Bellator 137: "Halsey vs. Grove" takes place TONIGHT (Fri., May 15, 2015) from Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Calif., featuring the first-ever Middleweight title defense for Brandon Halsey, who will collide with top-ranked contender -- and UFC's The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 3 winner -- Kendall Grove in the Spike TV main event.
In addition, there are several interesting fights lined up for tonight's main card, including a potential future Bantamweight contender match between former champion Eduardo Dantas against hard-hitting Mike Richman. Temecula fan favorite, Fernando Gonzalez, is also on a quest to earn a title shot, but Welterweight Curtis Millender won't just step aside for "The Menifee Maniac."
Darrion Caldwell will take on veteran Bantamweight Rafael Silva on the televised broadcast, too.
Bellator 137 will start tonight on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET. MMAmania.com will be here all night long to deliver LIVE results and play-by-play for the televised fights, along with the under card "Prelims" action on Spike.com that begins at 7:30 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 137) about the bouts before you leave and chat with all the other Maniacs during the show -- it's always a lot of fun!
BELLATOR 137 QUICK RESULTS:
Main Card (Spike TV):
Brandon Halsey (c) vs. Kendall Grove -- Halsey via TKO at 2:25 of R4.
Eduardo Dantas vs. Mike Richman -- Dantas via UD 29-28 X3.
Fernando Gonzalez vs. Curtis Millender -- Gonzalez via sub (guillotine) 1:14 of R3.
Darrion Caldwell vs. Rafael Silva -- Darrion Caldwell via UD 29-28 X3.
Preliminary Card (Spike.com):
Benji Radach vs. Ben Reiter -- Reiter via decision 30-27, 29-28, 30-27.
Virgil Zwicker vs. Razak Al-Hassan -- Zwicker by KO at 3:51 of R1.
Joe Taimanglo vs. Antonio Duarte -- Taimanglo via KO at 1:00 of R3.
Jordan Parsons vs. Julio Cesar Neves -- Parsons via arm triangle sub at 4:09 of R3.
Jesse Juarez vs. Ricky Rainey -- Rainey by KO at 1:13 of R2.
BELLATOR 137 PLAY-BY-PLAY:
Brandon Halsey (c) vs. Kendall Grove
Only one man can win the middleweight title tonight and that's Grove in the black trunks. Even if Halsey is victorious he has been stripped of the belt for missing weight last night. Halsey is in the blue trunks for our main event. He's undefeated at 8-0, and the former TUF winner Grove is 21-14. Our referee in charge is Mike Beltran.
Round 1: Halsey opens the action with a few leg kicks and looks for a single leg, getting the takedown at 24 seconds. He's got full mount at 38 seconds and looking for the arm triangle. Halsey is squeezing tight but Grove is surviving at the one minute mark. Halsey keeps moving to the right side of Grove's body trying to get it tighter. He can't submit him that way so he takes the back. Beltran warns him about the back of the head. He hammers away with right hands to Grove's head, then left elbows with Grove flips over again. Beltran warns Grove he'll stop it if he doesn't fight back. Halsey briefly considers a leg lock then goes for it again at 2:46. Grove stands up and misses wildly with a punch. Halsey puts Grove back on the ground the moment he lets it go and takes the back at 3:35. Grove turtles to avoid damage but can't avoid the right hand hammers. Grove turns and Halsey stands and backs away at 4:18 then goes back into full guard at 4:25. Grove lands an upkick and Halsey backs off. 10-9 for Halsey.
Round 2: Grove is trying to use his length to keep Halsey and range and his build to wear down the more muscular Halsey. "The Bull" is having trouble keeping his hands up high. Halsey goes for a single leg, switches his attempt, and gets Grove to the ground as we pass 2:30. He postures up and drops a thudding right. Tito Ortiz looks on as Grove takes damage. Grove tries to spin out but Halsey keeps half guardlooking to pass. Grove tries to push off with his feet on the Dave & Busters logo but he's eating hard left forearms and elbows. It's no wonder Halsey didn't make weight when you look at the size of his arms. Another 10-9 for the former champ.
