The fifth Bellator MMA event of 2015 was the "Brooks vs. Jansen" card, also known as Bellator 136, taking place April 10th, 2015 on Spike TV at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, California.
The featured bout at the top of the card featured the almost flawless "Ill" Will Brooks putting his lightweight title on the line against the streaking "Fugitive" Dave Jansen, winner of seven straight Bellator fights. Brooks solidified his name and reputation by unifying the interim title with the vacant lightweight title, but Jansen was potentially his toughest test yet.
Jansen came out ferocious in the first round, hands and kicks flying, but faded fast after that. By the third round Brooks was landing the right hand repeatedly, and by the fourth he opened up a cut between Jansen's eye with elbows. By the fifth it was academic as Brooks held an exhausted Jansen against the fence, and the judges scored Brooks the unanimous winner 49-46.
Brooks spoke to Jimmy Smith after the bout.
"It feels amazing, especially to fight a guy like Dave Jansen. When you're fighting for a title your emotions get to a different level. Dave Jansen showed his warrior spirit tonight. That guy's tough as hell."
Second from the top was a middleweight slugfest between 2014 Knockout of the Year winner Joe Schilling taking on the Brazilian sensation Rafael Carvalho. The latter came in 10-1 with 9 wins by (technical) knockout including his Bellator debut, while the former perplexed pundits worldwide with his second round finish of Melvin Manhoef.
The judges were equally perplexed trying to score this fight. Schilling appeared to have the striking edge in the first round, Carvalho dominated the second round on the ground and attempted two kimuras, and Schilling got a flash knockdown early in round three only for Carvalho to recover and control position on the ground via takedowns.
All three officials at cageside turned in a different score, but two of them saw it for Carvalho 30-27 and 29-28. The first score announced was 29-28 favoring Joe Schilling, but he did not leave with the decision.
Bellator 136 also had a lightweight bout with future title contender implications. Marcin Held's only loss in his last six Bellator fights was to #1 contender Dave Jansen, and "Tiger" Sarnavskiy's only loss in his last six fights was to the champion Will Brooks. Who moved to the front of the line after this fight?
The first and second round went entirely to Held, who shot for takedowns and rolled for leg locks. Even when Sarnavskiy was able to escape, he was unable to mount any effective offense, and the elbows of Held on the ground were opening up cuts on Sarnavskiy's forehead.
Held made the scorecards academic in round three by finally getting the knee bar he had been looking for, and when Sarnavskiy screamed in pain, "Big" John McCarthy stepped in to stop the fight at 1:11. It was a very Joe Warren-esque finish, and Zombie Prophet has the visual.
Jimmy Smith spoke to Held after the fight.
"It's a great feeling. I was trying this in the first round. I am sure in my next fight I will fight in a title fight. If Will Brooks wins it will be an easy fight. He is not a good ground fighter like Rich Clementi or Pitbull."
Bold words from a man who should by all rights be the next lightweight contender.
To open the live broadcast on Spike TV two experienced heavyweights put their skills on the line. Former champion Alexander "Drago" Volkov went toe to toe with world-traveled AKA veteran Tony "Hulk" Johnson.
Volkov found that his height and his greater pro experience were no match for Johnson's wrestling. "Hulk" used cage pressure to control the position, got takedowns when the openings were there, and Volkov's lone highlight was a kimura attempt in round two that Johnson avoided by taking the back.
Mustachioed referee Mike Beltran pleaded for WORK in round three and Johnson wisely ignored it and continued to smother Volkov standing. The judges scored it 29-28 X2 for Johnson, with one lone judge believing Volkov won two rounds.
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 136 in Irvine.