Bellator 170 was the first card of the year for the organization that is famous for signing washed up old stars from the mid-2000’s and aired on the cable network famous for playing hours of episodes of Cops at a time and the show that represents everything that is wrong with modern TV, Lip Sync Battle. Sean Grande, Jimmy Smith, and the unnamed hot blonde reporter who was added to the broadcast constantly reminded the viewers of the new MMA rules changes and of the college wrestling match between Ortiz and Sonnen 20 years ago. This card still had its moments including exploiting the good PR that comes with supporting the troops and a brutal KO. As a new fan of MMA I am happy I can say I was able to see Ortiz and Sonnen fight before they retired.
Preliminary Card (spike.com)
Lightweight – Jalin Turner def. Gabriel Green – KO punches – (RD 1 – 0:36)
The prelim card started with a 36 second knock out. Turner landed several combos and finished Green with a knee, a right hand, and then connected with a left hook after he fell.
Featherweight – Chinzo Machida def. Jamar Ocampo – TKO punch – (RD 1 – 3:48)
The 39 year old Machida got a late start in MMA but he is fighting like a guy who is 29. In fact he beat a guy almost 10 years younger than him in Jamar Ocampo. Up until his TKO finish in the third round, Machida was losing the fight. Ocampo scored three takedowns in the first round. He ate a couple of shots including a hard up kick form Machida when he was on his back. Machida hurt Ocampo in the second round with a right after successfully defending a takedown attempt. Ocampo eventually brought Machida to the ground again nut not for long. Back on his feet Machida landed an impressive kick after baiting Ocampo with his eyes. Ocampo then brought Machida to the ground again where he controlled most of the rest of the second round. Machida scrambled and attempted a submission but Ocampo kept him in check.
In the third round Ocampo scored another takedown and after Machida got back to his feet, Ocampo absorbed a head kick. The kick hit the guard of Ocampo essentially forcing Ocampo to punch himself in the head. Ocampo was stunned and stumbled around. Machida closed in on him and dropped him with a right hand and landed a kick to the ribs before the ref called the TKO.
Featherweight – Alex Soto def. DeMarcus Brown – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
For some reason there was a huge military presence in the crowd for this card. I gathered that Ortiz is very pro-American but other than that I don’t know if he has a military background. Frankly I don’t care enough to google it, but this match between Soto and Brown was a shameless attempt to exploit military members for good PR. No one ever gets upset at an organization supporting the troops. If I remember correctly Soto is a member of the Army while Brown is a member of the Marines.
Soto won this fight in a unanimous decision being the more aggressive fighter who landed more strikes. Brown dropped Soto early in the fight with a left but let him back to his feet as he knew Soto is the superior ground fighter. Soto scored a takedown in the first round and landed a counter attack to end the round. Soto weakened Brown in the second round with kicks and ate a spinning back kick from Brown in the third round. Both fighters exchanged blows in a slug fest in the final ten seconds of the fight, something I always enjoy.
Middleweight – Keith Berry vs. Kevin Casey – Draw majority – (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)
It’s rare that you see a draw, but as the commentators brought up one thousand times during the broadcast, the new rules open up more opportunities for draws. Casey started this fight strong dominating the first round where he landed several punches and kicks. He dropped Berry with a right hand and jumped on top of him and connected with some ground and pound. Berry landed a body kick that sounded loud but didn’t appear to affect the muscular core of Casey. Berry fell to the ground a second time after eating another right from Casey. After jumping on top of him, Casey landed more attacks.
In the second round Casey scored a takedown and controlled the ground game. In full mount he landed elbows but after a long time of inactivity the ref stood them up. The third round is where Casey stopped fighting. He just stood on his feet and played defense. Berry landed a couple of combos while Casey did nothing offensively which lead to the majority draw decision.
Welterweight – Cuilherme Bomba def. John Mercurio – KO punches – (RD 2 – 0:41)
Bomba was impressive in his bout with Mercurio. In the first round Bomba scored a takedown and landed some jabs to the face of Mercurio after pulling his guard away. Once the fight got back to standing, Bomba ate a leg kick, scored a takedown, got to feet, traded blows, and then scored another takedown to end the round. In the second round Bomba rattled Mercurio with a right hand and as Mercurio went to the ground, Bomba landed several lefts until Beltran pulled him away stopping the fight.
