Bellator 59 Preview

November 23, 2011

All good things must come to an end. While Bellator Fighting Championships is just getting started, its 5th season wraps up this Saturday on the heels of one of the best fights in the promotion's early history. With two tournament championships on the line and one of the most explosive feature match ups of the season, Bellator 59 has all the makings to finish the season in style from Atlantic City, N.J. on Nov. 26 at 9/8c on MTV2 and Epix.

In the heavyweight finals, Eric Prindle and Thiago Santos meet coming off of two lightning-fast finishes. When these two collide Saturday it's not rhetorical to say don't blink; it's friendly advice. Their semi-final fights lasted a combined 78 seconds. After winning a wild three-round decision in the quarterfinals, Prindle scored the biggest win of his career in the semis. The former Army boxing champion landed a picture-perfect counter left hook for the knockout win 40 seconds into the fight. It was Prindle's third first-round KO of his career. He meets a big Brazilian in the finals. In just two fights out of his native Brazil, Santos continues to impress. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist has certainly lived up to his moniker "Big Monster" in his early Bellator career. He has spent a mere three minutes in the cage, scoring two first-round submissions. In his last fight against previous tournament finalist Neil Grove, however, Santos revealed an improved striking game. He dropped Grove with a crisp right hand before slapping on a fight-ending choke 38 seconds in. The winner of Prindle vs. Santos gets $100,000 and a title shot against champion Cole Konrad.

The bantamweight tournament also concludes Saturday, as two talented prospects meet. Though separated by almost two decades in age, Eduardo Dantas and Alexis Vila are both relatively new to mixed martial arts. In four years as a professional, Dantas has compiled a 12-2 record. The 22-year-old Nova UniĆ£o product possesses a strong grappling game but has taken a liking to striking, as evidenced by his flying knee knockout in the quarterfinals and his back and forth three-rounder in the semis. Vila entered Bellator under the radar but wasted little time in getting his name into the headlines. In what may end up as the most vicious knockout of the season, the 40-year-old Olympic Bronze Medalist landed a picture-perfect left hand and knocked out featherweight champ Joe Warren in 64 seconds. Vila hasn't looked back since, and edged out Marcos Galvao in the semis with his world-class wrestling and aggressive striking to remain undefeated. With a life-changing purse and a title shot against champion Zach Makovsky awaiting the winner, expect fireworks from the start.

Also on the card is an explosive battle of lightweights, as Patricky "Pitbull" Freire meets Kurt Pellegrino. Pitbull, a former tournament finalist, enters the cage for the first time since dropping a decision to current lightweight champ Michael Chandler in May. The dangerous Brazilian is looking to get back to his winning ways. His Bellator victories have been nothing short of spectacular, as he holds two highlight-reel knockouts, including a knockout of the year nominee against Toby Imada. After spending most of his career in the UFC, Pellegrino had a short-lived retirement last March. Despite spending months on the sideline, his competitive fire never burned out and the New Jersey native signed with Bellator. Making his debut practically in his backyard, Pellegrino is poised to make an immediate impact. Rounding out the main card is former TUF finalist Phillipe Nover, who faces Polish prospect Marcin Held in the lightweight division.

Before the main card airs, brings you the prelims live. Dangerous Frenchman Karl Amoussou returns to the Bellator cage to battle the once-beaten Jesus Martinez in a catchweight attraction. Also, locals Brylan Van Artsdalen and Scott Heckman clash in a featherweight showdown.

Catch the prelims Saturday, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT