Bellator 125: "Marshall vs. Manhoef" takes place TONIGHT (Fri., Sept. 19, 2014) at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., live on Spike TV with the third event of Bellator's eleventh season.
Tonight's main event is loaded with fireworks. Former WEC Light Heavyweight Champion Doug "The Rhino" Marshall is a proponent of aggression over adhesion -- he doesn't want a tight clinch or a submission chess match -- he'd rather stand at range and trade shots. Kickboxing veteran Melvin "No Mercy" Manhoef is much the same. History shows us that Manhoef's best fights are the ones where he lands a big blow quickly, as he's not renowned for cardio or endurance.
Brian Rogers knows a little something about "blink and you'll miss it" himself. His first flying knee knockout of Vitor Vianna is a staple of Bellator and MMA highlight reels, and he delivered ANOTHER one in the second round against Adrian Miles at Bellator 119. Decisions don't always work out for Rogers (he's dropped the last two to go the distance) so he's going to welcome newcomer Rafael Carvalho with heavy hands -- unless Carvalho beats him to the punch. He's 9-1 fighting in Brazil with eight technical knockout finishes.
Also on the main card, featherweights Martin Stapleton and Goiti Yamauchi will showcase their skills, and heavyweight Raphael Butler looks to bounce back from a disappointing draw as he squares off with Javy Ayala. He can't afford to look past Ayala though, as he smashed Eric Prindle and Thiago Santos in his last two fights.
MMAmania.com will be here all night long to bring you LIVE Bellator 125 results below, including quick results of the under card action on Spike.com (7 p.m. ET), as well as play-by-play updates of the Spike TV broadcast that starts at 9 p.m. ET.
Many readers check in before, during and after the fights to share their thoughts on all of the action. Feel free to leave a comment (or 125) about the bouts before you leave and chat with all the other Maniacs during the show - it's always a lot of fun!
BELLATOR 125 QUICK RESULTS:
Doug Marshall vs. Melvin Manhoef: Manhoef by KO - 1:45 of R1.
Rafael Carvalho vs. Brian Rogers: Carvalho by TKO - 3:06 of R1.
Javy Ayala vs. Raphael Butler: Ayala by RNC submission - 1:03 of R1.
Martin Stapleton vs. Goiti Yamauchi: Yamauchi by RNC submission - 4:37 of R1.
Joe Neal vs. Paul Ruiz: Joe Neal by UD - 30-27 X3.
Oscar Ramirez vs. Matt Ramirez: Ramirez by submission (armbar) - 0:42 of R1.
Aaron Wilkinson vs. Chris Honeycutt: Honeycutt by TKO - 4:45 of R2.
Julio Cesar Neves vs. Poppies Martinez: Neves by TKO - 2:16 of R1.
Jonny Bonilla-Bowman vs. Art Becerra: Bonilla-Bowman by SD - 29-28, 28-29, 29-28.
Ron Keslar vs. Jesse Juarez: Juarez by UD - 29-28 X3.
Granson Clark vs. George Zuniga: Zuniga by KO - 0:34 of R1.
Nate James vs. Anthony Ruiz: This wasn't shown on Spike.com.
BELLATOR 125 PLAY-BY-PLAY:
Doug Marshall vs. Melvin Manhoef
Round 1: Manhoef is in black trunks for tonight's fight. The pre-fight hype video showed highlights of his Mark Hunt knockout, touting that he took the bout on one day's notice. Marshall is wearing the black "skirt" as he describes it in his hype videos - "I get a lot of s#%! about that but you've got to be a badass to wear a skirt." Our referee for tonight's main event is Jason Herzog. They touch gloves like gentlemen and feel out each other's range. Marshall lands the first kick and then covers up for a flurry. Manhoef kicks him in the cup and Herzog calls time. Marshall is ready to go in under a minute. Marshall checks a head kick. Manhoef with a hard right at 1:30 which he follows up with leg kicks and MARSHALL GOES FACE DOWN OFF ONE BIG OVERHAND RIGHT THAT WAS JUST BEHIND THE LEFT EAR - THIS FIGHT IS OVER. Marshall eventually gets up to signal he's okay as Manhoef walks around the cage wearing the flag of Surinam.