Round 3: Halsey gets Grove to the ground again 35 seconds into R3. If Grove was hoping the muscular Halsey would tire out it hasn't worked out that way so far. Halsey imposes his physical will from half guard and Grove doesn't seem able to get a ground game going. Halsey quickly backs out of a triangle attempt, then shrugs off another when he gets back into guard, getting the back and cranking on Grove's neck. Grove gets out at 2:17. Halsey pounds with rights as Grove turns to give Halsey half guard again. Grove gets him to full guard with 3 minutes gone. Beltran orders a stand up at 3:44. Halsey gets another takedown at 3:52 and the crowd lets their displeasure be known. He tries to posture up from guard and Grove looks for an armbar to no avail as Halsey moves to half. 10-9 again for Halsey.
Round 4: Grove goes for guillotine after getting rocked early in R4 but that didn't emerge and he's brought down again 48 seconds in. Beltran warns Grove to fight back as he eats multiple unanswered rights. Grove goes for an armbar and Halsey yanks free at 1:33. Beltran gives another warning at 1:42 and Grove just barely does enough to survive. Another warning to Grove and at 2:25 the ref has finally seen enough.
Final result: "The Bull" Brandon Halsey wins via TKO at 2:25 of the fourth round.
Eduardo Dantas vs. Mike Richman
This fight was changed to a catchweight of 139 pounds due to Richman's failure to make weight. He's in the black trunks for tonight's bout. Dantas is in the white trunks. Our referee is Michael Bell. Both men refuse to touch gloves to start the fight.
Round 1: Dantas gets a takedown six seconds in but Richman is back up at 0:17. Dantas takes him down again at 0:59 and this time Richman can't pop up quickly. Hard right elbow lands as Richman tries to hold Dantas at bay with the butterfly guard. He gets up again at 1:54. They break apart ten seconds later. Dantas has a cut over his left brow. he gets a single leg with a leg trip and Richman gets a warning for grabbing the fence in the process. Richman sits up at 2:54 and gets up at 3:13. Hard body kicks by Dantas at 3:54 and again at 4:18. Dantas misses on a single leg and backs off. 10-9 Dantas.
Round 2: Richman is pushing forward for the first 45 seconds of R2. Dantas tries to drop levels but there's no opening there. Richman stuffs a takedown and briefly goes for a guillotine. Dantas goes for it again at 1:50 and Richman backs up to the fence. Dantas lands a overhand right, dives for a single, doesn't get it. Dantas is leaving his hands down and Richman makes him pay with a step in uppercut. Richman is starting to pile up a striking advantage and if the judges weren't impressed by Dantas in R1 he could wind up in a deep hole in R3. Dantas lands a straight right hand with 33 seconds left and Richman sprawls to block the quick takedown attempt that follows. A clear 10-9 for Richman.
Round 3: Richman continues to press his size and striking advantage but Dantas finally gets a single leg at 1:03 after failing for the last five minutes. Richman tries to scoot backward but at the center of the cage he doesn't have much place to go. Call for work at 1:56 by Michael Bell - again at 2:19 then at 2:31. Richman finally gets to the fence and gets back up at 2:58 but he's got a bloody lip. Dantas goes for a single leg right away to no avail. Dantas has blood pouring from a cut above his left eyebrow. Bell calls for work as they clinch at 3:33. Bell stops it at 3:40 for a reset. Dantas dives, Richman sprawls. The crowd is getting restless. Dantas goes for a takedown at 4:38 that's not there. Dantas smears his blood on the top of Richman's shaved head as they clinch until the bell. 10-9 Richman but as they always say "never leave it to the judges."
Final result: The judges score this contest unanimously 29-28 for Eduardo Dantas.
Fernando Gonzalez vs. Curtis Millender
Round 1: Millender is in the black trunks with a record of 7-1. Gonzalez is in the red trunks sporting a record of 23-13. Our referee in charge is "Big" John McCarthy. Gonzalez shows little fear of the height and length advantage of Millender early and lands a double left at 38 seconds. Millender's best strike so far is a body kick at 1:40. He's letting Gonzalez push the action until he pushes back with a push kick at the two minute mark. Gonzalez body locks and hits knees against the fence as he searches for an opening to level change. Millender pushes him away at 2:44. Gonzalez avoids a 1-2 combo by backing away. For having the reach advantage Millender can't seem to find his range. Gonzalez puts a left on his chin. Gonzalez with an over the top right. Millender smiles and shakes his head - a sure sign he got clipped. Millender tries to kick out the knee. Gonzalez keeps pressing forward. He takes the back with 10 seconds left, throws Millender down and gets a few hammers before the bell. 10-9 Gonzalez.
