TEMECULA,CA-The Pechanga Resort & Casino was host to the fifth event of Bellator's eleventh season, and Bellator 127 once again delivered the kind of action you expect from Spike TV's official mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion.
In the main event, former featherweight champion Daniel Straus was on a quest for redemption, having lost the title back in March to Pat Curran, the same man he beat for the belt. To get back to a title shot (against a new champion in Patricio "Pitbull" Freire) he'd have to get past the tough and durable wrestler Justin Wilcox, winner of three of his last four inside the Bellator cage.
It only took 50 seconds of the first round to find out who would move one step closer to a featherweight title shot.
Wilcox flew around the cage like a madman trying to land a shot, while Straus chose to stand and deliver a crushing left hand to the chin that dropped "The Silverback" to his knees. It only took a second for referee "Big" John McCarthy to recognize that Wilcox could not defend himself, and he was on rubber legs when he stood up after the bout.
"I told you what I was gonna come in here and do," Straus said to Jimmy Smith after the fight. "I'm a tell you, I'm a go and get that belt, that's exactly what I'm gonna do. I put that left hand on him, put him to bed. I told you." And as for Patricio Freire? Straus had just two words: "Let's dance."
See the GIF of the fast and explosive finish (via Zombie Prophet) below:
The co-main event was originally scheduled to be a clash of welterweights with Marius Zaromskis facing off against Karo Parisyan. An injury forced "The Whitemare" to pull out of the fight, but "The Heat" did not get an easier opponent for a replacement. Fernando Gonzalez had already shocked the world by defeating feared striker "Psycho" Karl Amoussou in his Bellator debut, and he was looking for another upset last night in Temecula. Due to Gonzalez coming in over the limit, this was contested at a catch weight of 173 pounds.
Parisyan felt the heat almost immediately. Gonzalez was ready and willing to stand and bang with his foe, and Parisyan either slipped or was clipped 45 seconds in. The left hand he landed 14 seconds later was clean and "The Heat" went down to the mat (see the replay here). "The Menifee Maniac" jumped on him and fired off left after left as Parisyan rolled to his side and covered up with both hands. The turtle position was all referee Mike Beltran needed to see to wave off the fight at 1:43 of the first round.
An emotional Gonzalez spoke to Jimmy Smith after the fight.
"Two weeks ago I had a friend of mine get murdered. It's been really tough. I want to dedicate this to our friend Trip who passed away but he's always with us in our hearts. And to Shark who also passed away three weeks (ago) on my birthday -- on the 15th -- the same day I got the call for this. Life's short, so I took advantage of what I'd been given."
The second televised fight of the night on Spike pitted Rafael Silva against UFC veteran Rob Emerson. Silva had a 13 fight win streak going before he ran into Joe Warren. "Morcego" was hoping to start a new streak against Emerson, but with five wins in a row of his own, "The Saint" was not going to go down easy. The Brazilian had some trouble making weight, so this was changed from bantamweight to a catch weight of 138 pounds.
Silva and Emerson went the distance in their bout, but there was little question as to who would emerge victorious. "Morcego" was relentless in pursuing the takedowns, and Emerson showed little-to-no ability to block them. Silva's only enemy was fatigue, as he started to tire in the third round. "The Saint" tried to rally and go on the offensive, but only two out of three judges gave him even a round.
Silva took a 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 unanimous decision victory.
The opening bout for television had former light heavyweight champion Christian M'Pumbu making his middleweight debut against The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 3 winner Kendall Grove, winner of two of his last three fights.
The decision seemed a natural one for M'Pumbu, who had always been small for his previous weight class, but "The Spider" spun a web around M'Pumbu and left him trapped on the ground in the second round. With only one hook in, Grove went for the rear-naked choke, and the tap at 4:14 of round two forced referee "Big" John McCarthy to stop the fight.
Grove talked to Jimmy Smith after the fight.
"I ain't nobody's stepping stone. I'm here to stay. The Spider's here. I think I just proved that finishing a former light heavyweight champ. I want that belt. I'm gonna make my way to the top, one guy at a time, whoever wants some come get some."
The televised bouts were paired with exciting preliminary action that aired exclusively on Spike.com. Check out our live streaming results RIGHT HERE to see who else made a name for themselves inside the cage at Bellator 127 including explosive finishes by Ricky Rainey, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, and more!