Final result: Melvin Manhoef wins via knockout at 1:45 of R1. Scott Coker grants Manhoef a title shot - set to face the winner of Shlemenko vs. Halsey next week.
Rafael Carvalho vs. Brian Rogers
Round 1: Carvalho is in white trunks tonight. This is his Bellator debut AND his first fight outside of Brazil. 'The Professional Predator' Rogers has red/white trunks for this fight. Our referee in charge is Marcos Rosales. Carvalho eats an overhand right at 33 seconds but seems unfazed. He's 6'3" and Rogers is 5'11" and Rogers is not intimidated at all - he trades shots with Carvalho and gets a takedown at 1:10. He lets go of a guillotine attempt on the stand-up and backs off. Carvalho pushes toward the fence at 1:56 and lands a knee. Rogers moves forward and shoves him off at 2:09. Flush knee by Carvalho but Rogers eats it. Carvalho rocks him at 2:55 and he starts wobbling against the fence - ROSALES DECIDES HE'S A STANDING ZOMBIE AND STOPS IT TEN SECONDS LATER. Rogers is immediately complaining but I'm not - he was eating way too many jackhammer lefts while he crouched down facing the fence - and he was blinking in and out when he was standing upright before that.
Final result: 3:06 of R1 for the TKO stoppage for your winner - Rafael Carvalho.
Javy Ayala vs. Raphael Butler
Round 1: Butler is in the black trunks tonight. He's a 2004 Golden Gloves winner. Ayala is in the white. Our referee in charge is Marcos Rosales. Ayala comes out swinging and has Butler backed up to the fence at 9 seconds in. Ayala gets warned not to grab the fence. Ayala gets a takedown at 55 seconds, goes for the rear naked choke, and BUTLER TAPS OUT SECONDS LATER.
Final result: Javy 'Eye Candy' Ayala wins at 1:03 of R1 via submission - RNC.
Martin Stapleton vs. Goiti Yamauchi
Round 1: After yesterday's weigh-in this was changed from a featherweight bout to a catchweight bout of 149 pounds. Stapleton is in the blue trunks and Yamauchi the black. The referee in charge is Jason Herzog. Stapleton is on top 12 seconds in by design as Yamauchi is going for an omoplata. Stapleton does a good job of fending it off for the first minute and pushes Yamauchi to the fence at 1:30. Yamauchi sweeps to the back with a body triangle sunk in at 1:55. Herzog warns Stapleton to grab the gloves, not the fingers. Yamauchi is getting close to the RNC at the 3 minute mark but lets it go. Yamauchi loses the body triangle but is still in half guard. Side control at 4:05 and he quickly takes the back again. Body triangle at 4:22 and another RNC attempt. He's cranking hard. STAPLETON TAPS OUT LATE IN R1. Official time shortly.
Final result: Goiti Yamauchi submits Martin Stapleton with a rear naked choke - 4:37 of R1.
Joe Neal vs. Paul Ruiz
Round 1: Ruiz (pronounced Reese according to Wheelock) is in the black trunks, Neal the red. Through the halfway point neither has landed any significant damage. Ruiz drags Neal to the ground as they're locked up on the fence, letting him on top. 3 minutes gone. The ref warns them to get busy. Neal backs away at 4:43 and throws some leg kicks, and Herzog stands Ruiz up with seconds before the bell. 10-9 Neal.
Round 2: Slow start to R2 as well. "This round very much up for grabs, two minutes left" quips Jimmy Smith. Ruiz initiates the grappling again and once again Neal ends up on top. "Exact same sequence in round one repeated in round two" - Sean Wheelock. Neal backs away with over a minute left and Herzog stands Ruiz at 4:10. R2 to Neal by virtue of Ruiz not doing much but standing there and hoping to clip Neal.
