Kirwan Gets Free Dice Roll Against Nazare at Bellator 54
This Saturday at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, top Mid-Atlantic prospect Jacob Kirwan will have his first shot at national television on the main card of Bellator 54 against undefeated Brazilian fighter turned Bombsquad exponent Renee Nazare.
The 8-3 Kirwan is coming off of a loss, even though it was to one of the greatest submission artists the region has ever produced, and is inflating himself up from featherweight to fight Nazare at 155. Nazare has appeared on Bellator main cards before and is a darling of the organization for his fast paced fights and exciting finishes. All these factors together clearly spell out that Kirwan is being set up for a neat kill against a fighter who is all but guaranteed a spot in Bellator's next 155 pound tourney.
The one thing that any tune-up opponent has going for him is that he has nothing to lose.
On paper, Kirwan has little to offer Nazare. He is smaller, has less experience in a national promotion, is decidedly outclassed in outside striking, and has no clear advantages over the Brazilian to speak of. What Kirwan does have is a great scramble and an ability to work submissions from any position: a combination of skills equivalent to a knockout punch.
Kirwan is not significantly more skilled than Nazare on the floor, but his particular submission style makes him a finishing threat for as long as he's still breathing. Even if Nazare wins this bout four times out of five, should he let his guard down for even a moment, Kirwan is capable of flipping the script.
Bellator has a rich history of rewarding fighters that spoil its plans. Perhaps the most dramatic story of an upset queen was that of Bellator women's 115 pound champion Zoila Gurgel. After raining on Rosi Sexton's coming out party with a brutal knockout, Gurgel went on to underdog victories in every match of the first women's tournament.
For Kirwan, victory ensures a place in a Bellator tournament and an increase in his stock wherever he may end up fighting next. The far more likely loss means that Kirwan is in the exact same career position as he was before he took the fight, only now he has been on TV.
Saturday at the Boardwalk Hall is a free dice roll for the long shot.