Bellator 189: “Budd vs. Blencowe 2” takes place TONIGHT (Fri., Dec. 1, 2017) at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla., featuring Featherweight champion Julia Budd (10-2) making her first-ever title defense against a familiar opponent in Arlene Blencowe (10-6).
Middleweights also have a prominent place on this Spike TV-televised card. The streaking Chris Honeycutt (10-1, 1 NC) faces undefeated Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Rafael Lovato Jr. (6-0), while Chidi “Bang Bang” Njokuani (17-5, 1 NC) looks for a return to at the expense of exciting striker Hisaki Kato (8-2), who is motivated to notch his fourth straight win.
Bellator 189 will start at 9 p.m. ET on Spike TV with “Prelims” undercard action kicking things off on Spike.com at 7 p.m. ET. MMAmania.com will deliver results and play-by-play for the entirety of the Bellator MMA card.
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 189) about the bouts and chat with all the other Maniacs during the show -- it's always a lot of fun!
BELLATOR 189 QUICK RESULTS:
Julia Budd vs. Arlene Blencowe -- Budd SD 49-46, 47-48, 49-46.
Rafael Lovato Jr. vs. Chris Honeycutt -- Lovato UD 29-28, 30-27 X2.
Hisaki Kato vs. Chidi Njokuani -- Njokuani UD 30-27 X3.
David Rickels vs. Adam Piccolotti -- Rickels UD 30-27 X3.
Sam Sicilia vs. Marcos Galvao -- Sicilia UD 29-28 X3.
Andrew Parker vs. Frank Patterson -- Parker via sub (triangle) 3:03 R1.
Rick Gutierrez vs. Gaston Bolanos -- Bolanos KO 1:13 R1.
Alec Williams vs. Mandel Nallo -- Nallo KO 0:18 R1.
Brandon Phillips vs. Jordan Howard -- Phillips UD 30-26, 30-27 X2.
Juliana Velasquez vs. Na Liang -- Velasquez via sub (armbar) 0:32 R2.
Thomas Lopez vs. Cris Williams -- Williams via sub (triangle) 1:39 R1.
Brian Grinnell vs. Kemmyelle Haley -- Grinnell via sub at 0:39 R1.
Ky Bennett vs. Stephanie Geltmacher -- Geltmacher UD 30-25 X2, 30-27.
BELLATOR 189 PLAY-BY-PLAY:
Julia Budd vs. Arlene Blencowe
Blencowe enters wearing the blue gloves, white trunks and white top. Her record coming into tonight’s main event is 10-6 and she’s currently on a three fight win streak, with her last loss being a majority decision against Budd the first time they met. The champion Budd enters wearing the red gloves, green trunks and green top, her current record 10-2 and she’s on an eight fight win streak. Blencowe fights out of Sydney, Australia and Budd fights out of Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada. Our referee in charge is Jason Herzog.
Round 1: We start with the tap as both women come to the center. Budd lands a leg kick. They tie up as we pass the one minute mark and Budd gets the thai plum to land some knees. Budd drops levels and Blencowe tries to fight off the takedown. Budd throws knees to soften up the right leg, stomps on the feet, and delivers a knee up the middle. Another knee to the head as Blencowe tries to side step. 2:30 gone. More knees. Herzog may reset this soon unless something happens. Budd clinches for knees but Blencowe tries to push her into the fence. Budd turns her around and returns to a familiar spot — trying to drop levels to put Blencowe down but punishing her either way. I can’t see Herzog letting five rounds go this way. Blencowe pops up and is pushed backward by Budd, who throws a hard elbow at her head. 10-9 Budd.
Round 2: Both women were moving toward the center before the bell even rang to officially start this round. Blencowe tries an overhand right. The tall, lean, muscular Budd responds in kind. Blencowe lands a clean left hook and Budd seems unfazed. Blencowe would definitely like to keep the fighter here and put her natural boxing skill to good use. Budd lands a body kick. Loud leg kick lands for Budd. Blencowe with a right. Budd throws out a left front kick. Blencowe with the right again. Body kick for Budd. Right hand again by Blencowe. Left jab by Blencowe. She’s out striking Budd this round. Budd gets a takedown with 10 seconds left but that should still be a 10-9 round for Blencowe.
