Bellator 171: "Guillard vs. Njokuani" takes place TONIGHT (Fri. Jan. 27, 2017) from inside Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Kans., featuring a 180-pound Catchweight main event between "The Young Assassin" Melvin Guillard and Chidi Njokuani. Local favorite "The Caveman" David Rickels and career journeyman Aaron Derrow will also be featured on the Spike TV telecast, as well as Featherweight star A.J. McKee making a quick return following a bout in Dec. 2016 -- and looking to remain unbeaten -- against Brandon Phillips.
Bellator 171 will start tonight at 9 p.m. ET. MMAmania.com will be here all night long to deliver LIVE results and play-by-play starting with the preliminary bouts tonight 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 171) about the bouts and chat with all the other Maniacs during the show -- it's always a lot of fun!
BELLATOR 171 QUICK RESULTS:
Melvin Guillard vs. Chidi Njokuani -- Njokuani UD 30-25, 30-24, 30-26.
Dave Rickels vs. Aaron Derrow -- Rickels TKO 0:44 R3.
A.J. McKee vs. Brandon Phillips -- McKee UD 29-28 X2, 30-27.
Jessica Middleton vs. Alice Yauger -- Middleton UD 29-28, 30-26 X2.
Chris Harris vs. Jordan Young -- Young UD 30-26, 30-27 X2.
Gaston Reyno vs. Justin Overton -- Overton via RNC 0:34 R2.
Will Lavine vs. Domo Garcia -- Garcia via triangle choke 2:08 R2.
Chance Rencountre vs. Jake Lindsay -- Rencountre SD 29-28, 28-29, 29-28.
Johnny Marigo vs. Joe Fulk -- Marigo TKO 1:23 R1.
Manny Meraz vs. Scott Heston -- Meraz UD 29-27, 29-28 X2.
Craig Farley vs. Mike Breeden -- Breeden TKO 4:38 R1.
Jarod Trice vs. Kevin Woltkamp -- Trice KO 3:17 R2.
Tyrell Fortune vs. Will Johnson -- Fortune TKO 4:27 R2.
Bruna Ellen vs. Carmella James -- Ellen UD 29-28, 30-27 X2.
BELLATOR 171 PLAY-BY-PLAY:
Melvin Guillard vs. Chidi Njokuani
Guillard fights out of Coconut Creek, Florida in the red trunks with a lengthy career record of 32-16-2 (3 NC). Njokuani fights out of Las Vegas, Nevada in the black trunks with a record of 16-4, 1 NC. The two exchange a respectful glove tap as Njokuani enters the cage heading to his corner. Our referee is John McCarthy.
Round 1: One more glove tap gets us underway in Mulvane. Njokuani takes the center with his height and reach difference already apparent. Njokuani uses it to his advantage and lands the first kick. Guillard moves back and forth on the outside as the crowd quickly loses patients. Guillard tries to rush and eats a body kick. McCarthy gets tired of it at 1:24 and instructs them to both be more active. Njokuani throws a kick and Guillard goes for a takedown. No dice. Njokuani puts him on the fence. McCarthy calls time at 2:12 as Njokuani takes a low blow. We resume with Guillard eating a hard shot and getting a takedown as we pass the halfway point. Njokuani throws him off and pops back up to his feet. Hard body kick by Njokuani, and another, and Guillard appears to be in trouble as he goes to the ground. Unfortunately McCarthy stops the fight as Njokuani was throwing a knee as Guillard was getting up, then sat back down before it connected, so McCarthy is not going to deduct a point but says he will if he's not more careful. Njokuani throws a head kick after the restart, followed by kicks to the body. Guillard tries to get in tight with a left hand but is turned around to the fence before the bell. 10-9 Njokuani.
