Bellator 197: “Primus vs. Chandler 2” takes place TONIGHT (Fri., April 13, 2018) at Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo., featuring a Lightweight main event between two-time world champion Michael Chandler (17-4) against the fiercely competitive Brandon Girtz (15-7). In addition, the flawless A.J. McKee (10-0) will look to move one step closer to a Featherweight title shot as he faces the durable Justin Lawrence (11-4), while the popular Kevin “Baby Slice” Ferguson Jr. (2-0) will face the undefeated Devon Brock (1-0) at a Catchweight of 160 pounds.
Bellator 197’s main card will start at 9 p.m. ET on Paramount Network and CMT, while the “Prelims” undercard bouts will stream online 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 197) about the bouts and chat with all the other Maniacs during the show -- it's always a lot of fun!
BELLATOR 197 QUICK RESULTS:
Michael Chandler vs. Brandon Girtz — Chandler sub (arm triangle) 4:00 R1.
A.J. McKee vs. Justin Lawrence — McKee UD 30-27 X3.
Kevin Ferguson Jr. vs. Devon Brock — Ferguson sub (RNC) 0:34 R1.
Logan Storley vs. Joaquin Buckley — Storley UD 30-27, 30-26 X2.
Rebecca Ruth vs. Juliana Velasquez — Velasquez TKO 0:19 R3.
Dominic Mazzotta vs. Josh Sampo — Mazzotta UD 30-27 X3.
Derek Anderson vs. Zak Bucia — Anderson UD 30-27 X3.
Jordan Dowdy vs. Jeff Crotty — Dowdy sub (RNC) 0:29 R1.
Adam Cella vs. DeWayne Diggs — Cella TKO 4:27 R1.
Joe Roye vs. Cort Wahle — Wahle via sub (guillotine) 0:21 R1.
Justin Robbins vs. A.J. Siscoe — Siscoe sub (RNC) 4:34 R2.
Jordan Howard vs. Eric Ellington — Ellington SD 29-28, 28-29, 29-28.
BELLATOR 197 PLAY-BY-PLAY:
Michael Chandler vs. Brandon Girtz
Chandler is 17-4, stands 5’8”, he has a 69” reach and he fights out of Boca Raton, Florida. Girtz is 15-7, stands 5’7”, has a 67” reach and fights out of Denver, Colorado. Girtz copies the entrance of McKee earlier and comes out wearing black trunks and blue gloves. Chandler sports white trunks and red gloves, high-fiving fans on his way to the cage. Our referee is Jason Herzog. There’s a touch of gloves during final instructions and we are underway!
Round 1: One more glove tap to start the fight. Girtz is backpedaling and keeping his stance open, leaning forward heavily on his right foot. Herzog calls time at 48 seconds when Girtz throws a left kick to the groin. Watching the replay of it McCarthy is concerned that Chandler nearly rolled his ankle again like he did at Bellator NYC. The action resumes and Chandler charges forward. Chandler throws a hard body kick and Girtz responds with a hard right. Chandler rolls backward to avoid damage. Another body kick lands when he stands. Chandler accidentally pokes Girtz in the eye and Herzog calls time yet again. We’re off and running again at 1:42. Chandler keeps edging Girtz closer to the fence. Girtz comes forward with a flurry, stuffs a takedown and lands a right uppercut. Chandler throws a right and immediately goes for the double, boosting Girtz high into the air before he slams him down. Girtz tried to scramble and Chandler blocked it. He’s got the arm triangle choke and Girtz goes out cold without tapping out. TWO BACKFLIPS BY “IRON” MIKE TO CELEBRATE.
Final result: “Iron” Michael Chandler wins via technical submission (arm triangle) 4:00 R1.
A.J. McKee vs. Justin Lawrence
Undefeated “Mercenary” A.J. McKee comes in tonight 10-0. His opponent Justin Lawrence is 11-4. McKee fights out of Team Body Shop in Long Beach, California. Lawrence fights out of San Diego but hails from Pacific, Missouri making him a fan favorite in the cage tonight. He sports the blue trunks and gloves. McKee sports red and blue trunks with red gloves. Lawrence is 5’8” with a 67” reach and McKee is 5’10” with a 74” reach. Our referee in charge is Mike England.
