Bellator 168 took place in Florence, Italy and each bout featured a local fighter. The MMA gods answered my prayers as I am playing catch up with these cards the night before Bellator 170 and this card saw 5 finishes, 4 of which ended in the first round. There was a kick boxing preliminary card for Bellator 168 that I didn’t watch.
Middleweight – John Salter def. Claudio Annicchiarico – TKO punches – (RD 1 – 1:40)
This was barely a fight. Salter scored a takedown early in the first round and got into full mount. From there he landed ground and pound on the clearly inexperienced ground fighter Annicchiarico. Salter kept throwing punches and elbows while Annicchiarico didn’t do anything to scramble or get out of the position. The ref called the TKO and probably could have done it a little sooner but gave Annicchiarico the home town extra chance.
Light Heavyweight – Kleber Silva def. Phillipe Lins – TKO punches – (RD 2 – 3:42)
Silva had a 5.5 inch reach advantage in this light heavyweight match up. Both fighters spent the first round on their feet trading heavy punches in short bursts. The fighters would collide in the ring several times and land powerful hooks. Silva attempted a takedown but Lins defended it well. Silva landed several kicks in the first round.
Lins came out aggressive in the second round and was winning the fight. Every time Silva got in close the two fighters would trade a flurry of attacks. Silva clipped Lins with a right jab and forced him up against the cage where he landed several right hooks, uppercut, and a left to finally finish off Lins.
Middleweight – Ed Ruth def. Emanuele Palmonbi – TKO punches – (RD 1 – 1:33)
Ruth scored a takedown early and slid into side control and then into full mount. From there he held Palmonbi’s head down and landed brutal rights until the TKO was called. Ruth didn’t even break a sweat and took the fight with just 7 days notice.
Lightweight – Goti Yamauchi def. Valeriu Mircea – Submission triangle choke – (RD 1 – 3:33)
Mircea clipped Yamauchi which dropped him. Mircea jumped on top of him and crushed him with several hammer fists which looked like it was going to lead to a TKO. Yamauchi survived and went for two arm bar submissions which Mircea slammed Yamauchi out of. Mircea gets into full mount and Yamauchi swept out and got into top position. Yamauchi landed elbows on Mircea who maneuvered into top position but fell into Yamauchi;s triangle. Once in the triangle choke Mircea tapped. This was a great recovery from Yamauchi to get destroyed early on but pull out the first round submission.
Light Heavyweight – Alessio Sakara def. Joey Beltran – KO punches – (RD 1 – 1:20)
Another quick finish took place in the headlining fight. In the minute and a half duration the crowd chanted “Aless-io! Aless-io!” cheering on the home town fighter. Time was stopped shortly for an eye poke on Beltran. Sakara clipped Beltran and then attacked his body forcing Beltran to the ground where Sakara unleashed a flurry of punches to get the TKO. The crowd went insane after the finish.