Round 2: Both McCarthy and the crowd are thirsty for more action 30 seconds into the round. Guillard shoots and it backfires as Njokuani ends up on top at 0:42. Guillard tries to keep his knees up and stop Njokuani from passing but he still gets North-South then spins to take the back, then spins again and somehow gives up the back as he's going for a kimura. Guillard escapes but gets kicked hard as he does and is back on the ground with Njokuani pummeling him in the head. The crowd is non-plussed at 2:40 but it doesn't matter because Njokuani is running up the damage. Anything that came after Rickels in Mulvane was likely to get a lukewarm response anyway. Njokuani really pours it on with lefts and rights at 3:22. McCarthy stands right there looking for a reason to wave it off but Guillard keeps doing just enough to survive. McCarthy stands them up at 4:20. Njokuani smacks Guillard with another body kick, and a liver kick late that makes Guillard wince and double over. He survives to R3 but just barely. 10-8 Njokuani.
Round 3: Guillard is praying for a takedown by pushing Njokuani into the fence, but Njokuani throws him to the ground at 0:58 instead. This is just one too many beatings for Guillard and I'm not thrilled to still see him taking them. McCarthy calls out a cut due to an elbow as Njokuani works him over on top -- and still the crowd in Mulvane wants more. Whatever they are chanting now almost certainly has nothing to do with the fight. Some of the patrons may have even left to go try their luck at the slots in the casino. Njokuani stands up at 3:09 looking to literally stomp a mud hole into Guillard. He gets back on top and his coaches yell "GRIND HIM OUT!" That's exactly what this is right now. It's a grind for Njokuani, it's a grind for the crowd, it's a grind for the viewers at home who are tuned in. Guillard is trying to use the fence to sit up but instead McCarthy stands them up with a half minute left. Guillard gets a late takedown at 4:48 but Njokuani sweeps to the top at the bell. "Bang Bang" will pitch a shutout with the judges.
Final result: 30-25, 30-24 and 30-26 all for Chidi Njokuani by unanimous decision.
Dave Rickels vs. Aaron Derrow
Derrow is out first in the blue gloves and black trunks for our co-main event, career record of 14-8 with 10 submissions coming into the fight out of Blue Springs, Missouri. Red gloves and black trunks for "The Caveman" at 17-4, 2 NC as everybody literally freezes while his music plays. He comes down to the cage with a giant throwing spear in his hand. Rickels fights out of Derby, Kansas. Our referee is Rob Hinds.
Round 1: Rickels and Derrow square up and Derrow gets hurt 17 seconds into the fight. Rickels swarms him on the ground taking the back and throwing rights then winding up in the guard on top as Derrow tries to wrap his long legs around a fearsome foe. Rickels throws hard right hands to the body and steps back for a stomp, then drops a few rights down the pipe and gets back into that guard at 1:30. Rickels pulls out of Derrow trying to fish for a submission then hammers another right hand down the middle. Once again Rickels pulls out at 2:20 and waves his hand in the air to pop the crowd, then comes back on top with some left elbows, then backs away at the 3 minute mark. He gets back in again with another hard right hand to the body. Rickels is warned to keep his fingers out of Derrow's eyes so he uses elbows and hammerfists instead. Each time he backs away and comes back in now it's with another hard body shot and big elbow. Rickels finally lets Derrow up at 4:10 and they trade. Derrow gets a takedown at 4:20 but can't do anything with it. Very nearly a 10-8 for Rickels in the opening round.
Round 2: Derrow shoots for a takedown almost immediately to open R2 and doesn't get it. Rickels clocks Derrow with an overhand right. Jumping left hand wobbles Derrow and Rickels is on top of him quickly with some vicious elbows. He sits up and fires off lefts and rights and all Derrow can do is cover up. Hinds is watching closely looking for a moment where it's too much for Derrow but he hasn't seen it yet. Rickels stands up at 2:08. He doesn't let Derrow up though - he jumps back on top and clubs away like the caveman that he is. Derrow almost gives up his neck trying to get away from the damage. Rickels drops two big elbows on him at 3:10. Rickels walks away and gets back on top with elbows to the body and the head. Hinds warns Rickels to watch the fingers to the eyes. Rickels must be wondering how much more damage he has to inflict before it gets stopped. He stands up again at 4:41 and teases jumping over the top for a shot but the end of the round cuts him off. 10-8 Rickels.
