Bellator 235 “Salute the Troops: Barnett vs. Markes” took place Friday, Dec. 20, 2019 at Neal S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii. After the expected main event was cancelled due to illness, a new main event featuring Toby Misech (10-6) vs. “Goyito” Erik Perez (19-6) in his Bellator MMA debut at Bantamweight was on tap.
The fight lasted less than a minute as Perez got dropped by a scintillating left hook set up by a quick right jab. With the knockout in the main event Misech got the chance to speak with “Big” John McCarthy afterward.
“I was a little disappointed, I missed weight, first time in my career but I had to make up for that. We got put in the main event tonight for a reason you know? No pressure. I was the underdog, but this is my home town. We ain’t losing here. It’s a dream come true. You hear all of that man. How can you not be motivated? I’m going to make up for this weight loss, and I’m bringing the belt back home”
Undefeated collegiate wrestling sensation turned Welterweight beast “Black Ice” Joey Davis (6-0) took on the tomato can of the week in Chris Cisneros (19-10). This was never even close. Davis took him down nine seconds into the fight, followed Cisneros backward to the fence, postured up from his knees and sliced that can open with a hard elbow.
Cisneros couldn’t shake Davis off at any point and at 3:55 he had taken too much damage and referee Mike Beltran stepped in to make the save. That left plenty of time to speak with “Big” John McCarthy after the stoppage.
“First and foremost I want to thank God, my coaches, and all of the troops for being here. I come from a military family. You guys are mentally tough and I’m honored to fight for you guys. Going against Chris Cisneros I knew I had to be on my P’s and Q’s, be efficient in the gym, coming into his home territory, I had to be ready. I just wanted to go back to the drawing board against a very tough opponent and do what works. I got the W with it.”
Flyweight contenders stepped up before Saturday’s title fight as Alejandra Lara (8-3) took on Veta Arteaga (5-3). Lara had three inches in height and five inches in reach on her opponent and it showed in the first round. She repeatedly found the range and smacked Arteaga with hard left hands and elbows, causing swelling around the right eye and dominating to the degree it was conceivably a 10-8 first round.
Arteaga is “tougher than a two dollar steak” though. She got dropped by a head kick in the second round, but when Lara tried to swarm to finish her off, a pissed off Arteaga started firing back hard right hands, forcing Lara to abandon her pursuit and reset back to center. She still won the round at least 10-9 regardless.
There is no quit in either of these women.@AlejAzuLara and @Ms_Veta are both doing serious damage in round two.— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) December 21, 2019
Round three is up next LIVE on @ParamountNet.#BellatorHawaii #BellatorUSO pic.twitter.com/7O4sJvTFds
If you enjoy seeing copious amounts of blood cascading from a fighter’s forehead until her face is a crimson mask, the third round is for you, and Arteaga was the one giving you the visual. Lara punished her with head kicks and diced her open with elbows at close range, but Arteaga just couldn’t be put away no matter how much damage Lara did. You aren’t supposed to score rounds based on bleeding but given how much she was out struck it wouldn’t be unfair to call that a 10-8 either.
Lara took a 30-26 unanimous decision from all three judges and spoke to “Big” John McCarthy about her dominant performance.
“I feel very happy. This is what I’ve been working for. I want to show that I’m ready for bigger challenges. Everyone needs to improve and believe they can be the best and that’s what I do. I want everything. I want everyone in this weight class. That’s it. Give me whatever you want and I will be ready for it.”
Highlight reel Featherweight Tywan Claxton (5-1) opened up the evening’s broadcast by facing the unbeaten Braydon Akeo (3-0).
Claxton gave up range to the undefeated Akeo, but didn’t look it as he dominated the first round with power striking and knees in clinch. The second round continued the striking dominance, with Claxton clipping Akeo with a right hook and firing a left jab right down the pipe. Akeo’s takedown attempts were continually blocked through both rounds.
The third round was decisive enough to be a 10-8. Claxton not only stuffed the takedowns but got his own and put a hurting on Akeo, forcing him to give up his back as the strikes poured down. He went for a rear naked choke late in the frame but Akeo survived the round and ultimately lost a 30-27 X3 unanimous decision. Claxton spoke to John McCarthy next.
“Everybody knows I just came off my first loss in my last fight. That was my sixth fight and he had just fought for a world title two fights ago. He humbled the fuck out of me and I got back to my grind. I might lose but I’ll come back stronger. You can’t break me. It’s gonna be a lot more Air Claxton in the future, you better believe that.”
For complete Bellator Salute the Troops results and coverage click here.