On Friday, October 12, and Saturday, October 13, Bellator 207 and 208 took place in Connecticut and Long Island, New York. The semi-finals for the Heavyweight World Grand Prix took place as Ryan Bader defeated Matt Mitrione Friday night and Fedor Eminelinko defeated Chael Sonnen Saturday night setting up the finals for January 26, 2019, at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
On the two undercards, they’re three fighters that Bellator should sign immediately. Lightweight, Dennis Buzukja, who fights out of LAW MMA on Long Island; Alexandra Ballou, a flyweight female fighter with incredible potential, she trains out of Soul Fighters in Connecticut, and Jennifer Dugwen Chieng, a strawweight and former 2016 Olympic boxer, now training out of Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in New York City.
All three fighters have endless potential inside the cage, young and hungry. Each fighter also made their MMA professional debut in their respective weight classes, at Bellator 207 and 208. In addition, all three fighters finished their opponents inside the Bellator cage to capture their first win as a professional. If Bellator doesn’t scoop up these prospects, another promotion will benefit from having their talents.
Dennis “The Great” Buzukja
Dennis “The Great” Buzukja fought Long Island local, Ryan Castro. The LAW MMA (Longo and Weidman) fighter defeated Castro in round one via TKO, at 2:53. Buzukja executed accurate and crisp striking. “The Great” trains among UFC fighters, Aljamain Sterling, Al Iaquinta, and former middleweight champion Chris Weidman to name a few. After his impressive professional debut TKO victory, Buzukja spoke with My MMA News and expressed his interest to be signed for an extended contract. The top lightweight prospect also called out James Gallagher – an opponent that Buzukja believes he matches up well against.
Buzukja (1-0) is scheduled to fight his second professional bout at Ring of Combat 66 this Friday night at the Tropicana in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He’ll be squaring off against Nick Rodrigues (2-1). Watch the entire interview with Dennis Buzukja below.
Jennifer Dugwen Chieng
Jennifer Dugwen Chieng (1-0) fought Jessica Ruiz (0-1) at Bellator 208 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island, New York. Dugwen is a former Olympic boxer in the 2016 Rio Games and has drastically improved her overall game inside the cage as she’s been training at Gregor Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, where she also earned a blue belt promotion the same week as her first-round TKO victory over Ruiz.
Chieng landed some early strikes on Ruiz and pounced on her when she noticed blood in the water. The strawweight Olympian proved shes has the hands inside the cage with her 1:22 TKO in her professional debut. Dugwen Chieng also shined in front of the microphone after her fight. The former stockbroker spoke like a veteran when asked questions by the media. She’s a fighter Bellator can build their strawweight division around. Bellator promotion currently has a women’s flyweight division and a bantamweight division but lacks the lighter division. Expect to see the strawweight develop in the near future.
Watch the entire post-fight interview below.
Alexandra “The Great” Ballou
Alexandra Ballou (1-0) battled her way through adversity against Lisa Blaine (2-2) in the early rounds of their fight to earn a third-round TKO victory. Only having four career fights under her belt (including three amateur fights), Ballou proves to be a tough fighter at the flyweight division. Additional experience inside the cage will help Ballou develop and fulfill her true potential as a mixed martial artist.
Ballou fell behind on the scorecards in round one and two but worked the body of Blaine with knees before scoring a blast double which changed the outcome of the fight. Once on top, the Soul Fighters of Brewster flyweight moved right into full mount and rained down elbows forcing referee Kevin MacDonald to end the fight at 3:22 of round three. Ballou would make a nice addition to the twenty women already on the Bellator Flyweight roster.
Watch her pre-fight interview below:
Kyle Carroll is a Long Island, N.Y. native and avid MMA and amateur wrestling fan. He has been a part of the wrestling community for nearly 20 years. Carroll has six years of experience coaching high school wrestling. His father coached high school wrestling over 35 years, passing on his strong knowledge. Carroll has been reporting MMA news since January 2011. The former wrestler’s coverage includes the 2012 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials, 2013 & 2016 NCAA D1 Wrestling Championship, and numerous MMA events (Bellator MMA, King of the Cage, North American Fighting Championship, and Glory).