Bellator 227: “Henderson vs. Jury” aired last night (Fri., Sept. 27, 2019) via simulcast on Paramount Network and DAZN. As you might expect from the title two former UFC Lightweights met in the main event — promotional veteran Ben Henderson (27-8) and newcomer Myles Jury (18-4).
Fight fans: @BellatorMMA is headed your way NOW on #ParamountNetwork #Bellator227 pic.twitter.com/45AZvIXJm1— Paramount Network (@paramountnet) September 28, 2019
The first round went smoothly to Benson Henderson thanks to rapid changes in his stance and multiple attacks to Jury’s left leg with kicks. Despite reaching out with his left hand and keeping a loaded right up near his chin he rarely had the chance to land either one. Second verse, same as the first. Henderson kept piling up the significant strikes and Jury seemed to be having trouble putting weight on his left leg. Going into round three he was in a deep hole he’d need a finish to dig out of.
Jury never found a shovel that could get the job done. He seemed completely perplexed by the offense of Henderson, never measuring the distance nor landing the effective strikes. At the end of the day when the scorecards were read Benson Henderson prevailed by 30-27 X3 unanimous decision. Surprisingly no post-fight interview followed.
A Featherweight fight saw Leah McCourt (2-1) taking on Kerry Hughes (3-4). Although Hughes was the more experienced fighter on paper, her subpar record suggested that she might not be good enough to beat the local favorite McCourt. That suspicion was borne out when McCourt hit a judo throw, took the back, and sunk in a rear naked choke for the finish at 2:48 of the first round. She spoke to Josh Thomson afterward.
“I just felt calm this week backstage. Just started to believe in myself and my preparation. My finishes are my strength. Everything we’ve done I’ve drilled in the gym. I want to fight in November in London — put me on that card please!”
Disqualified for an illegal strike in his last fight, Kiefer Crosbie (6-1) got a chance for redemption against Hugo Pereira (3-1) at a catchweight of 160 lbs. A close first round edged toward Pereira, but despite the occasional takedown and having Crosbie’s back in the third round, he could never mount enough offense to outpoint his opponent. Crosbie won a unanimous decision of 29-28 X2 and 30-27 from the judges.
A lot of Crosbie’s interview got bleeped out but here’s as much as Paramount could air.
“What the fuck is up Dublin!!! All of these people fucking come out here. I always put pressure on meself to get a finish quick. I was trying to catch him with something flashy but you always have to be cautious with people like this. I’m sorry for me language.”
Will Fleury (6-1) got a rousing reaction for his entrance in Dublin, but the young and hungry Norbert Novenyi (3-0) looked to play spoiler. In the early going Fleury seemed to have the advantage with his takedown and ground work, but when Novenyi got back up he clocked Fleury with an overhand right that left him dizzy, then decked him with it over and over in the waning seconds of round one. Fleury was stumbling back to his stool.
For the next two rounds Fleury was unable to find an effective strategy to mount a comeback, failing to get takedowns and eating multiple overhand rights. His chin held up well enough to take it to the judges, but they were not kind to the local, scoring Novenyi 30-26 X2, 30-27 by unanimous decision. He gave Josh Thomson his thoughts afterward.
“Will Fleury is a beast. I went through hell. I did everything and he’s an absolute monster. Irish fans make some noise! I’m so happy that I could come here and fight in front of you guys. I’m 19, next week I’m going to be 20, and a fucking world champion.”
A late addition to the main card pitted Frans Mlambo (7-4) against Dominique Wooding (6-2) at Bantamweight. Wooding had his moments in the contest and was able to connect with multiple takedowns, but the turning points in the bout were the moments when he was exchanging against the fence with Mlambo. In those exchanges Mlambo was dominant with hands, knees and elbows. One judge declared one round a stalemate but two others saw it all for Mlambo, scoring him the winner 30-27 X2 and 30-28.
The “Bellator Dublin” portion saw local sensation “The Strabanimal” James Gallagher (9-1) face “El Gallito” Roman Salazar (13-9, 1 NC) in the top fight.
.@StrabanimalMMA is in the cage now!#BellatorDublin is LIVE NOW on the Bellator app Channel 5 , Virgin Media Sport ! #mma pic.twitter.com/kSDMfZOogj— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) September 27, 2019
Salazar was a late replacement for Cal Ellenor and clearly outmatched from the opening bell, immediately being caught in a guillotine when he went for a takedown and tapping out at 0:35 of the first round. The victorious “Strabanimal” spoke to “The Punk” Josh Thomson after his latest win while the crowd sang for their homeland favorite.
“I’m absolutely bulletproof. I don’t care what happens. I don’t care what gets in my way. I’ll run through a wall. I don’t give one fuck. I have worked my balls off for this moment and no one I mean NO ONE is going to take this away from me. DUBLIN!! Just listen to this take the roof off!! Hear that joy! That’s just exceptional. No one is doing this!”
Michael “Venom” Page (14-1) looked to bounce back from a Welterweight tournament loss to Douglas Lima with a hand picked opponent in Richard Kiely (3-1).
There was as much drama during the fight as in its final seconds. Page thought so little of his opponent that he took time out during the bout to taunt Kiely, drawing a stern warning from Dan Miragliotta. He swept Kiely to the ground immediately thereafter, then drew the ire of the ref for taunting again while on top. Miragliotta gave Page a one point deduction for his antics but it was ultimately irrelevant as Page finished Kiely with a flying knee at 2:47 of the first round. Josh Thomson tried to ask him about the deduction afterward.
“I was a bit frustrated with the whole thing. I don’t even want to talk about that. DUBLIN!!!! I am so excited. I wish I could have done some more for you guys. You guys are amazing! They know me as MVP, Michael ‘Venom’ Page, but when I’m here I’m MIP, Michael ‘Irish’ Page. He kept ducking his head, it was an obvious shot, this is exactly what I expected. I hardly even trained for the guy. I’ve been on holiday, I’ve been buying properties. I’m chasing one person and one person only. He took that ‘oh’ away from me. Douglas Lima I have so much respect for you but I’m coming BACK!”
To fill time on the Channel 5 broadcast, a bonus fight between Camila Rivarola vs. Danni Neilan aired after Page’s interview. Neilan improved to 1-0 with a unanimous decision.
In addition “Big Baby” Ryan Scope (10-2) would attempt to rebound from a split decision loss against Patricky Freire in a fight with “The Showstopper” Peter Queally (11-5-1).
Queally was effective throughout the first round by providing forward pressure and out striking Scope on the feet. Scope’s best response was hard kicks to the lead left leg but he only landed a few of them — certainly not enough to tip the round in his favor. Conor McGregor was in the house cheering on his SBG Ireland brethren Queally on the card.
McGregor may have been worried for a moment when Queally got rocked by a kick in the early moments of round two, but once Scope exhausted himself on the ground looking for a finish, Queally swept to the top and got up to let Scope stand in front of him. He jumped all over his exhausted opponent with strikes and finished him off at 3:07 of round two.
Peter Queally has done it!— Bellator Europe (@Bellator_Europe) September 27, 2019
Despite being dropped early in round 1, "The Showstopper" puts on an epic comeback to finish Ryan Scope!
Watch #BellatorDublin LIVE on Channel 5 and Virgin Media pic.twitter.com/L1AKDYRzc0
A post-fight interview with Josh Thomson followed.
“Listen! I wouldn’t have gotten up off the canvas if it was anywhere else but here. The crowd won me this fight! He got me with a beautiful shot. I didn’t even know what it was until the replay. In 25 fights I’ve never been finished. It’s not going to happen in Dublin, that’s for sure!”
For complete Bellator 227 results and coverage click here.