Round 3: Sean Grande and Jimmy Smith both seem flabbergasted that Derrow came back out for R3. He gets dropped 35 seconds into the third and it's over just about ten seconds later. That's all she wrote. Rickels jumps up on the cage to celebrate with his fans in Kansas.
Final result: "Caveman" Rickels wins via technical knockout at 0:44 of the third round.
A.J. McKee vs. Brandon Phillips
Our first televised bout tonight! McKee is undefeated at 6-0 and fighting out of Lakewood, Calif. wearing black trunks. His opponent Phillips is 6-2 and fighting out of Wichita, Kansas in the red trunks. Our referee in charge is Rob Hinds.
Round 1: McKee sends Phillips flying across the cage with a push kick three seconds into the fight. After an opening flurry McKee settles down for a bit, and Hinds warns him to watch his fingers several times. Phillips hasn't been able to land much other than a leg kick through the first 90 seconds. He's getting caught looking as McKee dances around him and fires hands and feet. McKee lands both hands flush at 2:02 and Phillips taps him with a couple more kicks to the right leg. Phillips is doing the old "come at me bro" and McKee's not taking the bait - continuing to circle and attack. Hinds calls for a break when he thought McKee was kicked in the cup but McKee says he's fine so he immediately restarts the fight with a minute left in the first. Phillips lands a couple of nice leg kicks and both fighters are taunting now. A 10-9 for McKee but Phillips got better as the round went on.
Round 2: McKee is throwing kicks again early but none overwhelm Phillips this time. Phillips has to move quick to avoid a head kick at 1:30. McKee taunts that he'll nail Phillips with a reverse kick while looking away, and Phillips dares him to try. McKee is getting out of the range of most hands that Phillips throws. McKee drops levels looking for a takedown at 3:45 but it's not there. The crowd starts chanting for Phillips and he puts his hands in the air as though he heard them. Knee to the body by McKee. Front kick. Right hook by McKee. Leg kick. Phillips tries to score late but can't quite connect, though at the bell McKee seems to be squinting like something is in his left eye.
Round 3: McKee is ready to go with no issues to open R3. Phillips is still trying to be the pressure fighter but McKee is able to land the better strikes at range including a spin kick at 1:20. The only way this works for Phillips is if he can back McKee up to the fence and keep him there, which he did briefly, but McKee ends that hope with a takedown. Phillips gets back to his feet at 2:17 though and lands a couple of good shots in the scramble. McKee throws a head kick and Phillips punches him right in the junk. Phillips is head hunting looking to land a big right. It's cocked high next to his chin, ready to unload if he can get in. He clocks McKee with a left hook at 4:27. McKee gets a late takedown at 4:46 which may make the difference in a close round.
Final result: 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 all for A.J. McKee by unanimous decision.
Jessica Middleton vs. Alice Yauger
Middleton fights out of Wichita, Kansas with a professional record of 1-0 in the dark blue top and trunks. Yauger fights out of Fort Worth, Texas with a record of 4-4 in the silver top and trunks. Our referee in charge is John McCarthy.
Round 1: Middleton establishes the range with a few kicks as Yauger circles on the outside. Yauger lands a left hook at 1:05. Middleton cautiously pushes her way into range with her right hand up. Middleton and Yauger clash leg kicks. Yauger seems to have a little more bounce in her step which probably reflects her veteran experience. Nice exchange at 3:02 but Yauger got the worst of it. Middleton puts a right on her chin at 3:31. McCarthy reminds the fighters to keep their hands closed while striking. The crowd is chanting loudly for Jessica. Both women have redder faces at the end of this round than the start. 10-9 Middleton.
