The transition from wrestler to mixed martial artist isn't an easy one. Once they start getting popped in the face, plenty of grapplers decide the sport isn't for them. Michael Chandler isn't one of those guys. He actually looked like he enjoyed taking a beating so he could dole one out.
The former Missouri wrestler took Patricky "Pitbull" Freire's best on Saturday using his grappling skills to slow the fight and win a unanimous decision, 29-27 on all cards, in the final of Bellator's Season 4 lightweight championship.
Chandler, 25, won $100,000 and gets an automatic title shot against Bellator 155-pound champion Eddie Alvarez.
He's the second straight fighter out of Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas to take home a 100k prize. Jay Hieron won the welterweight tourney last week at Bellator 43. Hieron will face Bellator welterweight champ Ben Askren in the fall. One has to wonder if Chandler's loyalties will be tested.
Chandler, a walk on, was a big success story for the Tigers. He was the Big 12 runner-up in 2008 and 2009, and became just the 16th Tiger to win 100 matches.
Askren and Woodley helped paved the way for Chandler in MMA. When he saw how Woodley's MMA career was developing, Chandler decided to jump in the cage with little training. After an easy win in his debut back Aug. of 2009, Chandler (8-0) began training full-time.
The card also featured two nasty standup wars. Alexander Shlemenko brutalized Brett Cooper in taking a unanimous decision.� Bellator middleweight champ Hector Lombard scores an awesome KO with a big right on the chin of Falaniko Vitale.