Round 3: Leg kick lands for Blencowe. Leg kick connects for Budd. Body punch for Blencowe. They each throw hands at 1:11. Blencowe is landing combos and pressuring Budd toward the outer circle of the cage. Budd works the kicks and Blencowe works the hands. It’s perplexing to me that the champion isn’t being more aggressive. I’m sure Budd respects the power in Blencowe’s hands but she has to do better than a majority decision if she wants to retain her title. Blencowe stuffs the takedown attempt twice and finishes the second with a knee. This is another 10-9 round for “Angerfist” as we head to the championship rounds.
Round 4: The early part of this round looks like the last two until Budd finally clinches up with Blencowe 30 seconds in. Budd puts her against the fence throwing knees and drops levels. Blencowe gets out of harm’s way at 1:48. Blencowe dances in the center and Budd jabs and kicks her way toward her. Blencowe with a combo. Leg kick for Budd. Front left kick misses. Mauro Ranallo busts out his lexicon and calls this fight somnolescent. A largely patient crowd tonight has finally started to boo with a minute left in the fourth. Body shot by Blencowe. Blencowe tries to flurry at the clap of 10 seconds. It’s hard to call either woman the “winner” of that round.
Round 5: Ranallo just channeled PRIDE and called for the referee to hand out a yellow card. Jimmy Smith says you can be killed for a lack of shooting the bullets you have and Budd isn’t firing. They’re both right. The most telling thing about this fight is that Blencowe has held the center and Budd has had to circle on the outside. Budd’s takedown is stuffed at 2:36. Blencowe lands a leg kick. “It’s like a race car (that’s) in first gear” says Smith. Two minutes are left and the boos are getting pretty loud now. Body shots by Blencowe. I’m now fearing that we’ll get a decision like the first Carvalho vs. Manhoef fight. The feeling of it in the air is palpable. 30 seconds left. Leg kick for Blencowe. Budd is on her back foot this whole round. She finally comes forward with 10 seconds left, grabs the clinch, throws a couple of knees and the bell makes them break.
Final result: 49-46 Budd, 48-47 Blencowe, 49-46 for Budd by split decision.
Rafael Lovato Jr. vs. Chris Honeycutt
Lovato comes into this bout a perfect 6-0 fighting out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in white trunks with red gloves. Honeycutt is 10-1 (1 NC) and fights out of Fresno, California in white trunks with blue gloves. Our referee in charge is Kerry Hatley.
Round 1: Lovato takes the center and Honeycutt circles on the outside before charging forward with a punch. As he tries to charge again Lovato throws a sharp counter right hand. Honeycutt catches a kick, dumps Lovato on his back and lets him back up. Lovato with a body kick. Lovato throws out a front kick and teases a jumping knee. Now it’s Lovato on the outside as Honeycutt throws a body kick. They clinch and break. Lovato misses with a left and teases the jump knee again. Lovato lands the left and misses with a high kick. Honeycutt charges in for a body lock. Lovato considers a kimura attempt. Honeycutt keeps it chest to chest. Lovato wraps an arm around the neck as he thinks about a standing guillotine. Honeycutt is bleeding from his nose as time ticks away. He gets free with 20 seconds left and backs up wobbling his head like one of Bellator’s souvenir bobbleheads. 10-9 Lovato.
Round 2: Lovato opens up with a combo and a head kick. Honeycutt shoots at 1:05 and once again Lovato has an arm around the back of Honeycutt’s beck. Honeycutt breaks free at 1:40 but Lovato throws a knee up the middle and a front kick. Honeycutt gets the body lock again at 1:58. Lovato grabs clinch and throws a knee but Honeycutt uses that to get a takedown. Lovato tries to turn that into a guillotine but Honeycutt slips free. Lovato tries to trap an arm and Honeycutt slips away again. Lovato throws upkicks as Honeycutt backs away. Hatley stands Lovato up with 90 seconds left. Right to the body from Honeycutt. Heavy left hand by Lovato. Honeycutt rushes in looking for a takedown. Lovato is working on a kimura in response. That stalemate ends R2.