Round 2: Millender continues to target the knee with push kicks in the first minute of R2 as Gonzalez constantly switches up his stance. Millender seems to be hoping the jabs he lands at distance are creating a striking advantage on the scorecards, but it probably looks better that Gonzalez momentarily went down at 2:28 - though it's not clear that was a knockdown and may just have been Gonzalez shooting. He clinches at 3:06 and throws knees but gets so high that Millender catches his leg and takes him down. Gonzalez gets up covering up at 3:42 and takes another push kick to the left knee. Gonzalez throws a head kick. Leg kick and a push kick by Millender. Gonzalez didn't land a lot of effective strikes this round so it's likely going to swing to Millender with the judges.
Round 3: Gonzalez is trying to chase Millender down - he may feel that he didn't get the first round and can't think he got the second. He tries to jump guard for a guillotine and gives up a takedown to Millender. He cranks hard and GETS THE TAP AT 1:14.
Final result: Fernando Gonzalez picks up his fourth straight Bellator win with the guillotine submission 1:14 into R3.
Darrion Caldwell vs. Rafael Silva
Round 1: Silva is in the white trunks, 22-4 coming into this bout. Caldwell is in the black trunks and a perfect 6-0 tonight. Our referee in charge is Mike Beltran. Caldwell lands the first kick early. He throws a superman punch with the left. Silva is unfazed. Silva and Caldwell jockey for a level change and Caldwell winds up on top in half guard. Silva goes for a foot lock. Caldwell gets back up at 1:44 and trips to a takedown in full guard. Silva scoots to the fence and tries to push off with his feet but can't shake Caldwell off. Caldwell lays in some elbows before Silva can tie up his arms. Beltran warns Caldwell about fingers to the eyes. He backs out at 3:15 and jumps back on in side control. Knee to the belly at 3:34 as he tries and fails to get full mount. He tries again at 3:50 and Silva goes for another heel hook - Caldwell escapes and is back in side control again. Right elbow lands. Silva briefly gets to his knees and is pushed back down. Silva goes for a leg and can't sweep before R1 ends. 10-9 Caldwell.
Round 2: Not much happens in the first minute of R2 as both men take small stutter steps and wing out kicks. Caldwell starts circling as the round progresses. Caldwell throws a head kick that's checked and slips a bit - Silva doesn't pounce. Caldwell shoots for a single and Silva jumps looking for a guillotine. He lets Caldwell on top and he's still going for the choke. It looks like Caldwell will pop his head out at any moment and he does at 2:26. More elbows from the closed guard for Caldwell. Beltran calls for work at 3:02. Silva goes for yet another leg lock and Beltran warns Caldwell not to grab the fence as he looks to escape and does. Silva tries to get a single leg of his own and does at 3:49. Caldwell momentarily has his head trapped but Silva slips out at 4:11. Beltran calls for work at 4:24. Silva lands a couple of left hands but Caldwell is getting back up at the bell. I don't think Silva did enough late in R2 to win it so it's another 10-9 for Caldwell.
Round 3: Caldwell opens R3 with a flurry then settles down to the familiar pattern of circling and looking for openings. Silva keeps begging Caldwell to engage. Caldwell stuffs a takedown attempt and the two body lock to the fence at 1:34. Caldwell throws him to the ground at 1:45 and is on top as Silva tries to keep distance with the butterfly guard. Caldwell tries to pass to side but the fence is making it hard. Caldwell gets the back for a moment at 2:53 and has side control for just as short a time before he ends up in half guard. Beltran stands them up at 3:25 after a warning not to grab the fence. Silva needs to go for broke. He eats a push kick, then swings and misses. Caldwell dives for a single and gets the takedown at 4:05. That should seal the deal. Silva gets up at 4:48 and keeps one hand down to avoid any knees but it's not going to help him on the scorecards. We go to the judges.