Round 1: Lawrence takes the center and McKee circles outside throwing the right hand and right front kick. Lawrence connects with a body kick. McKee throws a left hook that makes Lawrence step back. Lawrence gets turned around toward the fence after a left hook, he goes for a single leg, and McKee exits clean with a body kick. Lawrence eats another kick and a right and is momentarily off his feet. Lawrence’s mullet sways in the breeze as he pushes forward. Leg kick by McKee. Combo from Lawrence. 1-2 from McKee. Two minutes remain. Axe kick from McKee. Right hook flush for McKee. Left high kick for McKee. Axe kick attempt from Lawrence. Multiple combos and lefts from McKee and Lawrence tries to answer in kind. Switch kick by McKee nails the chin. Push kick by McKee. Body shots by Lawrence. 10-9 round for McKee ends with one more body kick.
Round 2: McKee is clearly feeling himself as he tries a little capoeira to open the second round. Lawrence eats a right on his chin at 1:15 but stuffs a single leg attempt to follow. Lawrence and McKee throw mirroring ankle kicks. Hard combo from McKee. Body kick by Lawrence. Leg kick by McKee. Right hand from Lawrence. Lawrence stumbled and suddenly he’s retreating. McKee is attacking the legs. He smells blood in the water and is giving chase. McCarthy thinks it’s the left ankle that is the problem and McKee is going for it. Lawrence responds with a hard counter right hand. A small trickle of blood is under Lawrence’s left eye. 20 seconds. Facewash kick from McKee! Another 10-9 for A.J.
Round 3: Lawrence widens his stance to stuff an early takedown from McKee in R3. McKee is content to fire off knees and some dirty boxing but the referee is calling for more work. McKee throws a right head kick flush as he makes his exit. Lawrence isn’t showing much of the damage to his leg other than the fact he’s not as quick in his step. Two minutes remain. McKee hits the side kick to the body. Lawrence misses with a spin kick. Lawrence pumps a couple of rights that miss the mark and sprawls on the takedown attempt. McKee pushes him into the cage. Another kick on the release. 34 seconds left. Lawrence is trying to turn it into a brawl right before the bell but McKee avoids taking any damage. One more 10-9 round for “Mercenary.”
Final result: A.J. McKee gets a unanimous 30-27 decision from all three judges.
Kevin Ferguson Jr. vs. Devon Brock
Tale of the Tape: 2-1 vs. 1-0, 25 vs. 22, 5’11” vs. 5’9”, 72” vs. 76” reach from “Baby Slice” to Brock. Brock has on black trunks and blue gloves, fighting out of Los Angeles, California. Ferguson has on black trunks and red gloves, fighting out of Long Beach, California. Our referee is Marc Wasem.
Round 1: Ferguson is pumping the jab early and goes for the double leg at 25 seconds. Brock sprawls to block it. Ferguson steps backward and throws the right hook that lands behind the ear and down goes Devon Brock! Hammers and right hooks soften Brock up, Ferguson goes for the rear naked choke when he starts fading, and it’s over in just 34 seconds!
Final result: Kevin Ferguson Jr. wins via submission (rear naked choke) at 0:34 of round one.
Logan Storley vs. Joaquin Buckley
The undefeated Storley is 7-0 and his opponent Buckley is the local favorite at 8-1. Buckley sports the blue gloves and black trunks for tonight’s fight. Storley sports black trunks and red gloves. Buckley owns the reach advantage at 73” to 71.5”. Buckley fights out of St. Louis and Storley fights out of Webster, South Dakota. Our referee is Jason Herzog.
Round 1: Storley gets a takedown at 21 seconds. Buckley stays on his knees and is back up to one foot for a bit before Storley sucks his legs in and locks down one leg in half guard. Buckley tries to inch his way backward to the fence again as Storley aims right hands below the left armpit. Storley tries to pass to the other side and Buckley scoots backward toward the cage again. Storley throws a couple of rights and goes for the back as Buckley tries to stand back up. Buckley gets up and is dumped on his butt again at 3:12. He gets to a knee again and Storley rides on him from behind until he takes side control then steps back into half guard. Storley opens up with a few right hands. 10-9 round for Storley.
Round 2: Storley shoots for the takedown early again and has Buckley off his feet at 30 seconds, posturing on his right hand to avoid being flattened out on the canvas. Eventually though Storley breaks down the legs at 54 seconds and quickly looks for an opportunity to take Buckley’s back and get the hooks in. Buckley defends well so Storley steps back into the guard. Buckley tries to buck Storley off but the heavy pressure on top makes that a difficult proposition. Storley passes to half again. Left hands to the head find a home. Buckley looks frustrated. The crowd is as well. More right elbows crash down at 3:32. Full mount for Storley as we move to the last minute of R2. Buckley covers up as Storley goes for ground and pound with 25 seconds remaining. Another 10-9 for Storley.