Round 3: Body kick for Lovato 14 seconds into this frame. Honeycutt catches a leg kick and pushes Lovato backward to the cage. Hatley resets the stalemate there at 1:15. Honeycutt catches a kick with his face and hangs onto the leg but can’t take Lovato down as his balance remains solid as a rock. Kicks clash for both men. Lovato lands the left. Honeycutt catches another kick and finally takes Lovato down at 2:15 but he has to let him up to avoid Lovato taking his neck. Honeycutt gives up the body press on the fence at 2:50, goes for the takedown again at 3:18 but can only put Lovato on his butt for a split second. Honeycutt tries again to secure a takedown with one leg sucked out but can’t get the other to put Lovato’s back on the mat as he sits up against the fence. Time ticks away and we go to the judges.
Final result: The judges return 29-28 and 30-27 X2 for Rafael Lovato Jr.
Hisaki Kato vs. Chidi Njokuani
Njokuani is in the blue gloves and black trunks tonight, 17-5 (1 NC), fighting out of Las Vegas, Nevada. Kato is in the red gloves and white trimmed trunks, 8-2, fighting out of Nagoya, Japan. This is Njokuani’s first Bellator fight in the Middleweight division. Our referee is Jerin Valel.
Round 1: A glove tap gets the fight underway. Kato knocks Njokuani off his feet with a well timed kick and he pops right back up. Ranallo tells us Kato had eight screws put into his shoulder in July. Njokuani is knocked off balance again but gets up at 1:05 before Kato can gain position on top. Njokuani dances around and Kato walks methodically toward him. Kato once again gets Njokuani off balance. Kato eats a knee as Njokuani briefly grabs the thai plum. Inside leg kick for Kato. Kato continues to walk toward Njokuani and eats a hard body kick. Njokuani lands some shots as Kato tries to overcome the reach advantage and get close. Another body kick from Njokuani. Njokuani throws a high kick that’s blocked. Kato gets an overhand left before the bell. 10-9 Njokuani.
Round 2: Another tap opens R2. Njokuani does a little shuffle with his feet, showing off both his footwork and his hands. Njokuani buzzes the cornrow braids of Kato with his foot. Kato eats a knee to the ribs as he tried to clinch up for a possible takedown. The right side of Kato’s face is getting marked up from the “Bang Bang” Njokuani strikes. Speaking of which, Njokuani rocks Kato with a right hand at 2:59 and Kato stumbles backward. Njokuani tries to clinch up for another knee. Kato charges forward trying to change his fortunes late and eats a big right for his trouble. Nothing has worked for Kato this frame. He complains about a finger to the eye right as the bell sounds. That’s 10-9 and possibly even 10-8 for Njokuani.
Round 3: A doctor comes in to check Kato’s eye before R3 begins. Njokuani gets a warning after Kato is cleared to continue. Kato charges in and Njokuani punishes him with a body kick. Njokuani tags Kato with repeated right hands. Njokuani goes for the thai plum again at the two minute mark and Kato breaks free. Kato just gets the left hand up to block a head kick. Kato is sent stumbling backward by a right hand seconds later. Kato catches the right leg on a kick and drops levels against the fence but Njokuani widens his stance. Njokuani grabs the cage as Kato digs, Valel calls time and warns Njokuani he’ll deduct a point if Njokuani does it again. Njokuani breaks free after the restart with 75 seconds left. Kato is sucking wind now. He’s battered and bruised. Another body kick from Njokuani. Kato tries to spin his way into range but eats another right. This should be a shutout for Njokuani on the cards.
Final result: All three judges score it 30-27 for Chidi Njokuani.
David Rickels vs. Adam Piccolotti
Rickels is taking his record setting 19th Bellator fight tonight. He holds a career record of 18-4 (2 NC). Piccolotti comes in 9-1 having lost for the first time ever to Goiti Yamauchi earlier this year. Rickels is in the green trunks and red gloves, and Piccolotti is in the black trunks and blue gloves for tonight’s 160 pound catchweight fight. Piccolotti fights out of Half Moon Bay, California and Rickels fights out of Derby, Kansas. Our referee is Jacob Montalvo.
