Bellator 205: “Curran vs. McKee” took place last night (Fri., Sept. 21, 2018) at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho. Long time contender “Macapa” John Teixeira (21-3-2) was looking to claim the top spot on the ladder, but the undefeated “Mercenary” A.J. McKee (11-0) also had his eyes on the prize and a potential fight with “Pitbull” down the line.
This one didn’t last long. McKee was going for head kicks early, Teixeira was defending well and responded with a hard kick to the body, but after a quick scramble on the ground McKee floored Teixeira with a left hand at 1:09 for the win by knockout. “Big” John McCarthy spoke to him afterward.
“I’m amped up! I’m happy to be here and put on a show for the fans in Idaho. I have to give glory to the man upstairs, none of this is possible without him. As a citizen as a country as a people we are one, so let’s stay together. Oh man it’s phenomenal. Baby Slice, Aaron Pico, Waleel Watson, we got a team so stacked it’s not even funny. I have to train hard so I don’t get MY ass whupped. I wasn’t sure if I caught him with the spinning heel kick but once I saw him stumbling I thought oh, get up and get him! Since day one it’s A-1, where is my belt? I like to look flossy, I need a nice belt around my waist.”
In the co-main event a fight in the making since Bellator 198 finally came to fruition as Middleweights Rafael Lovato Jr. (8-0) and John Salter (15-3) finally got to test their jiu-jitsu against each other.
The first two rounds were largely a stalemate, with Salter just barely edging the first on striking and Lovato being more offensive in Round 2 with multiple submission events. That left it all up to the third and final round to see which grappler would come out on top.
The momentum swung decisively to Lovato when he blocked a takedown and countered it by taking a back mount. Salter turned over and Lovato started unloading on top with lefts and rights, so he turned over again and Lovato continued to soften him up until he finally opened the neck and went palm to palm on the rear naked choke at 4:27 of Round 2.
Lovato spoke to John McCarthy afterward.
“Oh man I was worried. I knew the rounds were close. He hit me with some good shots, I felt like I was connecting to, but I needed to put a little more pressure. He went for a not so good single, I was able to stuff it and get on top. I want to thank Salter for the war, I have so much respect for that guy. I want to wish his friends, family and students and everyone that might have been affected by the hurricane well. I want to thank Boise, you guys have treated me so well. I’m spending the weekend here and I look forward to eating some of the best food that you’ve got. I think it’s no secret but sometimes you’ve got to speak up a little bit, I want the title shot, that’s my dream, I want to bring it back home to the U.S. to my team in Oklahoma City. I know with them I can do anything so let me do it please, let me go for my dream.”
Of course he’ll have to wait to see if he’s “bringing it home” from either Canada or the Netherlands after Bellator 206 next Saturday. Douglas Lima spoke to Mike Goldberg during the live broadcast as well.
“I’m super excited, it’s a tough fight, I fought that guy before but man I’m here to finish fights. I finished him the last time and I look forward to finishing him this time. It’s three tough fights, but that’s what it takes, and I’m here to win. I’m gonna go there (to San Jose), swing hard, kick hard and I’m going for the kill. I think experience is the main thing. I’m older, I train smarter and I’m doing everything right. I’m more focused than ever and I’m here to get that belt back.”
Hard hitter Patricky Freire (19-8) faced former UFC star Roger Huerta (24-10-1, 1 NC) to see if he could climb another notch in his own ascent up a stacked weight class.
Even though the elder “Pitbull” is legendary for his power, it was Roger Huerta who landed the harder blows in round one, rocking Freire a couple of times and showing his willingness to stand in a phone booth and trade blows even when it left blood streaming down his face.
Unfortunately for “El Matador” when you live by the sword you die by it as well. In the second round he was rocked by a left hand he never saw coming then finished with a right hand that demolished his nose, causing him to drop to his knees and stop fighting back. Freire got the victory by knockout at 0:43, after which he spoke to “Big” John McCarthy.
“Yes, he’s a tough man. It doesn’t matter who is next, I want the best. Brent Primus, I want to take your belt, I want to take your head. Let’s do this. I come for you. It doesn’t matter. If I put my right hand, he’s down. If I put my left hand, he’s down. Is normal. I am the next champ!”
The Flyweight division also got to shine at Bellator 205 as Boise’s own Veta Arteaga (4-2) took on decorated kickboxing world champion Denise Kielholtz (2-1 in MMA).
Arteaga tried to shoot for takedowns multiple times in round one, but each time Kielholtz would escape and light Arteaga up standing. Arteaga’s power was no match for the quick hand speed of the kickboxing champion in the early going.
In the second round Arteaga was on the attack and managed to lift Kielholtz off her feet for a takedown, but as she had done so many times before Kielholtz got out of trouble and got to her feet.
It was Kielholtz’ own takedown that backfired horribly, as Arteaga had her head trapped when they stood back up, and she squeezed until Kielholtz tapped to the guillotine choke at 4:24. John McCarthy interviewed Boise’s hometown hero afterward.
“I feel great! Thank you guys so much for the support. I can’t even describe the words for this crowd tonight. It was great. I have nothing but respect for Denise, I’m glad she accepted this fight, it was a good challenge for me. I looked over at my coaches and they were just telling me elbow elbow elbow up (on the choke) and that’s exactly what I did. I think I deserve a title shot, I just beat the kickboxing champion and I beat the top (Flyweight) challenger.”
For complete Bellator 205 results and coverage click here.