Round 3: Storley goes for the single leg quickly and has Buckley down at 0:15, drawing a chorus of boos from the fans at the Family Center Arena. Their language is probably not family friendly right now. Buckley gets back up at 0:51 but Storley keeps him pinned to the fence and drags him back to half guard at 1:08. Side control at 1:35. Storley spins to take the back. Buckley looked to get back up and Storley threw him back down into side control. Short left hands to the head. Storley goes for the back again and then right back to side control at 3:26. Knees to the body from Storley. Buckley escapes at 3:41 and Storley immediately goes for the double and dumps him at 3:53. Storley can ride out the unanimous decision with ease at this point. Buckley will walk away looking pretty and feeling absolutely miserable at the end of this fight. Side control and more knees to the body. Storley steps over into half guard and is on top until the bell. 10-9 Storley.
Final result: Logan Storley wins via 30-27 and 30-26 X2 unanimous decision.
Rebecca Ruth vs. Juliana Velasquez
6-2 to 6-0 from Rebecca Ruth in the red gloves and top with black trunks to Juliana Velasquez in the blue gloves, gray trunks and black top. Velasquez fights out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Ruth fights out of Pacific, Missouri. Our referee is Marc Wasem.
Round 1: Both women tap gloves to open R1. Ruth comes forward and Velasquez dances to the side. Leg kick for Ruth. Ruth lands a left hand to the chin. Another leg kick. Ruth keeps her hands up high. Velasquez lets them drop down a little but lands a straight left hand as she does. Inside leg kick by Ruth. Ruth unloads a combo coming forward. Velasquez ties her up in clinch and pushes Ruth around against the cage. Ruth tries to respond with knees. Velasquez keeps the underhooks and Wasem calls for more work. Ruth eats a knee to the body. Wasem warns them to do something different at 3:05. More knees from Velasquez. Ruth goes for a left elbow to the head. Ruth finally gets away at 3:49. High kick and low kick from Ruth. Head kicks are traded. Ruth throws Velasquez down and she jumps right up. Combos and a spinning backfist for Ruth that misses. Body shot for Velasquez. 10-9 Ruth.
Round 2: Left hook for Ruth early in R2. High kick for Ruth. 1-2 for Velasquez. Left elbow for Ruth. Body kick Ruth. Oblique kicks for Ruth. Velasquez with a lunging left hand. Side kick for Ruth. High roundhouse kick misses. Left hook for Ruth. Body kick for Ruth. High kick for Ruth. Left hand by Ruth. Inside low kick Ruth. Left jab flush. Another hard shot drops Velasquez. She goes for a thai plum against the fence but when she lets it go it’s the left hand that drops Ruth. Velasquez jumps on top with 93 seconds to go. Wasem warns them to get busy at 4:13. Velasquez stands up at 4:33 and Ruth chases her down. 10-9 Velasquez.
Round 3: Velasquez extends her right hand and Ruth extends the left as they high five tap each other to start R3. Ruth takes a hard left kick to the body that stops her cold and Velasquez throws one punch that spins the frozen Ruth around before Wasem stops it.
Final result: Juliana Velasquez wins by technical knockout at 0:19 of round three.
Dominic Mazzotta vs. Josh Sampo
Red gloves and black trunks for Mazzotta, 13-2, blue gloves and black trunks for Sampo, 11-5. As Mike Goldberg likes to say “everything else is virtually identical.” Sampo fights out of St. Charles, Missouri. Mazzotta fights out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Our referee is Dwayne Bess.
Round 1: Takedown 26 seconds into the round by Mazzotta. Sampo tries to turn it into a guillotine but Mazzotta avoids it and is quickly in side control. He’s inching higher and higher up toward the head as Sampo tries to buck him off. Mazzotta moves back to half guard and then to side control again at 1:30. Sampo gives up his back trying to get up and Mazzotta traps the right arm with his legs. Bess warns Mazzotta to watch the back of the head as he pounds away on Sampo. Sampo scrambles and forces Mazzotta back into full guard. Mazzotta postures up to blast Sampo in the head, backs away avoiding an upkick, and Sampo scrambles to his feet. Mazzotta takes him back down right away and blasts Sampo with right elbows. Sampo is bleeding from the slice and dice to his forehead. Sampo tries to go for a leg but Mazzotta escapes it and goes for a leg lock of his own with short time left. 10-9 Mazzotta.
