In 2015, Bellator did all it could to try and maintain the “rat race” with the UFC as the premier MMA promotion in North America.
That’s still up for debate, but several highlights from the past 12 months did take place inside the Bellator cage.
But what was the top card from Bellator?
Well glad you asked.
Bellator 138 was titled “Unfinished Business,” as Ken Shamrock and Kimbo Slice finally squared off.
In 2008, the two were set to meet on CBS, but a cut suffered during warm-ups by Shamrock scrapped it. Scott Coker made it a priority to get the rematch scheduled, and Slice delivered, finishing Shamrock in the first round.
The event was the most-watched for Bellator, generating an average of 1.6 million viewers and peaking at 2.4 million.
In the co-main event, Patricio Freire defended his featherweight title with a second round knockout finish of Daniel Weichel, while Bobby Lashley stopped Dan Charles.
Daniel Straus and Michael Chandler each picked up submission wins.
Also in the running for top consideration were Bellator 134 and Bellator 145.
In terms of actual skills and fighting, Bellator 134 topped Bellator 138, but the “star-power” surrounding Bellator 134 was too much to overcome.
Bellator 134 saw the arrival of Liam McGeary, as the Brit topped Emmanuel Newton to become light heavyweight champion. He would go on to defend his title against Tito Ortiz later in the year.
Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal moved up to heavyweight and earned a split decision over Cheick Kongo, while Paul Daley, Linton Vassell and Brennan Ward scored wins.
Bellator 145 also was a top event, as Daniel Straus won the featherweight title over Patricio Freire and Will Brooks defended his lightweight strap vs. Marcin Held.
Michael Chandler and Bobby Lashley scored TKO wins, while Emmanuel Sanchez upset Justin Lawrence.
Also, while Bellator: Dynamite was technically a Bellator event, the addition of kickboxing gave it an unfair advantage in terms of comparing it to the rest. It was an event in and of itself, and kind of stands on its own.