Round 1: After a friendly tap of gloves Rickels throws out the first kick. Piccolotti and Rickels begin to trade kick for kick. Rickels pushes Piccolotti toward the fence and lands a double jab. Piccolotti scores with an outside leg kick and a left hand. Rickels lands several lefts in return. Kicks are traded again, and again. Piccolotti blocks a head kick but can’t stop the right on his chin. He shoots for a single on Rickels. He can’t find it and just avoids the knee as he backs away. Rickels throws a kick and Piccolotti answers with a straight right. Leg kick for Rickels. Rickels lands a combo. He throws his hands out and dares Piccolotti to strike then misses with a spinning backfist. 1-2-3-4 shots land by Rickels with just under a minute left. Rickels blocks a right hand and throws a front kick. Piccolotti charges and eats a counter right. He blocks a left kick to the head. Both men trade furiously at the bell. 10-9 Rickels.
Round 2: Rickels continues to throw shots to open R2 but Piccolotti drops for a double and gets it. Rickels springs right back to his feet and Piccolotti shoves him to the fence. Piccolotti drops hard looking for the takedown but finally lets it go without getting it at 1:15. Right hand to the body by Piccolotti. Rickels responds by testing his foe’s chin. Over the top right and a left for Rickels. Four straight lefts as Piccolotti keeps backpedaling. Rickels throws out a left front kick and a body kick. Big left to the chin at 2:35 and a right follows before Piccolotti clinches and gets a takedown. Rickels boxes the ears with hand slaps. Piccolotti tries to transition but Rickels springs to his feet at 3:18. Piccolotti drops levels again and Rickels tries to put all his weight on Piccolotti’s back. Montalvo warns Piccolotti to stay busy. They break at 4:08. Left head kick for Rickels. Piccolotti gets a takedown at 4:36 but can’t do any damage before the bell. 10-9 Rickels.
Round 3: A doctor comes in to check the swelling around Piccolotti’s left eye and clears him to continue. Rickels just barely taps gloves as he’s anxious to target that black and blue bullseye on Piccolotti’s face. Rickels wins up at 36 seconds throwing combos and gives chase. Piccolotti takes him down 9 seconds later. Piccolotti can’t keep him down as Rickels stands at 1:56. Rickels lands a combo at 2:15 and Piccolotti shoots right away. Rickels throws elbows to the head as Piccolotti continues to go for the takedown. He finally turns and gets on top of Rickels with two minutes left. Rickels is looking to turn it into a triangle and Piccolotti has to back off. He jumps back on top with under 90 seconds left. Piccolotti backs off jumps back on and Rickels goes for the triangle again. Piccolotti survives to the bell.
Final result: The judges score it 30-27 X3 all for “The Caveman” David Rickels.
Sam Sicilia vs. Marcos Galvao
Galvao is 18-8-1 in the blue trunks and red gloves, fighting out of Queens, New York. Sicilia is 15-8 in the black trunks and blue gloves fighting out of Spokane, Washington. Our ref is Jerin Valel.
Round 1: Sicilia lands the first kick and pushes Galvao backward with punches but Galvao tries to turn him around against the fence and go for a single leg. He gets the takedown at 31 seconds and nearly passes to side control before Sicilia gets him back into full guard. Galvao is sneaking in some left and right hands to the chin here and there as Sicilia tries to control the wrists. Galvao finally backs out at 2:32 and Sicilia immediately starts coming forward throwing bombs. Galvao throws a leg kick and eats a big right hand in return. Sicilia keeps pushing Galvao backward and tags him again with a minute left. He misses with a huge right at 4:11. Galvao with a knee up the middle. Spinning back kick to the body from Sicilia. Sicilia lands a hard right in the waning seconds. 10-9 Sicilia.