Round 2: Tap of gloves to start R2. Mazzotta lands a leg kick and Sampo tries to pressure him backward toward the fence. Sampo with a left high kick. Mazzotta with a spin kick. Sampo with a body shot. Mazzotta with the takedown at 1:01 as Sampo fails to make a guillotine of it. Sampo got away with grabbing the fence with his feet for a second but didn’t gain an advantage. Mazzotta postures up for the hard right hands and elbows. Even when Sampo grabs ahold of him, Mazzotta still works shots to the body. He’s constantly busy. Left hands on top as Sampo tries to close guard. Mazzotta goes for the armbar with 90 seconds left then goes for a belly down armbar and triangle. Sampo escapes and was momentarily on top throwing rights but Mazzotta was able to scramble back on top. 10-9 Mazzotta.
Round 3: One more glove tap starts R3. Sampo comes forward with a jumping right hook. Spinning liver kick by Mazzotta. Sampo comes forward with a combo and covers up before a right hook returns his way. Sampo pushes him into the fence at 59 seconds and goes for a spinning back elbow. Mazzotta responds with a knee and a front kick. Mazzotta goes for a single leg, Sampo tries to get the back in the scramble, but Mazzotta gets the back door escape and is on top in full guard. Body and head by Mazzotta on top. Bess calls for more action, Mazzotta stands up, Sampo goes for a Von Flue choke but can’t hang on. He’s on top in side control with 75 seconds to go. Mazzotta goes for a leg lock, Sampo does too, it’s counter to counter as both men go for their best jiu-jitsu techniques. Sampo winds up on top as they scramble in full mount, Mazzotta bucks him off, Sampo tries to pull guard for a guillotine and Mazzotta goes for a leg lock as a wild R3 comes to an end. 10-9 Mazzotta.
Final result: The judges score it 30-27 X3 all for Dominic Mazzotta.
Derek Anderson vs. Zak Bucia
Red trunks and blue gloves for Bucia. Gray trunks and red gloves for Anderson. Bucia is 18-9, Anderson is 14-3. Bucia fights out of Lawrence, Kansas. Anderson fights out of Vista, California. Our referee is Jason Herzog.
Round 1: Anderson lifts Bucia high in the air and takes him down 18 seconds into R1. Bucia tries to roll his way to an armbar submission. Anderson tries to stack him up against the fence and get out of it. Herzog is keeping a close eye on both men. Anderson finally gets free at 2:04 and throws left hands at Bucia’s head, using his feet to push both of them away from the fence. Bucia keeps fishing for submissions off his back, forcing Anderson to be cautious every time he wants to posture up and throw strikes. A few hammerfists sneak through but Anderson is forced to escape another attempt the moment he let go. Yet another attempt with 40 seconds left. Anderson pulls out of the armbar with 10 seconds to go and lands some elbows to end a close R1. 10-9 Bucia as the more offensive fighter off of his back.
Round 2: Anderson throws a right high kick and leg kick to open this round. Another high kick is checked but the hands and leg kick are not. He checks the inside low kick. A big right hand tags Bucia. Anderson pumps the left jab and makes Bucia backpedal. The right high kick is blocked. The right hook gets through. Bucia lands a straight left but Anderson comes forward with jabs and a body kick. Anderson rocks Bucia with a right uppercut at 2:04 and knocks him down with a left moments later. Bucia lost his mouthpiece as he fell down. Herzog very briefly stops the action to put it back in. Anderson backs off and forces the stand up at 2:48 and Anderson pours it on. Bucia steps forward and eats a hard right. Bucia is thrown down and Anderson jumps on top. Bucia tries to get that armbar and Anderson throws knees to his rear end. Anderson pulls out and stands up at 4:02. Jumping knee from Anderson. Right kick checked. Uppercut and left jabs by Anderson. Bucia has to put his mouthpiece back in again with 29 seconds left. 10-9 Anderson. Borderline to a 10-8.
