Bellator 134: "British Invasion" takes place TONIGHT (Fri., Feb. 27, 2015) at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. And because Bellator MMA no longer has "Seasons," this is the first time since Tito Ortiz vs. Stephan Bonnar under the Scott Coker's watch that the promotion's calendar has had two events in one month.
Coincidentally, Bellator 131 was where the "British Invasion" show was announced. However, the card has changed significantly since then. Even as recently as this week Michael Page was pulled from "British Invasion" because of injury, creating one last change to the line up as Brennan Ward moved up from the "Prelims" under card to take his place.
Thankfully, the main event has stayed in tact since it was first announced -- "The Hardcore Kid" Emanuel Newton will defend his Light Heavyweight title against the undefeated Liam McGeary, who earned a shot by winning a 205-pound tournament.
Future contenders will be found other ways.
In fact, Paul "Semtex" Daley might just earn a Welterweight title shot if he beats Andre Santos, and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou could make that case, too, by beating former No. 1-ranked contender Linton Vassell. And who knows what shots "King Mo" Lawal could call if he wins a fight moving up a whole weight class?
Bellator 134 starts tonight (Feb. 27, 2015) on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET. MMAmania.com will be here all night long to deliver LIVE Bellator 134 results and play-by-play for the televised fights along with the under card action on Spike.com at 7 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 134) about the bouts before you leave and chat with all the other Maniacs during the show -- it's always a lot of fun!
BELLATOR 134 QUICK RESULTS:
Main Card (Spike TV):
Emanuel Newton (c) vs. Liam McGeary -- McGeary wins 48-46 and 48-47 X2.
Cheick Kongo vs. Muhammed Lawal -- Lawal by SD 30-27, 28-29, 29-28.
Paul Daley vs. Andre Santos -- Daley via UD - 29-27 and 29-28 X2.
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs. Linton Vassell -- Vassell via TKO at 3:18 of R2.
Brennan Ward vs. Curtis Millender -- Ward via sub (RNC) at 1:37 of R1.
"Prelims" Card (Spike.com):
Matt Bessette vs. Josh LaBerge -- Bessette via TKO (doctor) at 5:00 of R2.
Raphael Butler vs. Josh Diekmann -- Butler via guillotine sub at 1:04 of R1.
Tamdan McCrory vs. Jason Butcher -- McCrory via armbar sub at 1:06 of R1.
Bobby Flynn vs. Neiman Gracie -- Gracia via neck crank sub at 2:36 of R1.
Marvin Maldonado vs. Blair Tugman -- Tugman via UD 30-26, 30-27 X2.
BELLATOR 134 PLAY BY PLAY:
Emanuel Newton (c) vs. Liam McGeary
McGeary is in black trunks tonight with the British flag. Newton dances his way to the cage with the belt around his waist, and he's in the white trunks tonight. Our referee in charge of the main event is Todd Anderson.
Round 1: A touch of the gloves to start is followed by rapid fire punches from both men. McGeary settles in and starts throwing leg and head kicks. Newton tries a spinning back kick that misses. A leg kick works. Newton catches a kick from McGeary and takes him down at 1:09. McGeary goes for a triangle with his locks and Newton tries to power bomb his way out of it. McGeary goes for the kimura too but Newton shows no signs of tapping. Newton pops out at 2:18 and dives right back into the guard. Newton lands some hammerfists as he moves to side, then winds up back in the full guard again, where McGeary once again goes for the armbar and Newton escapes it again. McGeary goes for an inverted triangle or armbar then flips Newton over for a keylock but Newton escapes - this time though McGeary is on top with 45 seconds left. Newton escapes and takes his back. McGeary gets away but gives up side control. McGeary tries to get a knee bar but Newton sees it coming. A wild back and forth first round.
Round 2: It'll be tough to top that first round in terms of excitement but let's see both of these men try. Newton is keeping his chin low and his stance low, trying to force McGeary down to his level, and getting the single leg at 1:36 the moment McGeary gets into range. You have to give it to Newton - for all the danger he was in he's not afraid to go to the well once again and let McGeary work off his back. McGeary gets a warning from Anderson for shots to the back of the head. Newton stands up at 2:54 then drops back down as McGeary rolls. He tries to take the back and misses, but he quickly puts McGeary down again and goes back to guard. Newton tries to step over but McGeary blocks with his long legs, firing elbows at Newton's head. McGeary nearly cleans Newton's clock with an upkick as Newton backs up, then dives back in and gives McGeary another chance at an armbar. Newton escapes it right at the bell.
