Bellator 191 “McDonald vs. Ligier" took place last night (Fri., Dec. 15, 2017) at Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England. UFC fighter turned Bellator Bantamweight Michael McDonald (17-4) looked to restart his career after being knocked out by John Lineker in his last fight over a year ago. Standing in his way was “BadAzz” Peter Ligier (8-1-1).
McDonald missed weight for this fight, forcing it to be contested at 138 pounds, and the size advantage was apparent for McDonald against Ligier in round one. When Ligier tried to pressure, McDonald would poke holes in his defense with right hooks, left jabs, and leg kicks, pushing Ligier all around the Bellator cage.
The offensive output increased for McDonald in Round 2, forcing Ligier to clinch repeatedly to try and slow him down, but whenever McDonald found the range knees and uppercuts were the result. The only effective offense for Ligier was an illegal right knee to the cup which forced John McCarthy to call a brief time out.
The third and final round was a takedown clinic for McDonald, but Ligier did manage to catch him with elbows to the head in the process and cut him open by the right eye. McDonald went for a guillotine late that let Ligier back on top for a few more elbows but they didn’t change the result as McDonald took a 30-27 decision from all three judges.
Jimmy Smith spoke to the victorious “Mayday” McDonald after the result was made official.
“I broke my hand in the second. I can feel it popping around right now. I think it was at the very end going to the corner saying my hand is broken. I think I rocked him and going crazy with it I broke my hand. I wanted to throw on the feet and I just felt a shot of electricity on my whole right side. I knew I needed to let it chill so I had to rely on my wrestling. (It feels) good and it feels like crap. Peter’s a great fighter. Inside I feel good but externally I feel like crap.”
The long anticipated Bellator debut of Valerie Letourneau finally arrived as the 8-6 fighter and former No. 1 contender in UFC looked to prove herself against 9-2-1 local favorite Kate Jackson.
Jackson tried to keep the fight in a phone booth in the center, but Letourneau forced her toward the outside with right hands and leg kicks, eventually opening up a cut on Jackson’s left cheek. A close first round edged Letourneau’s way as she controlled the cage more than her foe.
The second round was even more decisive as Letourneau was on offense the whole time and nearly finished Jackson when she went for a defensive takedown, going for a triangle and an armbar and wailing on Jackson when she escaped, punishing her legs with kicks. In the third Jackson was turned into a punching bag, left eye being swollen shut by the right hook, blood trickling down the right side of her face. The judges gave it 30-27 X3 to Letourneau.
Victorious Val spoke to sterling Jimmy Smith after John McCarthy raised her hand.
“I was obviously trying to use my experience. I wanted to push more all the time. I was just trying to fight smart, this is what I’ve got to do to win sometimes. I think I’ve never been so stressed for a fight. This year has been so long, I wanted this fight so bad, it was so so so important so I’m glad I got the win tonight. I like you Ilima but I have to make this happen.”
Heavyweights also met in Newcastle as “The Colossus” James Thompson (20-16, 1 NC) took on Philip De Fries (13-6, 1 NC). De Fries had a clear strategy from the opening bell — take Thompson down and keep him there. Thompson was on his back in just eight seconds.
Thompson got up from the mat twice but when he tried to look for a takedown of his own De Fries grabbed the neck and pulled guard, using all of his weight to make “The Colossus” submit to a guillotine choke at 1:33 of Round 1.
The victorious De Fries spoke to Jimmy Smith after recording his 11th career submission.
“Yeah I was willing to take the fight wherever it went but I felt I was a stronger grappler than James. I felt good with it. Props to him too. I was hoping he would start out fast you know. It’s not a good strategy for a long fight. He’s scary too. The guy is ripped to bits — not like me.”
Action from Newcastle also included a Welterweight bout between Mohammad Yahya and fellow newcomer Ash Griffiths. Yahya predicted a ground-and-pound finish before the fight but Griffiths seemed to have the early advantage with a clinch for a takedown. Before he could pull his left leg through the guard to take side control Yahya lunged backward and broke free.
When Yahya got to his feet Griffiths tried to pull guard for a guillotine, but Yahya popped his head out, stepped back (avoiding an upkick) and unleashed bombs when he jumped back on top. Griffiths got up for a moment, Yahya wrestled him back down and pounded away some more, and when Griffiths turtled up Leon Roberts stopped the fight at 3:26 via TKO.
Jimmy Smith stepped in for the interview after Yahya made good on his prediction.
“I predicted a finish in the first round but this fight is basically for my country and that’s what motivates me. It feels great. I always wanted to put UAE on the MMA map. It’s a beautiful opportunity to fight for Bellator. Ash Griffiths was a very respectful opponent and it was a pleasure to fight him. I wish him the best in his career.”
For complete Bellator 191 results and coverage click here.