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Bellator feathers keep flying high

5/14/2012
Marlon Sandro, left, is finding it hard to hang in the deep Bellator 145-pound ranks. Keith Mills/Sherdog.com


Admittedly, my thoughts on this can change week to week. But for the moment, I'm going with featherweight as mixed martial arts' most enticing weight class.

On Tuesday in Fairfax, Va., the UFC showcases a bout at 145 between Dustin Poirier and Chan Sung Jung. It shapes up to be a pivotal clash as it relates to UFC's title hunt. There's not much difference in the kind of action 145 delivers relative to others divisions -- in that it's often high quality and exciting -- yet it does stand out because the class, ruled by UFC's Jose Aldo, is among the few capable of elevating non-Zuffa fighters to a place of prominence.

Take Saturday's Bellator main event between Daniel Straus and Marlon Sandro in Atlantic City, N.J. Sandro is an excellent fighter, ranked, with a solid résumé. Straus, it appears, is also rock solid at what he does. Their clash did not disappoint, nor will a pending Bellator title fight between Pat Curran and Patricio Freire, which could end up being the best bout of the summer. For what it's worth, I'm looking forward to that bout more than I am Aldo's title defense against Erik Koch at UFC 149.

If things continue on this track, 145 might be a rare exception when it comes to UFC's dominance. There's no question that heavyweight, 205, 185, 170, 135 and 125 are on lock. Because of its inherent depth, there are arguments to be made about the widespread appeal of 155. However, coming into the weekend, per ESPN's MMA rankings, featherweight was the only category to feature three non-Zuffa fighters.

There's parity at 145, and it looks set up to remain that way for a while.