Round 3: Newton lands a spinning back kick 30 seconds into R3. Another kick to the body connects. Newton is connecting with strikes and checking McGeary's shots until McGeary finally nails a clean combo. Newton backs away, circles, and throws more kicks. McGeary with a flush left to Newton's chin - he seems unbothered. He charges in for a right and a body kick. Newton slips throwing a kick and McGeary tries to pounce for a guillotine, but Newton rolls through and winds up on top. Would you be surprised to know McGeary went for an armbar? No? Well he does and it doesn't work, giving Newton side control with 75 seconds left. Newton spins and moves to keep McGeary from getting a handle on anything. McGeary thinks about an inverted triangle but knows it's not available. McGeary goes for a triangle late and puts on the ground and pound but doesn't get the finish.
Round 4: McGeary stands and considers his options as R4 gets underway, rolling his hands over the top of each other, pondering what he'll have to do to finish Newton. He's already tied a Bellator record with ten submission attempts in this fight. A low blow causes both men to touch gloves and say it's all good - neither wants a timeout. McGeary chases with kicks, then misses with a spinning backfist. Newton answers with one of his own - that also misses. 2:20. McGeary flies forward with a superman punch and they clinch on the fence, where Newton is warned not to grab the shorts. Newton pulls the head down and lands a knee, takes the back, and gets a takedown to side control with just over 90 seconds left. Newton gets to half guard and pulls on his left leg trying to pass to full mount. Instead he jumps across looking for an arm triangle but it's not there so he moves back to full guard. McGeary is warned multiple times to watch shots to the back of the head. McGeary thinks about an armbar late but can't get the sub attempt in, making this the most clear round yet in the champ's favor.
Round 5: Newton drives forward throwing knees and hits the outside trip takedown to half guard 20 seconds. Newton slams his way out of an armbar attempt by McGeary. Newton is in side control but McGeary is trying to use his long legs to push off the fence. Newton senses it and backs up standing. Two minutes gone. He throws some leg kicks. Anderson says to Newton "If you want him up back out." Newton dives back into guard at 2:25. McGeary needs to turn it up if he wants this title, but he may be out of gas, as Newton is easily breaking the submission attempts now. McGeary squirms and wiggles, but Newton rides on top, causing Anderson to call for Newton to do more. McGeary thinks about a triangle but can't lock it in. One minute to go. Newton passes to half and the to side with 41 seconds left until the judges settle it. One last time McGeary tries to grab the arm and Newton easily pulls away. It's all over but the cards now - we'll see who they think took at least three rounds.
Final result: The judges score the bout 48-46, 48-47, 48-47 all for the unanimous winner and NEW light heavyweight champion Liam McGeary.
Cheick Kongo vs. Muhammed Lawal
King Mo heads to the cage with his crown on, his chain swangin', and two models following their leader. One twirls an umbrella, the other holds his chain when he takes it off. Lawal is wearing black trunks for tonight's fight. Kongo is also in black trunks but has no posse to accompany him. Our referee for the co-main event is "Big" John McCarthy.
Round 1: Kongo takes the center and dares Lawal to respond standing. Lawal tries a leaping left punch that misses, and a similar looking right hook. Mo and Kongo spend a lot of time feinting and the crowd gets a little restless. Two minutes gone and the boos are audible. Lawal fakes a takedown, lands a right, then gets Kongo to the ground. He's in half guard inching his way up, lets Kongo get to his knees so he can take the back, but he can't keep Kongo down. He lands three knees to the hip before Kongo gets up. Lawal stays sticky on his back and gets Kongo down again at 3:46. McCarthy warns Kongo not to stick his fingers in Lawal's gloves. He's in full guard as McCarthy calls for more work at 4:38. The crowd is booing again. Kongo is warned about shots to the back of the head. 10-9 for Lawal.