Final result: All three judges score it 29-28 for Darrion Caldwell.
Benji Radach vs. Ben Reiter
Round 1: Reiter is 15-0-1 in white trunks. Radach is 21-6 and also in white trunks. Reiter has on blue gloves and Radach the red. Our referee in charge is Michael Bell. Reiter takes him down 25 seconds in. Radach gets back up at 1:13 and throws a couple of knees. Bell calls for work at 1:32. Reiter picks him up high in the arm for a slam at 1:40. Reiter tries to open up with the hands as Bell calls for work again at 2:21. Radach stays sticky on the bottom forcing Bell to call for work again at 2:57. Reiter finally lands a few rights to the ribs. Bell hasn't seen enough though and stands them at 3:40. Reiter shoots and Radach sprawls to block at 4:31. 10-9 Reiter.
Round 2: Reiter misses with a spinning backfist 20 seconds into the second round. Radach slips and stumbles, Reiter swarms on him, and he gets the single leg at 1:30. Radach gets back up at 1:50 and widens his stance. Another takedown by Reiter at 2:08. A call for work at 2:30. Bell stands them up at 3:10 and tells Reiter he has to do something effective. Radach tries to back Reiter up to the fence and eats a head kick instead that makes him wobble going backward. Reiter goes for a takedown instead of a finish and he gets it. 10-9 round for Reiter.
Round 3: Radach opens up with rights in the first 15 seconds of R3, but Reiter lifts him in the air and slams him on his shoulder at 39 seconds. Michael Bell calls for work at 1:23. He makes it clear both men have to work 10 seconds later. They're stood up at 2:15 right as it looked like Reiter was about to pass, and he's unhappy about it. Radach avoids a takedown at 2:52. Radach stuffs another takedown and stands at 3:15. Both men seem exhausted as they lumber across the cage. Radach is landing some shots against the fence. Reiter gets the takedown at 3:47. Radach is bleeding from the mouth as Reiter pushes him down into full guard. Bell calls for work at 4:33. A stand-up at this point is useless but he calls for work again at 4:48. Reiter should take a UD.
Final result: Reiter stays undefeated with scorecards of 30-27, 29-28, 30-27 unanimous.
Virgil Zwicker vs. Razak Al-Hassan
Round 1: "Big" John McCarthy is our referee. Zwicker is in the blue trunks, Al-Hassan the black. McCarthy warns Al-Hassan not to extend his fingers while striking very early on. Al-Hassan is pushing forward and throwing lots of kicks. He slips on one and gets back up at 1:05 when Zwicker doesn't pounce. Zwicker is keeping his right hand cocked and loaded while a trickle of blood runs down his left eye. They trade shots standing at 2:48. Al-Hassan lands a backfist. Zwicker responds with a leaping right hand and more shots standing and Al-Hassan drops at 3:50. He gets back up, Zwicker lands an uppercut that floors Al-Hassan, and McCarthy stops the bout.
Final result: Virgil Zwicker wins via knockout at 3:51 of the first round.
Joe Taimanglo vs. Antonio Duarte
Round 1: Our referee is Mike Beltran. Duarte is in the red trunks, Taimanglo the black trunks. Taimanglo gets a takedown at 36 seconds but can't keep Duarte down. Taimanglo tries a superman punch. Duarte tries a head kick that's checked followed by a spinning back kick. Jimmy Smith jokes about how he thought Taimanglo would shave his long hair off to make the 0.2 pounds he was over at the weigh-in. Taimanglo throws Duarte and he's right back up. Duarte is wearing the fight on the left side of his face from a cut under his eye. Taimanglo tries a jump knee at 4:40. Duarte misses with a spin kick, goes for his own jump knee, and is taken down before the bell. 10-9 Taimanglo.
