Last night (Sat., Nov. 15, 2014), Bellator MMA pushed out the ninth card of its eleventh season, epitomizing the new era brought forth with Scott Coker taking over as the Bellator president.
Spike TV and Bellator stacked this card with names familiar to even the casual fan. The main event pitted two former UFC light heavyweights -- who have drawn big audiences on Spike TV before -- against each other in the "People's Champion" Tito Ortiz and "American Psycho" Stephan Bonnar.
After weeks of trash talking it was finally time for the two to settle their score.
Ortiz proved to be the better man on this night, using striking throughout each of the first two rounds to bust Bonnar up, sealing rounds with late takedowns. By the third frame Bonnar's hands were unable to stay up, and when he tried to turn it into a brawl, Ortiz got the better of the exchanges.
One judge actually had it 29-28 for Bonnar, but the other two scored a 30-27 decision that gave Ortiz his second win in a row for the first time in years.
Zombie Prophet with the GIF:
Ortiz spoke to Jimmy Smith after the fight:
"The only little bit of respect I'll give for Bonnar (is) he came here and fought, that's it. Everybody seen his character, what type of person he is. You want to get your ass kicked again, we'll do it again buddy. Let's give these fans what they want to see. That was too much of a split decision -- let's do it again boy!"
Bonnar had a response:
"For some reason my deluded brain thought it would be more fun getting my eyes split open, but it actually kind of sucks, to be honest with you. I gave it my all, and the difference in this fight was his wrestling. Hats off to him. He is invited to my barbecue. I'm serving turdburgers, though."
The co-main event crowned an undisputed lightweight champion as "Ill" Will Brooks faced Michael Chandler for the second time. Brooks beat Chandler by split decision in their last meeting, and captured the interim lightweight title in the process. With the departure of Eddie Alvarez to UFC, Chandler received a second chance to reclaim the belt that was once his, with no "interim" attached after this fight.
Brooks ended all doubt in the rematch, not letting the fight go the distance, although it did get to a fourth round. After Chandler tried a throw and took Brooks for a ride, "Ill" clocked Chandler with a right to the temple as he was standing back up. Chandler threw up his hands up and waved them, saying "no mas" to the fight, but Brooks kept coming forward. After a couple more shots, Herzog stepped in at 3:48 to award Brooks the TKO.
See the bizarre finish here.
Brooks spoke to Jimmy Smith after he received the undisputed lightweight title.
"The first fight I was happy with my performance, there were a couple of things I needed to polish up, and I think I did that tonight. I'm evolving as a fighter, I'm evolving as a person, and I'm happy with myself right now."
And as for the weird finish?
"He was looking around, and the ref was to my left, so I got on him."
Two kickboxers found themselves in mixed combat on Saturday night, as knockout artist Melvin Manhoef went toe to toe with Joe Schilling. An unimpressive 1-3 record in MMA made Schilling look like an easy target at first, but a 17-7 record in kickboxing gave him a fighting chance against the fearsome striker known for showing "No Mercy."
Manhoef had the better of the fight in the first round, rocking Schilling several times, but he was unable to find a finish on the ground. That proved to be his undoing as Schilling showed no mercy in the second, uncorking a hard overhand right that put Manhoef out on his feet, then landing a left as Manhoef was falling down. Mike Beltran waved it off at 0:32 awarding the surprising upset victory to Schilling.
Watch the violent replay here.
Schilling spoke to Smith after the bout.
"Preparing for this fight I wanted to make sure I was ready anywhere the fight went. I put myself in those bad positions in training camp, he landed some good shots, but I knew if I waited I was going to get through it - and my right hand saved me again. I want to keep fighting better and better opponents and work my way to a title."
With time to fill on the broadcast, a quick first-round stoppage from the prelims aired, followed by an interview with Bellator President Scott Coker. Sean Wheelock teased that he had a "major announcement" to make.
Coker brought a bevy of fighters with him.
"February 27th at the Mohegan Sun, it's going to be UK vs. the world, and we're calling it the 'British Invasion'. We'll have Emanuel Newton vs. Liam McGeary, Douglas Lima vs. Paul Daley, Bobby Lashley vs. James Thompson, and finally Sokoudjou vs. Linton Vassell. February 27th, Mohegan Sun."
The second bout on Spike TV saw the Bellator debut of former UFC featherweight Nam Phan. His opponent would not roll out the red carpet. Mike "The Marine" Richman found success at bantamweight with a first round knockout of Ed West.
Would coming back up in weight be a bad choice for Richman?
The 143-pound fight was a one-sided affair that only lasted 46 seconds, with Richman catching Phan early and often with lefts, then pouring on damage against the fence after Phan fell. Michael Bell saw three unblocked rights there that caused him to wave it off and award the TKO to Richman.
Zombie Prophet with the finish:
Richman spoke to Jimmy Smith after the bout. "That was our gameplan. We felt like we matched up really well against Phan. Just stick to my power shots and go for the kill. I don't know how many more guys I've got to go through to get a shot."
He also addressed Joe Warren, who was sitting in on commentary: "You're going to look just like him - knocked out."
"King Mo" Lawal continued his quest for redemption in the opener on Spike TV. Originally scheduled to face two-time Bellator winner Tom DeBlass, a late injury forced Bellator to find a replacement on short notice, and middleweight "The Doctor" Joe Vedepo got the call. Vedepo was successful in Council Bluffs last month, but taking two fights in a short time is always a risky proposition, and Vedepo was coming up in weight to face the former Strikeforce champion.
Vedepo and Lawal's most competitive moment was in their entrances, as each tried to one up the other for beautiful women flanking their walk to the cage. Once the fight began the takedowns came easily to Lawal, pouring on a vicious ground and pounding beating that by the end of round two had Vedepo's eyes blackened like a raccoon.
After a barrage on the feet early in round three, Vedepo fell down of his own accord, and Lawal finished by TKO at 0:39. King Mo checked on Vedepo first after the stoppage, then celebrated the victory by swimming a few laps.
Zombie Prophet has it:
King Mo spoke to Jimmy Smith afterward, showing respect to his fallen foe. "He came in and took a beating, and kept on trying to fight - which everybody does, but dude's smaller than me, man."
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 131 in San Diego.
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