Round 2: Lawal and Kongo come out dancing around to open R2, then Lawal dances away with Kongo looks to land a power shot. Kongo lands a leg kick at 0:36. Kongo slips and recovers but it gives Lawal a chance to tie up on the fence and drop levels looking for a takedown. He muscles his way into it and gets side control. The crowd is restless again at 2:15. Kongo gets him back to full guard and McCarthy wants to see some action. "You better improve, c'mon, work!" Lawal tries to pass but Kongo keeps him tied up in half guard. Kongo is trying to land right hands off his back but can't generate enough power. Despite the crowd chanting STAND THEM UP McCarthy ignores their pleas. Kongo gets up of his own accord at 4:10 and tries to get a single leg, but that doesn't work - so again McCarthy calls for work. He doesn't break them up before the bell and the crowd's displeasure is clear. 10-9 for Lawal.
Round 3: Kongo lands a left hand 26 seconds into R3 but Lawal responds with a leg trip and then bulls Kongo into the fence, which draws immediate boos and a call for work from McCarthy. Kongo fends off the takedown and both men stand and return to the center at 1:11. Kongo is chasing with strikes but only the low kick lands, and Lawal charges into a takedown that connects at 1:37. Kongo is warned again about errant strikes. McCarthy wants work but he's not forcing a stand-up. Lawal moves to take the back with two minutes remaining and is landing some good rights from behind, sneaking the hammer underneath Kongo's armpit. Kongo stands and Lawal drops levels again, getting another takedown via ankle pick at 3:56. The crowd hates it and Lawal doesn't give a damn - nor should he. McCarthy stands them up with 20 seconds to go, although Kongo wastes precious time by getting up slow. Mo dances away and only has to avoid one spinning backfist before time expires. The decision should be his.
Final result: The judges score this contest 30-27 Lawal, 29-28 Kongo, and 29-28 for Lawal by split decision.
Paul Daley vs. Andre Santos
Round 1: Santos is in black trunks tonight. Daley is in the blue with yellow trim. Our referee for this bout is Dan Miragliotta. Santos comes out to the center with his hands up defensively, as you'd expect facing a striker like Daley. He's trying to stay at range and throw kicks. Daley senses it and aims his punches at the body. The crowd alternates between being quiet and restless. Santos wades in and lands a clean shot, but Daley catches the right. Now Dale responds with a leg kick. Santos wades in again with strikes. His right hands are connecting. Daley and Santos tie up and Santos tries a leg trip that doesn't work. Daley lands two left hooks and a few knees, and Santos keeps clinching up to avoid more punishment. 3:15 gone. Daley turns Santos into the fence and is warned not to grab the cage. Miragliotta forces them to break at 3:38. Daley and Santos start trading and Daley lands a huge right, then another that drops Santos down to the ground. He goes for a single leg but can't get it and he's wobbling on his feet with 40 seconds left. Daley pushes him to the ground and tries to pour it on with short time, but Santos avoids the finish. 10-9 first round for Daley.
Round 2: Daley and Santos square off at the center and patiently wait for an opening to swing at each other. Santos clinches and Daley pushes to the fence firing shots to the gut, landing a hard right when they break and swarming on Santos when it goes to the ground. Daley grinds his left arm into Santos' face and then throws a knee to the ribs when they stand. Miragliotta warns Daley not to grab the fence again - his final warning. Santos pushes him into the fence as they scramble on the feet and Miragliotta calls for work. Santos doubles Daley to the ground and gets side control. He's got half of the round to work if he can keep Daley there - but he can't. Daley gets up at 3:10 and Santos drops levels looking to take him down again. He gets him to one knee but that's all. Daley gets clipped with a left while he was trying to trade with Santos. Santos gets him down for a second at 4:12 off that blow. Daley defends a takedown for the rest of the round that Santos completes with short time. Blood is trickling from Daley's nose. 10-9 for Santos.