Round 2: Duarte and Taimanglo both try head kicks in the first half minute of R2. Taimanglo lands a solid right to the head. He drops levels at 1:12 but quickly lets it go. Duarte works the leg kicks as Taimanglo tries to come forward and land bombs. Taimanglo shoots at 2:06 and tries to twist it to the ground but Duarte escapes. Taimanglo has to keep pushing the hair out of his eyes. Maybe he really should have shaved it off. Leg kick by Taimanglo and a couple of rights. Leg trip takedown doesn't quite work but a second attempt does, and Taimanglo goes for a guillotine as Duarte looks to get up. Duarte finally escapes at 4:27. Taimanglo throws a superman elbow. Blood running down Duarte's face to end R2 - he's looking pretty roughed up. 10-9 Taimanglo.
Round 3: Taimanglo goes for a takedown 30 seconds in but nothing's there. Taimanglo hits a one punch knockout right hand 60 seconds into R3. This is over!!
Final result: Joe Taimanglo via knockout at 1:00 of the third round.
Jordan Parsons vs. Julio Cesar Neves
Round 1: Neves is in the white trunks. Parsons is in the black. Our referee is Michael Bell. Neves tries a jumping knee 22 seconds in. Parsons is chasing him but Neves is dancing away and not getting backed toward the fence. Leg kicks keep landing for Neves. Parsons catches a leg at 1:40 but Neves hops away until the video feed starts buffering and then breaks completely. When we come back it's 3:52 into the round. Parsons is still chasing and Neves is still landing leg kicks so it doesn't appear much changed. Neves gets turned into the fence with 20 seconds left but Parsons can't get a takedown before the bell.
Round 2: Neves pushes Parsons to the fence but as with late in R1 Parsons turns him around against the cage. Neves goes for a hip toss and misses, and Parsons tries to get a leg trip, then Bell stops the fight as Parsons lands a knee right to the cup. Neves drops down to his knees in a lot of pain trying to recover as Parsons paces anxiously back and forth on the opposite side. We finally get time in at 2:10 of the round. Neves lands a spinning backfist flush and tries to pour it on against the cage. Parsons turns him around again at 2:47. They continue to dance and Parsons tries to get the takedown but can only get Neves to his knees. The ref restarts them after too much inactivity against the fence at 3:57. Parsons and Neves are winging shots. Parsons hits a takedown at 4:43 and Neves gets right back up. Despite the feed blacking out for most of R1 this appears to be a very close fight.
Round 3: Parsons is trying to punch it out early in R3, and he gets Neves against the fence 30 seconds in landing uppercuts until Neves puts a hand down to avoid taking a knee. Parsons tries to put himself in position for a guillotine, lands some elbows as Neves nearly gets a takedown from it, then Neves tries to take the back, as Parsons slips out and works him over against the fence. The ref calls for work at 2:14. Parsons hits a takedown at 2:29 and quickly moves to full mount. Parsons is landing some big elbows and Neves is cut. Parsons moves to side control looking for the head and arm choke and he taps at with just under a minute left - Parsons hands Neves his first loss!
Final result: Jordan Parsons wins via submission (arm triangle choke) at 4:09 of the third round.
Jesse Juarez vs. Ricky Rainey
Round 1: Our referee in charge is "Big" John McCarthy. Rainey is in the white/blue trunks, Juarez is in the red. Juarez is keeping his hands low initially, then brings his stance up a little after Rainey throws a high kick. 1:20 in Rainey gets him against the fence in a clinch for some knees and uppercuts, but Juarez is able to break free. They push across the cage with Juarez getting a takedown at 1:59. He tries to hop right back up, Juarez pulls him down, but he finally stands at 2:16. Rainey again goes for clinch work and knees and Juarez covers up to survive. Juarez gets another takedown at 3:06 and slips behind looking for a back mount but Rainey blocks it and gets up, but McCarthy has to warn him to let go of the fence and then slap his hand away. Rainey rocks him with a knee and pours on shots with 33 seconds left as McCarthy warns him to watch the back of the head. He tries a rear naked but can't sink it in. Rainey lets him stand and wobbles him with shots as McCarthy warns him to fight back. Rainey was borderline to a 10-8 there.
Round 2: Rainey immediately pushes Juarez toward the fence to open R2. He's pawing away with the jabs and leg kicks trying to measure the range. Juarez is moving left and right but not getting off the fence, and he gets hurt with a left then dropped with a knee 1:10+ in and McCarthy waves off the fight.
Final result: Ricky Rainey by KO at 1:13 of round two.