Round 2: Middleton keeps pressuring Yauger but can't quite cut the angle to keep her against the fence. A right hook has hurt Yauger though and she tries up trying to save herself. Middleton comes over the top with a right elbow and Yauger gets out of there quick. Middleton is stalking now two minutes into the round, pawing with a left and throwing the right hook. Yauger winced when one connected, Middleton may have thought it was illegal, McCarthy says it was legal and to continue. Yauger's in big trouble either way. She gets clocked with a left as Middleton continues to hunt her down. Yauger is cut up and bleeding. Another big right with two minutes left.Yauger winces in pain again and puts both arms up - almost surrendering in the cage. She gets her wits about her though and McCarthy doesn't wave it off but the end is coming with 80 seconds left. Yauger may not answer the bell for R3 even if she gets there. Blood is streaming down her left cheek. Middleton is adding insult to injuries with leg kicks. Big 10-8 round for Middleton.
Round 3: To my surprise Yauger is going to continue. She goes for a single leg and gets it to boot. Middleton has her back to the fence and is looking to get back up. McCarthy is warning Yauger to keep her strikes clean. Middleton is defending well and nearly gets up once but Yauger keeps her 50/50 on the knees and Middleton finally pops free after a long struggle at 1:52, and takes the back while doing so. Now Yauger is in trouble as she's bloody and tired and the younger fighter has both hooks in. Middleton is looking for the rear naked choke and the crowd wants it badly. Less than two minutes remain on the block. Yauger keeps trying to sit up but she's going nowhere with Middleton's long legs wrapped around her. Yauger looks like she's going to survive. Middleton gives up top in the final seconds as she attempts to sink in an armbar, so Yauger gets off a few late strikes. Still 10-9 Middleton.
Final result: The judges score this contest 29-28, 30-26 and 30-26 for Jessica Middleton.
Chris Harris vs. Jordan Young
Round 1: Black trunks for Young, 5-0 out of Coconut Creek, Florida. Red trunks for Harris, 8-0 out of Wichita, Kansas. Our referee in charge for this contest is John McCarthy. Harris is moving fast and trying to overwhelm Young early, and Young is content to fall back and be the counter fighter. Harris lands a good right over the top at 1:18. Young is trying to use the jab to keep Harris at range but he just switches to leg kicks in response. Young catches one and turns it into a takedown at 2:16 getting side control quickly. Harris tries to stand up, Young nearly has a d'arce choke, Harris avoids it and we reset standing. Young gets a leg trip off the clinch at 3:01. McCarthy calls out a cut due to a punch. Young lets Harris back up at 3:42. Young teases a jump knee. McCarthy reminds Young to keep his hand closed. 10-9 round for Young ends with some strong stand-up.
Round 2: The confidence is growing for Young as he has thus far used his height and reach advantages successfully. Harris' face is starting to wear the fight. Harris can sneak in a jab here and there but Young has a 2-1 or better ratio on strikes landed, content to go to the body and the head, whatever opening he sees. Harris tries leg kicks. Young continues to pick him apart on the feet. Overhand rights are connecting hard. They briefly clinch but Young misses a leg trip. Harris' face is bright red now. It's not clear how much more of this Harris can or should take. Shades of Dantas busting up Galvao watching this. This could be argued to be a 10-8 for Young. McCarthy calls for a doctor to check on Harris' eye.
Round 3: Harris is being popped with jabs and hooks repeatedly now. One snaps his head around at 34 seconds. Harris looks bad. His face is a mess, his hair is a mess, he's just a mess. The partisan crowd is still trying to will him on though and gets excited when he momentarily backs Young into the fence and lands a combo. He does it again at 1:40 and they still have hope. McCarthy warns Harris to keep his mouthpiece in and stops the action momentarily to put it back in. The crowd chants for Harris for a bit. Young cracks Harris with a knee when he tries to press to the cage. Young turns Harris around when he closes the distance, Harris tries to respond by reversing and going for the back, it doesn't work and Young gets the takedown but loses position going for a mount. Harris is trying like crazy to turn this into a brawl but he'd have to rock Young to have a chance. 30 seconds remain. Harris fails to land the shot he needs in the time remaining.
