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Bellator 221 ‘Chandler vs Pitbull’ recap with results, .gifs and interviews

Bellator 221 ‘Chandler vs Pitbull’ aired Sat. night (May 11, 2019) from Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. MMA Mania brings you a post-fight recap, results, .gifs and interviews from a card where the Lightweight title was on the line!

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Bellator 221: “Chandler vs. Pitbull” aired last night (Sat., May 11, 2019) exclusively via DAZN from Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Lightweight champion “Iron” Michael Chandler (19-4) put his belt up for grabs against Featherweight champion “Pitbull” Patricio Freire (28-4), moving up in weight for this historic fight.

It didn’t take long to wrap up this long simmering feud. Freire put Chandler down with a perfectly timed left that landed behind the ear, and while Chandler was rocked with his face to the canvas “Pitbull” was throwing multiple left hands with no response from the champ. Rob Madrigal stepped in to wave it off right as Chandler was starting to get back up. You can argue whether or not he was “out” but Freire is the winner by KO at 1:01 of Round 1 (shown above).

The victorious and now two weight class champion Freire spoke to John McCarthy.

“Everybody saw him go to sleep. I did what I had to do. I did my job. Yes he was asleep, so I did my job, I’m sorry — but I don’t give a fuck. I’m the ‘champ champ’ now!! I am gonna talk with my manager and we will see (about defending both). LET’S GO!!”

Michael Chandler also spoke to McCarthy after his stunning defeat.

“I saw it, I remember it, I went to the ground. I had my wits about me. This is the sport we chose though man. I had fights I won that people thought were fast, and now people may think this was an early stoppage, but he did put me down. Either way we’re moving forward. I remember being face down with my hands just trying to stop the punches. As you can see he landed two as I blocked. As I was getting up the ref was... you know... stopping the fight.”

The next round of the Welterweight Grand Prix took place in the co-main event as “Phenom” Douglas Lima (30-7) and “Venom” Michael Page (14-0) fought to see who would move on to the finals against the winner of Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie at MSG.

Just like Page’s fight with Paul Daley, the opening round will be judged by what you are looking for from a fight. Page was the man throwing kicks and moving fluidly, but Lima got the takedown and was on top for a couple of minutes, managing to get in a few elbows to the head despite Page exercising wrist control for most of his time on bottom.

The finish in round two makes that debate academic. Even though Page scored early with a right hand and may have briefly had Lima in trouble, he returned the favor with a calf kick that wobbled Page, and then destroyed him with a right hand when he was trying to stand back up. Mike Beltran rushed in to stop it as Lima tagged him with a couple of hammerfists just to make sure, but it was already over. The official time was 0:35 of R2.

Lima spoke to “Big” John McCarthy after accepting a bottle of champagne from 50 Cent.

“Man it feels good. I’m just blessed. Thank you God for this. Thank you everybody out here. I’m just really happy to be back. I respect Michael Page so much. Hat’s off to him he’s gonna come back strong. My wife is here watching. I’m very emotional right now. Let’s finish this tournament! Of course the belt (means more). Money is just a bonus. I appreciate 50 Cent putting it up, it’s awesome for my family, but I’m looking forward to being champion again. I’m working harder to get that belt. I want Rory. He’s been in the sport for so long, but let the best man win. Thank God I’m healthy. I’ll be back in the gym Monday working to improve every day.”

Speaking of undefeated fighters, Featherweight sensation A.J. McKee (14-0) faced his toughest test to date in two time former world champion Pat Curran (23-7).

Both men were incredibly tentative in the first round to the point that the crowd was booing them with a minute left to go. McKee finally knocked Curran down when he was off balance but it was probably the numerous body and head kicks he threw that won round one 10-9.

Curran tried to turn the tide with a double leg takedown with 90 seconds to go in round two, but had virtually no offense from the top position. McKee on the other hand was very active pushing Curran’s head back and throwing elbows, even managing to slice the top of Curran’s head open, so it’s hard to argue he didn’t win Round 2 as well.

McKee showed one flash of weakness during the third round when he shot for a takedown, Curran sprawled, then hit a knee to the body to make him pay. It was far from a devastating blow though as McKee ate it and kept coming with strikes, then got the takedown with under a minute left and worked hands to the body as blood streamed down Curran’s face.

After the judges returned a 30-27 X2 and 30-26 for McKee, he spoke with John McCarthy.

“I’ve been watching Pat since I was six years old. I knew I had to fight smart, but I ain’t taking no L’s in this cage. I’m going to get back to doing what I do best, that’s kicking ass and taking names. I haven’t really been taken down (before Curran) but thank you to my sponsors and Snickers — they keep me alive.”

After cruising in his Bellator MMA debut in January, former WWE superstar Jake Hager (1-0) looked to improve his Heavyweight record by squaring off with T.J. Jones (1-1). Jones looked excited about his opportunity inside the Bellator cage.

Judging by the tale of the tape he probably shouldn’t have been so enthused.

Not surprisingly given his height and reach advantage, not to mention his All-American collegiate wrestling background, Hager cruised to a second win but not without a little controversy. When Hager secured the head and arm choke, Jones’ tapped out but Hager kept the hold on until referee Mike Beltran pulled him off and yelled at him to back off. Beltran gave him a stern warning afterward but the submission win at 2:36 of Round 1 remained official for Hager.

The former pro wrestler spoke to John McCarthy about the finish and relished the hate at Allstate.

“I meant no disrespect but you’re going to have to make me stop. Y’all can boo me all you want because you’re not in here right now. He rolled luckily I was able to use my head, counter balance my weight and anchor it back down. I gotta say this John - Catalina baby thank you, I love you, Knox, Presley, daddy’s coming home. Keep booing me, I don’t care. I can’t hear you. Is that all you got?”

Opening the card exclusively on DAZN was a bout between four win Featherweights — “Speedy” Tywan Claxton (4-0) and James Bennett (4-1).

Claxton did everything in the first round but finish James Bennett. When he wanted to take him down, he did so at will. When he wanted to smash him in the face with hands and elbows, he did so as well. It had to be a 10-8 round even on the strictest scorecards. The only difference in the second round was that Bennett controlled the posture in the last minute. Before that point Claxton managed to work in a shout out to Curtis Jackson.

After another two minutes and nine seconds of a beating in round three Kevin MacDonald mercifully waved off the fight. Claxton spoke to “Big” John McCarthy afterward.

“I was like shit, when is he gonna give up? Hats off to him! I know I hit hard. Look at his face, I know I hit hard. He ate the flying knee and kept coming. He’s a warrior man. My hat off to him and much respect. Just look at his face. Both of his eyes are almost swollen shut. I don’t know how he kept fighting. That’s a tough guy.”

For complete Bellator 221 results and coverage click here.

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