Bellator 149: "Shamrock vs. Gracie 3" took place tonight (Fri., Feb. 19, 2016) inside Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, streaming live on Spike TV.
The main event of the evening was an Openweight fight decades in the making, putting MMA legends Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie on a collision course for the third -- and most likely final -- time. Gracie won their first fight at the first-ever UFC event, while the second ended via record-setting, 36-minute draw.
Who won their third and final match?
This one will be remembered for a bizarre and controversial finishing sequence. Gracie landed a knee to Shamrock's cup, which he didn't initially seem to feel, but once Gracie clinched up and went for a knee to the head he grabbed his groin as the Brazilian legend hammered out a stoppage at 2:22 of the first round.
Zombie Prophet captured the moment the low blow happened:
Gracie spoke to Jimmy Smith after getting the first TKO of his career.
"I'm a fighter. I'm here to fight. We come from the beginning, where there was no gloves, no rules, no time limit, no weight division."
Shamrock responded and explained his post-fight complaints.
"I'm disappointed. I came here to fight, and I was ready to go however long it went -- just disappointed. I don't know what else to say, I'm just disappointed. I got upset, I was wrong for getting upset, because it wasn't Royce's fault. I just I I just I really wanted this."
Second from the top a Heavyweight slugfest promised to settle a long-simmering South Florida beef between Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson and Dhafir "Dada 5000" Harris -- old friends now turned into deeply bitter foes.
No one expected this to be a pretty fight going in, but it was honestly uglier than you could have imagined. Slice showed that he was the trained athlete of the two, getting takedowns (NOT KIDDING) and then being stood up from full mount for inactivity.
Everything about this fight was beautiful in its absurdity. Harris was nearly given a one point deduction for not knowing where to stand at the start of rounds. Both men had to be helped off their stool after the second stanza. Two lumbering beasts had to go back in despite their utter exhaustion.
Harris' eyes were rolling back in his head even before Slice hit him in the third round. Even though Slice started firing off what could generously be called combos, his punches cut the air like a fork through molasses. Either because of the blows or his own cardio, Harris fell down and McCarthy eagerly waved off the fight at 1:32. He had to be removed on a stretcher after the fight (see pic here).
If you ever wanted to see what a stand-up from full mount looks like Zombie Prophet will show you:
Slice used his last gasp of energy to admit to Jimmy Smith how exhausted he was.
"Oh my God. Thank God. I'm so winded right now. It feels good. I wish it would have went a little bit different, but through hard work the victory is ours."
Derek Campos looked to end a two-fight losing streak at Lightweight at "Shamrock vs. Gracie 3" as did the mercurial Melvin Guillard, who failed to find success in his promotional debut at Bellator 141.
Mike Tyson sat in on commentary as Campos sat down on his punches, stinging Guillard early in round one and double legging him to the ground afterward with ease. For the next few minutes Campos did damage from half guard until Guillard scrambled to his feet. Both men swung wildly to end round one.
The past his prime Guillard was no match for the strikes of Campos in round two, who did not let up and go for a takedown a second time. Guillard wobbled against the fence until one big left dropped him at 32 seconds and forced Don Turnage to stop the fight.
Zombie Prophet shows the world how it looked:
Campos spoke to Jimmy Smith afterward.
"The game plan initially was to take him down, but when he started to trade and I saw him give I said 'Screw the takedown I'm going for the finish.' This was a short notice fight but I feel like I'm definitely back. Whoever I get scheduled I'll have a full training camp and I'll be a hundred times better than I was right now."
Two other Light Heavyweights who knew each other of old fought on the card as Emanuel Newton and Linton Vassell clashed at Bellator 130 back when Newton was the Light Heavyweight champion. Did Newton have his number again in Houston?
Vassell was the superior fighter through most of round one, taking Newton down and keeping him down. He kept the mount as Newton rolled underneath him and only gave up a takedown late before the bell.
Newton was more aggressive with takedown attempts in round two, and more successful in getting them, but his advantage negated when he landed a knee to Vassell's cup late in the period. Kerry Hatley had warned him Newton twice so he was obliged to take a point on the third foul and did.
With the best that Newton could hope for a finish or a draw, he needed to be very aggressive in the third round, but wound up missing on a spinning backfist and only getting one takedown. Vassell scored his own and had full mount to end the fight. The judges gave it to Vassell 30-26 and 29-27 X2.
The debuting Daniel Pineda and the returning Emmanuel Sanchez had a Featherweight fight live on Spike TV to establish the pecking order in their weight class. Sanchez came in off two straight wins in Bellator, while Pineda reeled off three in Legacy FC before tonight's fight.
The first two rounds were a back and forth affair of takedowns, submission attempts and reversals as the announcers openly called the fighters "mirror images" of each other.
The only clear round was the third, as Pineda seemed to have a foot injury to start, and an empty gas tank to finish. He was cleared to continue but didn't do much as Sanchez wound up on top in every scramble and pounded one eye shut. That was enough for the judges to score it 28-29, 29-27, 29-28 for a third straight Sanchez split decision.
Sanchez spoke to Jimmy Smith after the scores were announced.
"I don't know how that's a split decision. Give it up for Pineda. I love Texas! Thank you very much Mr. Scott Coker, Rich Chou for the opportunity. I'm very happy to be here."
The televised bouts were paired with exciting "Prelims" action that aired exclusively on Spike.com.