championships card knows what to expect.

Aside from Sean Wheelock and Jimmy Smith on commentary, and Mercedes Terrell and Jade Bryce working the ring cards while occasionally helping us break down a submission or two, fans know they’re getting a generous helping of intriguing fights. Prospects, veterans, journeymen and relative unknowns all come to Bellator because the promotion provides a launching pad for them to prove that they truly do have the potential to become the undisputed best in the world.

Bellator 79, live from Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario, Canada, promised no different from that norm when Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas initially set out to make the first defense of his title against teammate Marcos Galvao. Additionally, fans had their hopes up somewhat, as Paul Daley had made his plans known to fight on the card in what he hoped would prove as his key to a spot in Bellator’s next welterweight tournament. However, concerns about a visa issue forced Daley from the card, while Dantas was forced off the card for medical reasons related to his recent knockout loss at the hands of Tyson Nam. Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney then made the executive decision to save Dantas vs. Galvao for the company’s 2013 debut on Spike TV.

With the bantamweight title tilt and Daley’s fight off the card, fans will witness the first season-seven heavyweight tournament semifinal bout between Richard Hale and Thiago Santos as the headliner, with Mike Richman facing Shahbulat Shamhalaev in the first season-seven featherweight semifinal bout and co-headliner.

Now allow me to address the titular question up front. The MMA world asks if this card remains stacked or if it promises a snoozer from start to finish. This card remains as stacked as it promised to be initially, though some interest probably left when Dantas-Galvao and Daley got scrapped from the event.

Why did that interest have to adjourn, though?

Did Santos’ infamous series of events with Eric Prindle somehow diminish the interest in the “Big Monster” and his fights? Does the MMA world have such a short memory that it totally forgot what Hale showed at light heavyweight when the first light heavyweight tournament occurred? Did Bellator fall under the same plague that applies to the UFC featherweights, thus causing people to zone out from the tantalizing tussle that Richman and Shamhalaev aim to deliver simply because “lighter weights do not draw” in any league?

We must ask these questions, and then we must realize how ridiculous they sound when we already know what every one of these four men can accomplish on fight night. Furthermore, it proves less than compulsory for fans to write off Douglas Lima’s scrap with Jacob Ortiz or Kyle Baker versus Ryan Ford, both of which represent the emerging talent that still exists in Bellator’s welterweight division—a rather underrated incarnation of the sport’s welterweight class.

Also, let us remember the undercard. While most write off undercards by default, Bellator 79’s undercard features a prospect pool of its own, with names like Vitaly Minakov, Magomedrasul Khasbulaev, Ed Carpenter and a handful of other young talent that will not go unnoticed for much longer. Even if no one starts talking about these prospects after Friday night, fans will talk about them more and more as they progress further in their careers.

Time serves a critical role in the growth of prospects and contenders, all of whom will showcase their talents this Friday night, with or without a title fight or a welterweight knockout artist on the bill. Will that make for a disappointing night of fights?

If we ignore the growing talent that will take center stage from the first seconds of the first fight of the night until the dying seconds of the main event, then we all will complain about Bellator 79.

However, if we maintain patience and wait until Daley and Dantas-Galvao land a date for their next fights, and if we enjoy what Rebney’s promotion will give us on Friday night in the process, maybe Bellator 79 will deliver yet another awesome night of MMA action as only Bellator Fighting Championships can do.

Photo: Richard Hale (white trunks), who headlines Bellator 79 opposite Thiago Santos (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.