Round 3: Bellator shows us that Santos had to be helped back to his corner at the end of R2, and Daley must have been aware of that because he rushes in to land a huge shot opening R3, then tries to quickly hammer it out on the ground. Santos weathers the storm but Miragliotta is keeping a close eye on the action. Daley is half guard trying to free his hands but Santos stands at 1:25. A huge cut has opened up between his eyes. Daley sprawls to block a takedown attempt and comes forward swinging. He's willing to eat one to land one and drops Santos again. Daley baseball slides at Santos with both knees and can't get much going, so he backs away to try and find a better shot. Santos is wilting under the assault and has turtled up against the fence. He's being warned to fight back and his face is a crimson mask as he stands at 3:22. He pushes Daley across the cage and hits a takedown but is so spent he can't keep Daley down. He's got his arms tied around Daley and trips him down at 4:25, getting full mount and trying to throw lefts to finish it, but he can't put enough mustard on it and Daley gets back up. He gets one more takedown late and this one is up to the judges - it could be controversial.
Final result: The judges scored this bout 29-27, 29-28, 29-28 for the unanimous winner - Paul "Semtex" Daley.
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs. Linton Vassell
Round 1: Sokoudjou is in white/red trunks for tonight's bout. Officials at cageside are forcing him to pull his hair back and tying it off with white tape. Vassell is in red/black trunks. Our referee for this bout is Dan Miragliotta. Sokoudjou is fainting early then forced to defend a takedown attempt, which he pops back up from at 36 seconds, but Vassell drags him down again 10 seconds later - jumping straight to the back. Miragliotta warns Sokoudjou not to grab the glove. Sokoudjou shakes free of the one hook Vassell had in and is back to his feet, but Vassell hits another takedown at 1:45. He's in half guard with only his right leg trapped, all over Sokoudjou on top. Being taller than his opponent is paying dividends so far. He traps Sokoudjou's right arm with a knee. Vassell sweeps and then takes the back with two hooks in and a minute remaining. Sokoudjou tries to backdoor escape to avoid the rear naked choke. He can't get away but he avoids tapping in the final 20 seconds. 10-9 Vassell.
Round 2: A light "U-S-A" chant breaks out in the crowd on Sokoudjou's behalf, which would probably be even louder if we were in California. Vassell drops levels for a takedown and finally completes it at 1:50. He works his way to the back with two hooks in at 2:32. Vassell may just want to pound this out if he can't get the arm under the chin. Miragliotta warns him to watch shots to the back of the head. Sokoudjou is warned to defend himself at 3:10 and the end comes seven seconds later when he fails to respond.
Final result: Linton Vassell wins via TKO at 3:18 of the second round.
Brennan Ward vs. Curtis Millender
The "British Invasion" is underway in Uncasville. All of the UK fighters are standing at the entrance way as "God Save the Queen" is played, followed by a guitar rock version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" for the Americans. After that Jimmy Smith and Sean Wheelock hype up tonight's event from cageside.
Round 1: Millender is in aquamarine blue and black trunks. Ward is in the short dark green trunks. Our referee in charge of the night's opening TV bout is "Big" John McCarthy. It's a slugfest early and Ward gets dropped to one knee from a punch at 26 seconds. Ward's takedown shot is stuffed moments later. Ward drops Millender with a right at 1:13 then jumps on his back looking for a submission. Millender taps at 1:37.
Final result: "Irish" Brennan Ward via rear naked choke submission at 1:37 of R1.
Matt Bessette vs. Josh LaBerge
Round 1: LaBerge is in the gray trunks, Bessette is in the blue, and our referee is Brian Meyer. LaBerge takes the center early and Bessette tries to back him up with a head kick. LaBerge seems to be finding his range with the jabs and strikes. Bessette needs to block or use more head movement. Two minutes gone making this one of our longer prelims, but they're not fighting to go a long time. LaBerge backs up toward the fence as Bessette fires some big shots. Bessette is pushing forward now as they trade kicks. He backs LaBerge to the fence again at 3:05 and hits a power takedown at 3:13. Bessette is methodically working his way to LaBerge's back on the ground and hurting LaBerge with rights when the head opens up. LaBerge tries and fails twice to sweep before the bell. 10-9 Bessette.