Round 3: Ruiz gets a takedown at 1:30, Neal gets one in response 10 seconds later, both guys stand and encourage each other to scrap. At the two minute mark Neal gets a solid takedown right in the middle. Ruiz blocks any offense with a butterfly guard and a closed guard and Herzog threatens a stand-up. Another call for work at 3:12. Neal is getting off just enough ground strikes to not be stood up but he's warned two more times as they inch to the fence. Neal is warned to let go of the cage. He backs off at 4:31 and jumps right back into guard. He's on top to the bell to claim the round and likely the decision.
Final result: All three judges score it 30-27 for Joe Neal.
Oscar Ramirez vs. Matt Ramirez
Round 1: Oscar Ramirez is in the yellow trunks. Matt Ramirez is in the red. Matt gets an outside trip to the ground and goes for an armbar and TAPS OSCAR OUT JUST OVER 40 SECONDS INTO R1. He was 8-0 as an amateur and now he's 1-0 as a pro.
Final result: MATT RAMIREZ SUBMITS OSCAR RAMIREZ AT 0:42 OF R1 VIA ARMBAR.
Aaron Wilkinson vs. Chris Honeycutt
Round 1: Honeycutt gets a takedown 16 seconds into R1. He's in the yellow trunks and Wilkinson the white. The two spin around on the ground as Honeycutt tries to improve position, and Wilkinson gets back up at 1:55. Wilkinson almost completes a takedown of his own but eats some knees to the legs instead. Honeycutt picks him up, pops out of a guillotine and puts him down at 2:57. Jason McCoy warns Honeycutt about the back of the head. Wilkinson gets up again at 3:28 but Honeycutt takes him down and gets full mount. McCoy warns Wilkinson to fight back three times - the last with 30 seconds remaining. 10-9 Honeycutt bordering on a 10-8.
Round 2: Honeycutt with another takedown 30 seconds into R2. He gets warned for back of the head strikes again. Hammerfists from half guard. Side control at 2:30. He's pouring it on at 3:20 and Wilkinson is being warned to fight back again. Another warning at 3:45. Honeycutt is trying to grab a kimura Really hard right hands to the side. Honeycutt spins around to his back at 4:35 and he's pouring it on. McCoy: "FIGHT BACK RIGHT NOW!" Seconds later he has seen enough and HONEYCUTT WINS BY TKO. He does a backflip to celebrate. Official time forthcoming for an impressive welterweight debut.
Final result: THE REFEREE STOPS IT AT 4:45 OF R2 - CHRIS HONEYCUTT WINS VIA TKO.
Julio Cesar Neves vs. Poppies Martinez
Round 1: Martinez is in the black trunks with yellow trim, the young Cesar is in gray. Cesar is showing a little bit of Anderson Silva/Nick Diaz out there - begging Martinez to come at him. CESAR KNOCKS HIM DOWN WITH A SPINNING BACK KICK TO THE LIVER AND POUNDS AWAY ON THE GROUND. Martinez tries to grab a leg and Cesar hops away, then forces the ref to stand it up. CESAR KNOCKS HIM DOWN AGAIN WITH A JUMPING KNEE AND IMPROVES TO 30-0 AS THE REF WAVES IT OFF ON THE GROUND.
Final result: JASON MCCOY STOPS IT AT 2:16 OF R1 VIA TKO - JULIO CESAR NEVES IS THE WINNER.
Jonny Bonilla-Bowman vs. Art Becerra
Round 1: Bonilla-Bowman is in the black trunks, Becerra the blue. Both are making their Bellator debut. Becerra scores an early knockdown with his right hand but Bonilla-Bowman pops right back up. Becerra continues to land the right, even using it as a Superman punch. He's also using leg kicks to slow Bonilla-Bowman down. The best thing about Bonilla-Bowman this round is that he took the center and made Becerra work from the outside - other than that Becerra had the best strikes and even a takedown late to solidify a 10-9 round.
