Despite expectations to the contrary, Vitaly Minakov and Cheick Kongo ended up going the distance in their Bellator heavyweight title fight on Friday night (April 4, 2014) on Spike TV.
In the end, Minakov was victorious over the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) mainstay with unanimous decision scores of 48-46.
See all the live results and main card play-by-play here.
Referee Herb Dean deducted a point from Minakov due to a pair of illegal groin strikes in the first round, but ultimately, the penalty would prove inconsequential. The Russian went on to win all but the fourth round, giving himself a clear lead over Kongo on the judges' scorecards.
The sambo-specialist Minakov used his grappling acumen to take Kongo down repeatedly throughout the fight, other than five minutes of dominance from Kongo in the fourth round, which was enough to win the fight for the Russian.
Although Bellator doesn't give out "Fight of the Night" bonuses, if they did, Herman Terrado and Justin Baesman would have been a lock to win those honors.
The two welterweights put on a highly entertaining three round affair, one that saw both men trade the advantage. In the first round, Terrado got Baesman down and clearly controlled the round. Then in the second, Baesman came back in a big way and laid a serious beatdown on Terrado, earning himself a 10-8 round on two judges' scorecards.
Terrado looked to be finished in the waning seconds of the second round, but he rallied to win the third. As a result, the fight ended in a majority draw, but Bellator announcer Jimmy Smith hinted at a potential rematch down the line.
In the opening bout of the evening, Mikkel Parlo defeated Johnny Cisneros by unanimous decision, thanks in large part to a dominant takedown game.
There you have it.
Bellator MMA returns to Spike TV next Friday night (April 11, 2014) with a main event pitting Lavar Johnson vs. Blagoi Ivanov in the semifinals of the season 10 heavyweight tournament, live from Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, CA.
See you then!