Round 2: Both fighters are swinging hard in the opening 20 seconds of R2. Bessette appears to have the better of it. LaBerge's mouth is wide open, he's breathing hard, and he's eating rights as he backs up. LaBerge has a forehead cut gushing blood, he tries a leg trip, but Bessette lands on top in mount and quickly gets both hooks in from the back as he pounds away. He goes for the rear naked choke but the blood makes it slip off. LaBerge is still in big trouble either way. The ref is taking a close look as Bessette continues to pound away from back mount. He's warned to fight back at 3:20. Bessette pounds away on the back as LaBerge covers his head, face down. The ref could stop this at any time. The only thing saving LaBerge is his proximity to the fence. he stands up at 4:39 but can't shake Bessette off. 10-8. The doctor stops the fight after the end of R2.
Final result: Matt Bessette wins via TKO (doctor's stoppage) at 5:00 of R2.
Raphael Butler vs. Josh Diekmann
Round 1: I can't recap this fight for the Maniacs without pointing out that Diekmann made his ring entrance wearing a guitar and riffing along to his entrance music. Butler is in the black trunks for tonight's fight, Diekmann is in the yellow and blue, and our referee is Todd Anderson. Diekmann teases charging Butler at the bell then pumps the brakes. They settle into a stand and trade on their feet, although the boxer Butler surprises with a leg kick at 0:44. Diekmann shoots for a takedown and Butler gets a standing guillotine in response - the hometown favorite Diekmann starts tapping Butler's right leg and then nearly falls down unconscious when Anderson pulls Butler off.
Final result: Butler via submission (standing guillotine) at 1:04 of round one.
Tamdan McCrory vs. Jason Butcher
Round 1: Butcher is in white trunks with blue gloves. McCrory is in white trunks with black trim and red gloves. Our referee in charge is "Big" John McCarthy. McCrory has Butcher to the ground 10 seconds in but Butcher pops back up. McCrory pulls guard trying to get a guillotine and lets Butcher on top 51 seconds in. Butcher is warned not to put a thumb in McCrory's eye and just seconds later McCrory gets the verbal tap via armbar.
Final result: Tamdan McCrory finishes Jason Butcher via armbar submission at 1:06 of R1.
Bobby Flynn vs. Neiman Gracie
Round 1: Flynn is in the gray trunks, Gracie is in the black trunks. Our referee in charge is Dan Miragliotta. Flynn comes out swinging and Gracie rides the storm all the way to a full mount on the ground, taking the back with both hooks in at 44 seconds. Flynn gets to one knee but Gracie stays on his back and locks on a tight body triangle. Gracie keeps trying to suck Flynn in and get under his neck. He's cranking on the neck and gets the tap at 2:36.
Final result: Nieman Gracie via neck crank submission at 2:36 of the first round.
Marvin Maldonado vs. Blair Tugman
Round 1: Tugman got a double leg takedown early, passed guard and controlled for nearly the entire round. He's laying in hard right elbows with 40 seconds left but wasn't able to get a finish. Bad round for Maldonado. 10-9 Tugman - almost a 10-8 given how one-sided it was.
Round 2: Tugman gets a takedown 21 seconds into R2 and quickly jumps to side control. He's trying to improve position to get a choke, gets pushed momentarily to full guard, then passes to half guard again. He gets side control back at 1:58. Tugman briefly considers a key lock. Maldonado tries to give up his back looking for an escape, so Tugman pounds his head from behind with rights. Maldonado crawls to the fence looking for a way out and Tugman gets one hook in. He's got the second hook at 3:42. If he wasn't stuck against the fence he might have gotten a RNC. Tugman gets him off the fence with 30 seconds left, gets full mount, pours on the damage and Maldonado covers up to survive. Tugman hasn't made a mistake yet. 10-9 or 10-8.
Round 3: Tugman goes for a single leg 46 seconds into R3 then doubles his way to a takedown, but Maldonado gets back up at 1:10. Tugman throws him to the ground at 1:33 and gets one hook in, but loses it at 1:50. Tugman smothers Maldonado against the fence and won't let him get away. All Maldonado can do is curl up in a ball. The referee warns Maldonado not to grab the fence. Side control for Tugman. Maldonado tries to push off the fence with his feet. Tugman responds by taking his back with both hooks in at 3:35. He flattens Maldonado out then rides to the top while he was looking for a choke. Maodnado gets him back to full guard. Tugman quickly gets side control again. This will be an easy unanimous decision - Tugman dominated the entire fight.
Final result: Blair Tugman wins via unanimous decision from all three judges - 30-26, 30-27 X2.