Bellator 152: "Pitbull vs. Souza" aired last night (Sat., April 16, 2016) from inside Pala Alpitour in Torino, Italy.
In the evening's main event, two veteran fighters decided to test each others' chins. Patricky Freire looked to prove his dominance again with another knockout, while former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter Kevin Souza -- moved up to Lightweight to take this bout -- sought to prove that being a late replacement for Derek Campos wasn't a mistake.
The first two rounds were, to put it mildly, UNDERWHELMING. Souza was content to circle on the outside and try to poke at Freire as he bounced back-and-forth on his feet. Meanwhile, Freire was content to let him do it until he hit a takedown. If one takedown in each round equals victory, Freire was the more effective man, but McCarthy gave both of them a warning in round two for inactivity.
Freire was the clear aggressor in the third round, hitting a takedown with 40 seconds left looking to seal the deal. All of the the judges decided he had done enough and scored it 30-27 in Freire's favor. No post-fight interview followed.
The co-main event featured an Italian favorite coming in off a long stint in UFC, Alessio Sakara, who looked to prove he could be a winner in a new organization. However, "Professional Predator" Brian Rogers stood in his way at Light Heavyweight. Rogers let Sakara bring the fight to him in the first round, waiting for -- and finding -- the opportunity to change levels and hit a takedown. Rogers worked him over on the ground for about two minutes before referee Marc Goddard stood them up with short time left.
Sakara wanted a home run to end the round, but couldn't hit it.
The second round featured an awkward moment where Rogers complained that Sakara had grabbed his hair and held on to deliver a blow to the head, which caused Goddard to momentarily stop the fight and issue a warning. Sakara didn't need to grab anything else, though -- his right hand did the work and a second one ended Rogers' night at 2:29.
Sakara spoke to Jimmy Smith (via translator) about winning big in his Bellator debut.
"In front of all the people it was fun -- I felt like dynamite and I had all the power. I have no fear because I fight in Italy. If Bellator come to Italy, I fight every time, I fight in Italy."
Two Featherweight prospects put their undefeated records on the line as A.J. McKee and Danilo Belluardo met inside the confines of Pala Alpitour to see who would prevail. McKee had a little trouble initially with the height advantage for Belluardo, winding up in a clinch against the fence, but he was able to shove his way free and feel out the range with his hands. Belluardo found his own way to feel it out -- a kick straight to the cup.
Perhaps that was all the motivation McKee needed -- he got Belluardo's attention with a head kick, knocked down Belluardo with a left and pounded it out at 2:44 of round one.
McKee put his shades back on and spoke to Jimmy Smith about the finish.
"I want to thank Scott Coker for believing in me. He signed me to do two things! One -- kick ass. Two -- entertain people. If you don't know me get to know me. If you don't have that belt I don't have my eye on you. People say they have the division on lock - A.J. McKee's got the key and I'm going to open it up."
Knockout looks met caged aggression as media darling Anastasia Yankova came from Russia with love to face Anjela Pink, who was not in any mood to give her diplomatic immunity. Who came out on top?
As you might have expected from the hype for Yankova going in and the lack of pro experience for Pink, this was a one sided fight from the opening bell. Yankova clinched up and threw knees as a hapless Pink was warned to let go of the shorts. Yankova dragged her to the ground, quickly took a full mount, Pink tried in vain to push off the fence with her feet, and Yankova responded for an armbar to tap Pink at 1:35 of round one.
Yankova spoke to Jimmy Smith after the fight.
"Thank you everybody! Thank you my sponsors, thank you Bellator for this chance, it's a special day for me really. I promise I'll come back soon for my second fight in Bellator. Thank you, thank you! It's really great! I feel happy."
Our opening contest featured several hometown favorites at 168 -- Daniele Micele and Daniele Scatizzi. Micele's only chance at winning this fight was in the first 30 seconds. Once Scatizzi got his back off the fence, he was eventually able to drop levels for a takedown, spin his way into a full mount, and pound away from Micele's back when he tried to escape. "Big" John McCarthy had seen enough and stopped the fight at 3:20 of round one.
Scatizzi spoke to Jimmy Smith after the fight (via the translator) he said:
"I hope to stay fighting for Bellator and still fight in Italy. It's a great honor for me in front of all my fans Italian and thank you so much everything for the support."