Final result: The judges score it 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27 for Jordan Young by unanimous decision.
Gaston Reyno vs. Justin Overton
Round 1: Black trunks for Overton, 3-2, fighting out of Manhattan, Kansas. Blue trunks for Reyno, 6-1, fighting out of Montevideo, Uruguay. Our referee in charge is John McCarthy. Reyno is taken down seven seconds into the fight and when he tries to get back up Overton takes him down again and gets both hooks in. Overton is hunting for the rear naked choke early. Reyno is trying to turn away from danger. Overton's corner tells him if the choke's not there don't lose your hooks. Reyno finally pops his head out at 2:15 but Overton still has the hooks in. McCarthy warns them to get busy at 3:20 and again at 3:33. Overton transitions to full mount at 3:47 and Reyno gives up his back again. Reyno did virtually nothing other than escape so this is a blowout 10-8 round for Overton.
Round 2: Overton gets a couple of big shots off on Reyno including an overhand right that makes Reyno reel and wobble, a takedown to follow up 15 seconds into R2, and he chokes out Reyno 34 seconds into the round with no tap. After the submission he holds Reyno's legs up to help get the blood back to his brain and wake him back up. He screams "JIU-JITSU OR DIE!" to cap off the performance.
Final result: Justin Overton wins via rear naked choke (technical submission) at 0:34 of the second round.
Will Lavine vs. Domo Garcia
Round 1: Unaired on Spike.com.
Final result: Domo Garcia wins via submission (triangle choke) at 2:08 of the second round.
Chance Rencountre vs. Jake Lindsay
Round 1: Unaired on Spike.com.
Final result: Chance Rencountre wins a split decision of 29-28, 28-29, 29-28.
Johnny Marigo vs. Joe Fulk
Round 1: Unaired on Spike.com.
Final result: Johnny Marigo wins via technical knockout at 1:23 of the first round.
Manny Meraz vs. Scott Heston
Round 1: Unaired on Spike.com.
Final result: Manny Meraz wins a unanimous decision of 29-27 and 29-28 X2.
Craig Farley vs. Mike Breeden
Round 1: Unaired on Spike.com.
Final result: Mike Breeden wins via technical knockout at 4:38 of the first round.
Jarod Trice vs. Kevin Woltkamp
Round 1: Woltkamp is in the blue gloves, officially 0-2, fighting out of Edgerton, Kansas. Trice is in the red gloves, 1-0, fighting out of Phoenix, Arizona. Our referee is Rob Hinds. Woltkamp ends up on the outside circle 10 seconds into the bout and Trice is happy to take the center and throw shots. Trice picks the leg at one point but Woltkamp quickly gets back up. Both fighters are a bit flat footed but Trice is more fluid of the two and he's going body head with his shots. He's starting to feel it at 2:30 and dancing back and forth on his feet - at which point the prelim stream breaks. I'm trying like crazy to get it back and each time it makes me watch another commercial. Thankfully Trice didn't get the finish while it was down - he's still outboxing Woltkamp with 10 seconds left in R1 until the bell.
Round 2: The start of round two is delayed because the decals on the canvas are coming off and sticking to Trice's feet. Hinds does his best to clean it off. Trice continues to work his stand-up game, showing little interest in showing off his wrestling pedigree thus far in the fight. The stream breaks again. We're back at 3:00 just in time for Trice to finally land enough shots on Woltkamp to make Rob Hinds wave it off. Grande points out that it started 35-40 seconds earlier just to rub it in. We see a left hand over the top, a right and a left to the chin, and one last left hook as Woltkamp was stumbling backward without defending himself on the replay.
Final result: Jarod Trice wins via knockout at 3:17 of the second round.