Round 2: Gloves are tapped. Sicilia connects with a left. Galvao tries to clinch for a takedown and eats a right. You can see some swelling and bruising on his left eye. He shoots at 36 seconds but can't get anything. He's getting hurt as Sicilia continues to pour it on. Galvao lands an elbow. Sicilia with a hard leg kick as we pass the minute mark. Sicilia catches a kick and thumps Galvao. Flying knee for Sicilia. Galvao comes forward, Sicilia circles, backs Galvao up again, and Galvao fires a kick to the body. Sicilia returns in kind. Right hand and left kick upstairs from Sicilia. Half of R2 is gone. Galvao takes another left high kick. His shoot attempt at 3:13 is shrugged off. Galvao is barely doing anything other than being tagged by Sicilia. Valel reminds them to use closed fists with 80 seconds left. Sicilia tags Galvao with a right. Galvao finally gets a takedown with 30 seconds left. Sicilia is back up 13 seconds later. 10-9 Sicilia.
Round 3: One more friendly tap for our final round. Galvao gets a takedown at 13 seconds and is on top in closed guard. Sicilia is back up at 1:05 not having taken much damage. Galvao body locks him, takes him down, and jumps on Sicilia's back as he's on his knees. Galvao can't secure the hooks though as Sicilia turns to his back and Galvao is on top in half guard. Galvao is trying to move to side control on the right side and grinding elbows into Sicilia's head. He has it briefly at 2:50 but Sicilia is able to sit up and push him back into closed guard. 3 minutes gone. Sicilia gives up his back to get back up at 3:25 and it works. He comes forward with a big right hand. More rights land in the closing minute as Galvao backpedals. Sicilia blocks a takedown via sprawl and throws shots as Galvao flops to his back with his hands behind his head. Sicilia jumps on top to finish the fight and should get a decision victory.
Final result: The judges score this fight 29-28 X3 all for Sam Sicilia.
Andrew Parker vs. Frank Patterson
Round 1: Unaired on Spike.com.
Final result: Andrew Parker wins via submission (triangle choke) at 3:03 of round one.
Rick Gutierrez vs. Gaston Bolanos
Blue gloves for Gutierrez, 32 years old, 5'8, fighting out of Colby, Kansas. Red gloves for Bolanos, 25 years old, 5'7", fighting out of Dublin, California. Our referee in charge is Jerin Valel.
Round 1: Gutierrez goes on offense immediately after the glove tap. Bolanos throws a head kick. Takedown by Bolanos. Gutierrez gets back up at 45 seconds. Bolanos knocks Gutierrez out with a spinning backward right elbow to the jaw and this fight is OVER. Gutierrez went down face first. Bolanos improves to 2-1 and Gutierrez falls to 0-1 as a result of this fight.
Final result: Gaston Bolanos wins by knockout at 1:13 of the first round.
Alec Williams vs. Mandel Nallo
Nallo is 5-0 in the red gloves and black trunks with red trim, fighting out of Toronto, Canada. Williams is 6-1 in the blue gloves and green trunks, fighting out of San Antonio, Texas. Our referee in charge is Kerry Hatley.
Round 1: Nallo catches Williams with a body kick very quickly and he winces and backs off. Nallo throws a right kick to the side of the head and WILLIAMS IS DONE. Williams tried to get his hand up to block it and failed completely.
Final result: Mandel Nallo wins by knockout at 18 seconds of round one.
Brandon Phillips vs. Jordan Howard
Howard is 10-3 in the black trunks and red gloves, fighting out of Jefferson City, Missouri. Phillips is 6-3 in the white trunks and blue gloves, fighting out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Our referee in charge is Jason Herzog.
Round 1: A tap of gloves gets us underway. Phillips circles and jabs, throwing occasional leg kicks. Howard patiently follows him and returns a leg kick. Phillips tries to force him backward to the fence but Howard is standing his ground. Howard keeps pushing out the jab. Howard throws a high kick that misses but gets a few crowd whistles. Phillips drops Howard with a 1-2 that ended with a big right at 1:50 but Phillips pops back up. Phillips catches him with it again and now he's hunting for it. Howard is trying to slow Phillips down with the leg kicks but Phillips catches one and throws a hard left hook. Phillips goes for a high kick and unloads left jab. Right hook for Phillips. Multiple inside and outside leg kicks by Phillips. Howard with an uppercut. Phillips wins R1 10-9.
