Bellator 200 “Carvalho vs. Mousasi” took place last night (Fri., May 25, 2018) at SSE Arena in London, England. The Middleweight event was guaranteed to make sparks fly. Reigning champion Rafael Carvalho (15-1) had the biggest test of his career to date in former DREAM and Strikeforce champion Gegard Mousasi (43-6-2). Who would emerge the victor in this exciting bout?
Mousasi’s wrestling and his ground game was the difference maker in this fight. He took the champ down, Carvalho got up, and Mousasi took him right back down again. He transitioned to full mount, started to unload with strikes, and Miragliotta stepped in and stopped the fight at 3:35 of the first round, giving the legend Mousasi yet another world title around his waist in only his second Bellator fight. Here’s what he had to say after claiming what was once exclusively Carvalho’s property.
“It feels good, I worked hard for this. All my friends that came, all the audience that came, thank you. Spending the money to come watch the fights, thank you very much. I was thinking it could go five rounds but I fight with heavy guys so my strength is up to there. Once I’m on top position I’m good I think. I think everyone want to see Rory MacDonald, hopefully he doesn’t chicken out and we have a fight.”
Undefeated Welterweight Michael “Venom” Page (12-0) soaked in the adulation of his home country fans before he prepared for a striking exchange with head hunting, snake head biting “Caveman” David Rickels (19-4, 2 NC).
If the opening round seemed like “The MVP Show” that’s only because it was. The crowd whooped and roared for his antics as he danced around a befuddled Rickels, dropping him with right hands whenever he chose, stopping to breakdance or strike a pose whenever he wanted. Rickels had no answers for anything Page threw his way - not even his attempt at a spinning backfist that missed. MVP was clearly having a good time.
Rickels verbally submitted to strikes after his eye was exploded by a perfectly timed right hand, ending the fight at 0:43 of the second round. Page spoke to “Big” John McCarthy about improving to a perfect 13-0 afterward while wearing a replica Infinity Gauntlet.
“LONDON!!!!! The one and only MVP is back!! I would just, sorry guys, I would like to just dedicate this fight to Helena Ramsey. My little cousin unfortunately died out there and got caught with a bullet so I want to dedicate this fight to her. I’ve got an amazing team. I’m saying to anybody now. Any kind of sparring you want, come to London Shoot, we’re always ready. You know what? This is the sharpest I’ve felt. I went through a hellish training camp back to back to back because I was preparing for a fight that never happened, and I’m here in front of the best crowd in the world, supporting me to the end. London I love you. These guys give me energy. I never feel pressure in front of these guys. Are you crazy? I will never feel pressure. Just let me click my fingers, I’m taking over everybody... EVERYBODY.”
On the road to regaining his Light Heavyweight crown, former champion “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis (18-4, 1 NC) would have to go through two time No. 1 contender Linton “The Swam” Vassell (18-6, 1 NC).
Both men seemed content to ram home leg kicks in the first round, with Vassell scoring repeatedly on Davis’ lead left leg, but Davis was the better striker despite Vassell owning a size and reach advantage. Davis threw straight shots that connected while Vassell threw looping hooks that Davis could avoid. Davis drove home the point late in Round 1 with a knee straight up the middle, but this round was a war.
The second round turned into a wrestling battle, which as you might expect favored Davis, but it wasn’t without merit for Vassell. He charged his way into takedowns and seemed to muscle “Mr. Wonderful” to the canvas, but Davis would quickly backdoor escape and wind up on top, and once they were back on their feet Davis was once again outscoring Vassell with significant strikes including a right head kick.
At the pace both men had set in the earlier frames you might have expected this one to go to a decision. Phil Davis had other plans and timed a wildly missed overhand by Vassell, baited him with a feint, then landed a sterling right kick to the head that put Vassell out cold at 1:05 of Round 3.
“Big” John McCarthy stepped into the cage to speak to Davis after his sensational finish.
“I knew Linton was tough, and I knew he was strong, but God dog he’s really tough and strong as an ox. Hostile territory, loud crowd, I can’t leave anything to change. Whoever steps in this cage has to deal with me. If that doesn’t give you heebie jeebies, if that doesn’t keep you up at night, I don’t know what does!”
The SSE Arena was also host to fan favorite Anastasia Yankova (5-0) for a Flyweight bout with local favorite Kate Jackson (9-3-1).
Jackson had the experience edge going in, but Yankova had been a darling of the Flyweight division until the first round of this fight. The first five minutes may have been the most one sided beating she’s ever had outside of a sparring session on her first day in training. She was taken to the ground by Jackson and fed a 10-8 diet of brutal left hands.
Yankova did better in Round 2, but let’s put “better” in quotation marks because it was only a 10-9 beating. She did manage to stuff a few takedown attempts against the fence and throw a few nice left hands late when Jackson rolled for a heel hook after being warned by Leon Roberts to get more active. It was a moral victory but Yankova was still in a deep hole going into Round 3.
There was one brief moment of glory for Yankova in round three as Roberts gave Jackson another “get busy” warning and her takedown attempt wound up putting Yankova on top. She worked her way to side control and was looking for an armbar, but Jackson was able to sweep, get a full mount, and unload with elbows to cement the round. The judges scored it 30-26, 30-26 and 29-27 for Jackson. No post-fight interview followed.
At a catchweight of 163 lbs. undefeated reality TV story Aaron Chalmers (3-0) took on this week’s can of tomato soup named Ash Griffiths (4-6).
Griffiths took his one shot to overwhelm Chalmers by going for a takedown right away, but Chalmers popped up immediately and Griffiths redoubled his efforts. A potentially controversial knee struck Chalmers as he was posted on one hand getting back up from the next takedown, but he shook it off and clipped Griffiths with a hard shot then stood him up and leaned back for the guillotine choke. It was all over in a minute and fifty-five seconds.
“Erm, I’ve been working a lot on me ground game. Took a knee, moved myself, bang — sit down son! Geordies if you don’t like it then f—k off - simple as that! I’ve got a top team (like) Tom Breese, that’s why I just put him away in the first round once again.”
A late addition to the main card saw up and coming prospect Mike Shipman square off with Carl Noon, and he only needed 11 seconds to finish off a man who hadn’t fought in six+ years. One solid right hand dropped Noon immediately, and Dan Miragliotta waved it off as Shipman landed multiple hammerfists.
The fight was over so fast that Bellator didn’t even attempt to go to a commercial break, and Shipman got some interview time with John McCarthy after the bout ended.
“It’s my switch step right hook. It’s my trademark move and it’s my pleasure to introduce it to the world. That’s my quickest (knockout) so far. I knew he was going to come out lively but he had to worry about what I’ve got as well. I’m not in any hurry. That was an impressive finish so hopefully I’ll get a well recognized fighter next time and work my way up to a contender.”
For complete Bellator 200 results and coverage click here.