Tyrell Fortune vs. Will Johnson
Round 1: Johnson is making his pro debut out of Kansas City, Missouri in the blue gloves. Fortune is 1-0 out of Phoenix, Arizona in the red gloves. Our referee is Nick Berens. Fortune lands a combo and throws Johnson to the ground a half minute in, immediately going for side control and dropping heavy right hands. He goes for a full mount at 0:59. Johnson is able to get out of danger, get up and suplex Fortune. Johnson knees Fortune in the cup and Berens calls time ruling it an accidental knee, giving Fortune as much time as he wants to recover. Johnson gets a verbal warning not to do it again. They touch gloves and the bout resumes with under 2:30 left. They tie up against the fence and Johnson knees Fortune in the cup AGAIN. Johnson is informed this one is a one point deduction, and Berens goes to tell all the officials the same. Berens says if it happens again he'll call the fight. Johnson is now forced to use outside leg kicks only. He throws Fortune down. They body lock when he gets up. 9-9 round.
Round 2: Berens warns them repeatedly to keep it a clean fight to open the second round particularly when they clinch up again. Fortune has Johnson against the fence and he drops levels at 1:18 but can't find the takedown. Berens warns them to stay active. Johnson finally breaks free at 1:58 and throws the overhand right. Johnson tries to grab a clinch and go for the takedown but in doing so Fortune gets his back and drops a few hammers. He stands back up at 3:33 and Fortune takes him right back down. Johnson is covering up. Berens warns Fortune about the back of the head. Johnson is being warned to work out of danger and apparently Berens feels Johnson verbally submitted and stops the fight. Johnson is still protesting to the cameras saying he was going "UHHHH" or "OHH" and taking a deep breath. The replay seems to confirm it. Either way he was taking a pounding at the end so the result would ultimately have been the same.
Final result: Tyrell Fortune wins via technical knockout at 4:27 of the second round.
Bruna Ellen vs. Carmella James
Round 1: James is fighting out of Wichita, Kansas in her pro debut in the black top and trunks. Ellen is 2-1 and fighting out of Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil in the gray top. Our referee is Rob Hinds. James rushes to the center to meet Ellen and is met with an overhand right. After another shot she backs up for a second and throws a leg kick. Now it's Ellen who gets clipped a couple of times. Ellen and James have kept it almost all in the center throwing hands with only the occasional kick. Ellen sometimes eats a shot when she comes forward with a flurry. James frequently steps out of the way when Ellen throws the big overhand right. Ellen likes to let out guttural screams whenever she tries to throw a combo or power shots. Less yelling and more strikes landing flush would be better. James clips Ellen hard with a right at 3:30. Ellen with a leg kick back. James with a body kick. Ellen tries to shoot at 4:16 and puts James on the fence. James gets a warning for fingers to the eye. She breaks away from Ellen with a kick. Ellen's lips are bloody. Ellen gets the single leg at 4:48. Close round may be a very very slight 10-9 Ellen.
Round 2: James opens up R2 with body kicks and jabs - and the left jab and right kick find the target several times. Ellen throws the overhand right again at the minute mark. Ellen spins James around with a kick at 1:21. Ellen's biggest advantage has been the combos. James appears to be stunned by one at 2:08. James is slowing down and not getting out of the way like she did in R1. Ellen throws a high kick that misses. Ellen regularly falls into a pattern of circling to her right and throwing the overhand right that a more experienced fighter could time. Nice body head mix at 3:58. Ellen with a flurry followed by a shoot at 4:20, and finally turns it over at 4:38 although James kicks her away and lays on her back. Ellen stands there in front of her and doesn't let her up before the bell. 10-9 Ellen.
Round 3: Ellen gets a leg trip 40 seconds into this round and looking comfortable in half guard. Too comfortable as Rob Hinds calls for improvement at 1:27. Ellen stands up in response. On commentary Sean Grande is cracking jokes about all the sound Ellen makes. James is running out of time. She's eating leg kicks and covering up for the combos with under two minutes to go. Ellen gets another takedown at 4:13 that should seal the fight. James us trying to work her legs up around Ellen's back but too little too late. It should be a clean sweep for Ellen.
Final result: The judges score this contest 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 all for Bruna Ellen.