Bellator 163 was easily the best Bellator card I have watched which contained 8 finishes, 6 of which were in the first round. These early finishes lead to long stretches of Watchdogs 2 and Dave and Buster ads along with the replaying of a couple preliminary fights, but I didn’t mind after witnessing the condensed fast paced matches. There was an awkward encounter with Tito Ortiz (who made some homophobic remarks) and Chael Sonnen promoting their fight in January but I felt Bellator kept the cheese at a bearable level during this card.
Preliminary Card (spike.com)
Welterweight – Carlos Correia def. Ilya Kotau – Decision split – (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
This was the only decision in the 6 preliminary fights. Kotau had a height and reach advantage over Correia in this fight which in the end did not help him. Correia went for submissions in all three rounds but Kotau was able to defend and roll out of every submission attempt. At the beginning of the 2nd round Kotau dropped Correia with a heavy right and was not able to finish him. It took a while for Correia to recover from the direct hit to his cheek, but he was able to stay alive and be proactive in his submission attempts to impress the judges. Kotau was successful in defending himself, but was not active enough on the offensive end, minus the near knock-out blow.
Catchweight 192 lbs – Ed Ruth def. Dustin Collins-Miles – TKO punches – (RD 1 – 3:19)
Collins-Miles landed a heavy left hand shortly after the fight started which stunned Ruth. After recovering for a few seconds, Ruth then threw Collins-Miles to the ground and immediately started wearing him down with punches. Collins-Miles face opened up during the barrage and spewed blood onto the mat. Ruth never stopped attacking and the ref called the fight when it was clear that Collins-Miles was not going to get out of the situation. The official ruling was TKO due to unanswered strikes.
Heavyweight – Tyrell Fortune def. Cody Miskell – TKO knees & punches – (RD 1 – 2:22)
These two fighters could not look anymore different. Miskell is husky big belly and love handle wielding white guy, while Fortune is a fit muscular linebacker sized black guy. It didn’t take long for Fortune to take Miskell to the ground, maneuver to his back and quickly chip away at his will. Fortune landed punches, and four brutal knees to the body for Miskell. After the fourth knee, the ref stopped the fight.
Heavyweight – Tyler King def. Josh Diekmann – Submission rear-naked choke – (RD 2 – 1:39)
King is a giant fighter who towered over Diekmann and had a 6 inch reach advantage. The first round saw both fighters taunting and yelling at each other. King took Diekmann down towards the end of the first round. In the second round King took Diekmann down again, scored several body blows, took the back of Diekmann and successfully ended the fight with a rear-naked choke.
Catchweight 195 lbs – Tim Caron def. Steve Skrzat – TKO punches – (RD 2 – 1:22)
This fight didn’t see anything special. In the first round Skrzat caught a kick from Caron but shortly after was taken to the ground by Caron. While controlling Skrzat on the ground, Caron landed some punches and knees. In the second round the ref stopped the fight to wipe something off Skzats arm, probably grease or vaseline. Once the fight continued, Skrzat fell after a whiffed attack attempt and Caron finished him off with a flurry of attacks. The series of events that brought Skrzat looked strange, almost like he stumbled/collided with Caron.
Women’s Flyweight – Hannah Regina def. Sarah Payant – Submission arm bar – (RD 1 – 4:51)
This was a quick and fun flyweight fight. Payant tripped Regina in the first round and both fighters squirmed and rolled around looking for an advantageous position. Regina scored a takedown of her own and scored some body blows and punches. After the fighters got back to their feet, Payant took Regina to the mat. Regina was able to get an arm bar submission to finish the fight. She screamed in celebration and let the emotions of victory flow out of her. She was impressive especially this being her first professional fight. She was almost too active and twitchy, if she didn’t score a first round submission, I don’t know how her stamina would have held up.
These 6 fights combined to form a rad preliminary card.
Main Card (Spike)
Heavyweight – Javy Ayala def. Sergei Kharitonov – KO punch – (RD 1 – 0:16)
This fight lasted 16 seconds. Ayala landed a direct shot with a hard right hook that immediately finished Kharitonov. Kharitonov was unconscious before he hit the ground which caused his head to snap back hard on the mat when he fell on his back. The replay with audio allowed the audience to hear the horrifying cracking noise that came from the blow. Jimmy Smith compared the noise to dropping “a coconut out of a window.”
Catchweight 175 lbs – Neiman Gracie def. Rudy Bears – Submission arm bar – (RD 1 – 4:39)
Another first round finished followed the Ayala knock out. Gracie took Bears to the ground with 2:45 left in the fight and slowly got into position for a submission. Gracie first went for a rear-naked choke and Bears was able to wiggle out of, but switched to an arm bar that popped Bears arm out of place and forced him to tap. Watching the replay was hard knowing that Bears arm was going to move in a way it is not supposed to.
Welterweight – Brennan Ward def. Saad Awad – KO punches – (RD 1 – 1:26)
A third straight first round finish came when Ward unloaded a series of attacks on Awad. It was a left jab that finished Awad off. Awad looked like he was hit with a taser as his body went limp and he fell to the mat. Early in the fight Ward clenched up with Awad against the fence and the two spoke to each and then Ward let Awad free. In the post fight interview Ward explained the verbal interaction while in the clinch:
Awad: “do you want to wrestle or do you want to bang?”
Ward: “lets fucking bang.”
Bang they did and Ward destroyed the worthy Awad with his heavy fists. Ward appears to be a dude bro kind of guy, but he fights hard. I don’t care how annoying a fighter is as long as they are genuine and are always looking for a KO, I will always like that fighter.
Light Heavyweight – Phil Davis def. Liam McGeary ( C ) – Decision unanimous – (50-43, 50-45, 50-44)
Davis dominated this fight. Chael Sonnen joined the commentators and I thought he did a decent job calling and breaking down the fight. Davis clipped McGeary with a left jab early in the first round and then took him to the ground. This fight was on the ground for most of the 5 rounds and Davis was in control the whole time. He never went for a finish but he did enough to keep McGeary honest and to stay in half guard or full mount. He constantly kept his knee on the belly of McGeary which looked painful and annoying. Davis opened up a cut above McGeary’s eye in the 4th round and even though he had clearly lost every round, McGeary was unable to even get close to a position to finish Davis. This fight lasted all 25 minutes and Davis earned the light heavyweight belt.
This card ruled. Bellator 164 is next Friday, November 11th.