Round 3: Anderson lands kicks and Bucia chases a left hand that doesn’t connect. Each Anderson kick lands with a heavy thud. Anderson cracks Bucia with a hard left and Bucia somehow stays standing. Anderson with a combo and a head kick at 1:12. You get the feeling watching that if Bucia gets knocked down again this fight will be over. Bucia keeps backpedaling. His face is wearing the scars of war. Left hook right cross left uppercut for Anderson. A cut has opened up under Bucia’s right eye. Left hook flush. Uppercut whistles by the target. Body kick. Front kick. Three minutes gone. Left uppercut misses. Right kick checked. Leg kick lands. Bucia lands a combo and a body kick of his own. Right hands land consecutively for Anderson. Big right hook from Anderson. Right jabs from Bucia. Jumping knee to the body from Anderson. Furious exchange rocks Anderson momentarily and Anderson takes him down in response. Bucia goes for a very late armbar but can’t get it before the bell. 10-9 Anderson.
Final result: The judges score it 30-27 X3 all for Derek Anderson.
Jordan Dowdy vs. Jeff Crotty
Round 1: Unaired before Paramount Network.
Final result: Jordan Dowdy wins via submission (rear naked choke) at 0:29 of round one.
Adam Cella vs. DeWayne Diggs
Round 1: Unaired before Paramount Network.
Final result: Adam Cella wins via TKO at 4:27 of the first round.
Joe Roye vs. Cort Wahle
Round 1: Unaired before Paramount Network.
Final result: Cort Wahle wins via submission (guillotine) at 0:21 of the first round.
Justin Robbins vs. A.J. Siscoe
Round 1: Unaired before Paramount Network.
Final result: A.J. Siscoe wins via submission (rear naked choke) at 4:34 of round two.
Jordan Howard vs. Eric Ellington
Gray trunks and red gloves for Howard. Blue gloves and black trunks for Ellington. The former is 10-4 and the latter is 4-0. Howard has a 70” reach and Ellington 69”. Ellington fights out of East St. Louis and Howard out of Jefferson City, Missouri. Our referee in charge is Mike England.
Round 1: Ellington stomps on the mat with his left foot and throws a kick with his right leg. He continues to snap off leg kicks as Howard shifts side to side in front of him. Howard throws a right that hits Howard’s left bicep then snaps off a leg kick of his own. Ellington tries a right hook. Howard paws with the left. Ellington backs away from a leg kick by Howard then releases his own. Ellington has a wrap around his right knee and doesn’t seem to put his full weight on that leg at any one time. Howard attacks the left leg with a kick though. Ellington is getting a big more aggressive with 90 seconds left. Howard throws a body shot. Ellington gets a takedown at 4:06 and is in full guard. Howard tries to sit up against the fence and get to his feet - he finally gets free with a second left before the bell. 10-9 Ellington.
Round 2: Howard connects with the first right hand of R2 and whistles past Ellington’s chin with an uppercut, which causes him to immediately go for and get a takedown. Howard tries to keep the right arm pinned and prevent any offense, which makes England call for more work on top. “You’ve got to do something” is his second warning at 1:30. Ellington finally gets the arm free as we pass the two minute mark as he’s avoiding a triangle attempt. England has not seen enough though and stands them up at 2:42. Ellington throws a right and Howard a leg kick, missing with a spinning head kick. Question mark kick grazes Ellington’s head. A couple of nice rights cause Ellington to go for and get his third takedown at 3:50. England says “C’mon you’re just holding him down.” He is but Howard isn’t getting up from it either - it takes two to tango. 10-9 Ellington.
Round 3: Right hook from Howard starts R3. Left head kick from Howard. Ellington circles and resets at 58 seconds and throws a body kick. Straight left and leg kick from Ellington. Left hook high from Howard. A combo and a jump knee land for Howard and no surprise Ellington responds with a takedown at 1:47. Howard tries to cinch up a triangle but Ellington scrambles free and gets another takedown as Howard tried to grab a guillotine. England is quick to warn Ellington to stay busy. He stands the fighters up at 2:58. Howard continues to pressure forward and nails Ellington with a right uppercut. Again Ellington responds with the takedown at 3:48. Ellington tries to take the back but Howard escapes at 4:08. Double leg takedown from Ellington at 4:21. Even though Ellington scores with numerous takedowns this round I’d actually give it to Howard for landing quality strikes 10-9.
Final result: The judges score this contest 29-28 Ellington, 29-28 Howard, 29-28 Ellington by split decision.