Round 2: Phillips throws a right kick to the groin and Herzog calls for a timeout at 32 seconds into R2. Phillips apologizes with a glove tap after the restart. Howard tries to clinch with Phillips and go for a takedown but Phillips breaks away at 1:13. Phillips continues to punish Howard's right leg. Howard backs up any time Phillips throws a jab. The two have a quick flurry. Herzog gives a warning to the fighters not to extend their fingers. Another right hand for Phillips lands flush. He misses with a huge wind up right at 3:13. He's head hunting again. Leg kick for Phillips with a minute left. Blood is dripping from Howard's nose off Phillips landing the jab and the right. 10-9 again for Phillips.
Round 3: One more glove tap starts R3. Phillips is hammering away with kicks early then throws a combo at 25 seconds. He is landing the left jab with ever increasing accuracy. Howard loses his mouthpiece at 2:15 when Phillips kicked his leg out and he stumbled to a knee. You can hear Phillips' coach telling him not to let Howard get comfortable and to "touch the leg." Another kick lands at 2:59. There's very little doubt who is winning here. Howard's face is bloody and he's hobbling on one leg. At this point he's just trying to survive for 60 seconds. Phillips lets his hands go with 25 seconds left. Howard tries to respond but he's not landing like Phillips is. Clean sweep for Phillips.
Final result: The judges score this contest 30-26 and 30-27 X2 all for Brandon Phillips.
Juliana Velasquez vs. Na Liang
Liang is 6-1 in the red gloves fighting out of Harbin, China. Velasquez is 5-0 in the blue gloves fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Both women have black trunks but Velasquez has red trim. Our referee in charge is Jacob Montalvo.
Round 1: Liang goes for a takedown early and pushes Velasquez into the fence. Velasquez has a possible guillotine but isn't trying hard to cinch it up. Velasquez avoids multiple leg trips and then ends up on top when Liang won't give up. Velasquez stands back up at 1:24 and sprawls to block an immediate second takedown attempt by Liang. Liang dives for a takedown at 1:43 and doesn't even come close to getting it. The two lock arms and grapple. Liang goes for a leg trip but can't finish it. Velasquez ends on top after another takedown attempt, casually stands up and backs away, throws a kick, Liang finally gets up at 2:30. Velasquez gets tripped but Liang can't hold onto it and Velasquez ends up on top in full mount with a lot of time left. Liang pushes off the fence with her feet and tries to secure a leg lock. She goes for a heel hook and winds up eating big right hands from Velasquez. Liang is warned to fight back with 40 seconds left. Velasquez backs away and lets Liang sit up. Velasquez kicks her in the legs a few more times. Liang gets up VERY slowly. 10-9 bordering on 10-8.
Round 2: Velasquez fires off some hard shots and Liang dives for a desperation leg. Velasquez secures an armbar, she steps over and cranks hard, Liang taps out, and R2 is quickly over.
Final result: Juliana Velasquez wins via submission (armbar) at 32 seconds of round two.
Thomas Lopez vs. Cris Williams
Red trunks, 1-2, Sherman, Texas for Thomas Lopez. Blue trunks, 2-0, Portland, Oregon for Cris Williams. Our referee is Jason Herzog.
Round 1: A guillotine attempt early is thwarted as Lopez escapes, but Williams transitions to a triangle from his back and throws right elbows at Lopez' head. Lopez is trying to spin his way out of trouble on his knees but that's just cinching it up tighter and finally Lopez taps to the triangle choke with his fingers and Herzog stops the contest. Williams dances in the cage to Run-D.M.C.'s "It's Like That" to celebrate.
Final result: Cris “Sunshine” Williams wins via submission (triangle choke) at 1:39 of round one.
Brian Grinnell vs. Kemmyelle Haley
Round 1: Unaired on Spike.com.
Final result: Grinnell wins via submission (undescribed by Bellator) at 0:39 of round one.
Ky Bennett vs. Stephanie Geltmacher
Round 1: Unaired on Spike.com.
Final result: Geltmacher wins via unanimous decision 30-25 X2, 30-27.