Former Bellator 155-pound champion Michael Chandler battled Bellator season nine lightweight tournament winner Will Brooks for the promotion's interim championship this past Saturday night (May 17, 2014) at the Bellator 120: "Rampage vs. King Mo" pay-per-view (PPV) event, which took place inside Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi.
And we had ourselves a close one.
Chandler opened the first round by taking Brooks down on two separate occasions. "Ill" Will proved to have a sticky guard and was able to keep himself out of immediate danger, but had no answer -- and no defense -- for his opponent's superior wrestling.
Rinse and repeat.
The second round had a little bit of drama when Brooks secured a takedown of his own and took Chandler's back, but the former champion spun like a dreidel and wound up back on top and finished the round in that position, giving him a clear two-zip lead heading into round three.
A round that was all Brooks.
The underdog found his timing and controlled Chandler on the ground, beating the snot out of him for five straight minutes. Chandler looked lost at times and it was hard to discern if he was making technical errors or just sleeping on his opponent coming into this fight.
Then things went from bad to worse.
Chandler looked winded in the fourth frame -- which was unexpected since he trained for a five-round fight and Brooks didn't -- but struggled to match the intensity he had in the first half of the fight. He managed to reverse position after a Brooks takedown, but the ref stood them up and Chandler took an illegal knee during a scramble.
I still gave it to Brooks.
They went into the final frame all even at two-apiece and it looked to be a battle to see who would get the takedown to steal the round. Neither had much success. In the final minute, Chandler rocked Brooks in the stand up, sending his opponent to the floor. After some brief ground-and-pound, Chandler transitioned to an arm-triangle choke, but Brooks hung on until the bell.
Close fight, anyway you slice it, but I had it three rounds to two for Chandler. Not all of the judges agreed, however, and we have ourselves a bona fide upset.
Where you at, Eddie Alvarez?
Will Brooks def. Michael Chandler via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)
For complete Bellator 120: "Rampage vs. King Mo" results and live play-by-play click here.