Round 2: Becerra continues to stand and bang for the first minute of R2. He continues to circle on the outside and use his speed, but Bonilla-Bowman is starting to land leg kicks of his own and some body shots. Bonilla-Bowman charges forward at the 4 minute mark but hits the fence. Very active round for both men but I'd give a narrow edge to Bonilla-Bowman 10-9.
Round 3: Bonilla-Bowman continues to use the low kick and now instead of just taking the center he's pushing Becerra back toward the cage. Becerra responds with some hard right hands and a takedown at 1:47, but Bonilla-Bowman shrugs him off when he tries to take the back and goes too high. Becerra charges across the cage for a takedown at 2:25 but doesn't get it. Ref Jason Herzog waves off a claimed finger to the eye and lets the action continue. He tells Becerra no again at 3:14 when he claims an eyepoke. Becerra is visibly limping from the leg kicks and moving laterally hoping to stay in the fight. He CRACKS Bonilla-Bowman with a right hand with 10 seconds left as BB goes for a takedown but as Bonilla-Bowman survives it's too little too late. 10-9 Bonilla-Bowman.
Final result: JUDGES SCORE IT 29-28 BECERRA, 29-28 BONILLA BOWMAN, 29-28 SPLIT DECISION FOR JONNY BONILLA-BOWMAN.
Ron Keslar vs. Jesse Juarez
Round 1: Juarez is in the white trunks tonight, Keslar the blue. Ref warns them to get busy 55 seconds in. Juarez gets a takedown at 1:31, taking the back, and looking for a rear naked choke. Keslar turns at 2:08 to avoid it and is flat on his back. Keslar keeps him tied up to avoid damage and look for a submission. Juarez settles for punching him in the ribs. Referee Marcos Rosales calls for improvement at 4:05. He stands them with 15 seconds to go. 10-9 for Juarez.
Round 2: Keslar comes toward Juarez throwing punches at 29 seconds. Juarez tries to counter to a takedown. Rosales warns Keslar about strikes to the back of the head. Juarez is unable to get what he wants as Keslar transitions to the back at 1:38. At 2:04 he's got one hook in. 3:19 he's got the second hook in. Ref calls for improvement at 3:47. Keslar tries to punch Juarez until he gives up his neck, but Juarez survives. 10-9 Keslar.
Round 3: Juarez ducks a right hand and goes for a takedown but Keslar sweeps and is on top as we pass the first minute. Another "back of the head" warning at 1:30. Keslar is trying to hop up and get the hooks in but Juarez is keeping his back pressed into the cage. Juarez throws punches backward over his shoulder trying to get lucky. Juarez turns out to the top at 2:59. Keslar tries to get back up and Juarez jumps on his back. He's got one hook in but one minute left. Rosales wants more action at 4:25. Juarez looks for a rear naked but Keslar pushes his arms up and survives to the bell. This could go either way.
Final result: JUDGES SCORE IT 29-28 X3 - JUAREZ WINS A UNANIMOUS DECISION.
Granson Clark vs. George Zuniga
Round 1: Clark is in the black trunks, Zuniga the red. The two are training partners but that doesn't stop ZUNIGA FROM ROCKING HIM AND KNOCKING HIM OUT COLD. Clark started off okay pushing him toward the fence but when Zuniga came back he creamed him with a left hook and an over the top right hand. Clark was out before he fell backward and his head smacked the canvas.
Final result: 34 SECONDS OF ROUND ONE - ZUNIGA WINS BY KNOCKOUT.
Nate James vs. Anthony Ruiz
Round 1: Possibly a local fight after the main card. This wasn't shown on Spike.com.
Final result: Unknown.