Main Card (Spike)
Catchweight (161) – Derek Campos def. Derek Anderson – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
The battle of the Derek’s. Anderson entered this match up with a 4 inch reach advantage but didn’t use it to his benefit at all fighting close to the chest. The first round was pretty even with both fighters getting strikes to land and at one point saw Anderson put his arms up in the air and scream. Campos did connect hard with a left in the first round but at the time it didn’t appear to take much for Anderson to recover from it. In the second round Campos dropped Anderson with an upper cut and ended the round with a superman punch. Anderson connected with a head kick but Campos remained the more aggressive fighter.
Big John kept warning the fighters throughout the fight about something, I believe it may have been about the extended fingers. The new rules that the broadcast brought up every chance they could, make the holding of the hand outward to judge distance with the fingers extended illegal to avoid eye pokes.
Campos scored a takedown in the third, but Anderson rocked Campos with a right hand that dislodged his mouth piece which flew across the mat. Big John picked up the mouth piece and after Campos escaped the Anderson guillotine attempt, stopped the fighters on the ground to put it back in the mouth of Campos. The fight end with lots of ground maneuvering with both fighters looking for a submission.
I have only been watching Bellator for a short time, but when I think of Bellator fighters, Karakhanyan is one of the first to enter my mind. He didn’t have a great night against Sanchez who landed more strikes, even if some of them were illegal. The first round ended fairly even in score. The second round is where Sanchez prevailed landing combos, scoring a takedown, controlling the ground game, and handed illegal knees to the head of a downed Karakhanyan. The fight was stopped to allow Karakhanyan to recover and to deduct a point from Sanchez. After the time stoppage Sanchez came out swining and was brought to the ground by Karakhanyan. On the ground Sanchez scrambled to take Karakhanyan’s back was unable to find a submission.
Karahanyan controlled the third round dictating the ground fighting. Even with the strong finish and the point deduction in the second round (which lead to some weird 9-9 score cards) Karakhanyan couldn’t pull out the victory.
Middlweight – Hisaki Kato def. Ralek Gracie – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
This Kato/Gracie fight is up there as one of the worst I have ever watched. The first two rounds saw almost no fighting. The two dudes just bounced around and threw very few attacks. In the first round Kato landed a super man punch and charged Gracie to the ground, but he got up shortly after. The second round saw the ref stopping the two fighters to tell them to actually fight. This time stoppage got Kato to attack for a short amount of time but then the fight quickly went back to the bore fest.
In the third round Gracie was much more active. He scored a takedown late in the round and didn’t have enough time to use his BJJ skills to get a submission. What a fucking awful fight.
Welterweight – Paul Daley def. Brennan Ward – KO flying knee – (RD 1 – 2:27)
Daley delivered one of the most brutal knock out you will ever see. He softened Ward with a spinning back elbow and then he crushed Ward with a flying knee that connected directly to his face. Ward was unconcious immediately and suffered a gruesome cut. As Daley celebrated Ward was carried off on a stretcher and transported straight to the hospital. This flying knee and the Yoel Romero flying knee from UFC 205 remind us all how dangerous the sport of MMA can be.
Light heavyweight – Tito Ortiz def. Chael Sonnen – Submission rear-naked choke – (RD 1 – 2:03)
After being forced to watch Tito Ortiz awkwardly sing along to the national anthem (I really hope this doesn’t become a thing), I saw Ortiz quickly finished off Sonnen. The two went to the ground, Sonnen was in position to get a guillotine submission, and Ortiz scrambled to get into top position. Well aware of his TKO ability, Sonnen tried to escape and in doing so gave up his back to Ortiz. Sonnen was able to protect his neck but the pressure Ortiz placed on Sonnen’s chin was enough to submit him. Watching the fight live you could see Sonnen’s face go from white, to pink, to red, then to purple before he finally tapped.
Ortiz immediately put on a pro Trump shirt and thanked his mom for convincing him to divorce his porn star wife in 2013. Classy.
Now I can say that I saw two more legends fight before they retired, but similar to B.J. Penn a week ago, legends don’t age well in MMA.
Bellator 171 is this Friday, January 27th 2017.