As a recent fan of MMA, I have yet to see many of the all-time greats compete. Even though they are way past their prime I am fortunate to have watched Tito Ortiz, Chael Sonnen, BJ Penn, Dan Henderson, and Anderson Silva fight before they retired. I was excited to add Fedor to that list, but his fight with Mitrione was called off just hours before Bellator 172 started.

This was a giant bummer. Mitrione had issues with passing kidney stones which is something I can’t believe went unnoticed until the day of the fight. It was reported that Sonnen (who was a part of the broadcast team), Ortiz, and King Mo (both of whom were in the crowd) offered to step in and fight Fedor. Scott Coker called of the fight and stated Fedor will probably get a chance to fight again in April or May.

Without the Fedor fight, this card was a typical Bellator card filled with mediocre fights and subpar corny production. Some entertaining fights still occurred during this card, most of which I recap below.

 Preliminary Card (spike.com)

Middleweight – Martin Sano vs. Diego Herzog – Draw majority – (27-28, 28-28, 28-28)

Technical difficulties preventing me from watching all but the final minutes of this fight. The irrational anger caused by the disturbance in my OCD of watching every fight on a card dissipated when I heard the majority draw decision announced. This fight apparently was a big dud.

Featherweight – Gaston Bolanos def. Abner Perez – TKO punches – (RD 1 – 4:53)

Bolanos quickly disposed of Perez in their prelim featherweight bout. The first round began with both fighters trading kicks and Perez defending against the takedown attempts from Bolanos. Perez frustrated Bolanos with his bouncy evasive style but was eventually brought to the mat. Back on their feet, Bolanos connected with a few jabs and then dropped Perez with a perfectly timed right jab that hit the sweet spot on the jaw of Perez. Bolanos thought the fight was over and held off on going in for the kill on the rocked Perez. Realizing the fight wasn’t stopped, Bolanos jumped on top of Perez and dropped hammer fists until the TKO was called.

Welterweight – James Terry def. J.C. Llamas – Decision unanimous – (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

The match between Terry and Llamas had a strange ending being cut short to a doctors stoppage and a decision. Terry was winning the fight going into the third round being more aggressive and controlling the center of the octagon. Llamas was bleeding badly via a cut on his face that was opened up by a left counter landed by Terry.

In the third round Terry inadvertently poked Llamas in the eye with his thumb. The replay was hard to watch as Terry went a knuckle deep into the eye socket of Llamas, and Llamas was clearly in severe pain. The doctor was brought out to look at Llamas and held up three fingers and asked Llamas how many fingers he saw. The answer Llamas gave wasn’t satisfactory as the doctor immediately stopped the fight. Despite the stoppage, the fight still went to the judges. In Bellator if a fight goes two round and is stopped via a doctors stoppage, the judges still decide the fight.

Catchweight (166 LB) – J.J. Okanovich def. Zach Andrews – Submission rear-naked choke – (RD 2 – 2:26)

Zach Andrews wasn’t able to replicate James Terry and overcome the burden of having two first names and win. In the first round Andrews scored a takedown on Okanovich and attempted a guillotine after the fighters got back to their feet. Okanovich escaped the choke and clipped Andrews. Trying to buy recovery time, Andrews level changed and brought the fight back to the mat. On the ground Okanovich landed some  brutal elbows. The fighters got back to their feet, went back to the ground, and Okanovich attempted a guillotine choke of his own. Andrews escaped and attempted a guillotine choke of his own. Okanovich freed his head and took the back of Andrews before the first round ended.

The fight went to the ground early in the second round and both dudes maneuvered around looking for a submission opportunity. Okanovich found an opening and took the back of Andrews and got the rear-naked choke.

Lightweight – Nikko Jackson def. Cesar Gonzalez – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

The headlining prelim fight ended in a boring unanimous decision. The fight started with a couple clinches and punches from Jackson. The fight went to the ground but nothing of significance happened there. While back on his feet, Jackson landed a heavy knee and some punches to end the first round.

A huge cut opened up on the forehead of Gonzalez in the second round. Jackson landed two rights and Gonzalez landed a right after grabbing the leg of Jackson. Gonzalez scored a takedown and the ref stood them up after a long time of inactivity. The third round saw Gonzalez landing leg kicks which Jackson countered with a solid combo. After eating a heavy right Gonzalez smiled letting Jackson know he wasn’t affected. Both fighters traded heavy blows in a round ending slug fest.

Main Card (Spike)

Welterweight – Mauricio Alonso def. Josh Koscheck – TKO punches – (RD 1 – 4:42)

MMA veteran Koscheck extended his losing streak to 6 fights after getting finished by Alonso. I was barely old enough to legally buy booze the last time Koscheck won a fight. Rough.

Big John stopped both fighters early in the fight to warn them about extending their fingers illegally. Alonso clipped Koscheck with a right hook and Koscheck retreated trying to buy time to recover. Alonso stalked him down and landed more blows which irritated Koschecks eye. Alonso then dropped him with an upper cut and Koscheck physically surrendered grabbing his face in pain.

Women’s Flyweight – Veta Arteaga def. Brooke Mayo – TKO doctor stoppage – (RD 3 – 4:04)

Arteaga has hammers for hands. She used those hammers to brutalize a young Mayo in her first professional fight. Both fighters were successful in their attacks in the first round. Mayo scored a takedown and Arteaga landed some heavy strikes. Big John stopped the fight to let the doctors know about a cut on Arteaga’s head that came as a result of a head butt in the clinch.

Mayo scored a takedown in the second round and took the back of Arteaga. She wasn’t able to contain and submit Arteaga who got on top in the power position. Mayo attempted a triangle from her back before the fight went back to standing.

Arteaga continued to landed strikes consistently on Mayo in the third round. After getting clipped, Mayo scored a takedown and looked for a rear-naked choke. Arteaga escaped and got to her feet while Mayo remained on the ground on her back. Arteaga didn’t allow Mayo to get to her feet by dropping sledge hammers from the sky on the eye of Mayo. Bone crushing fists rocked Mayo until she was finally able to get to her feet. Big John stopped the fight because the swelling above Mayo’s eye was frightening. By the second the purple knot was growing in the size and the doctor called a stop to the fight.

Mayo was upset and could be heard screaming “no please!” and “I can see!”

The call to stop the fight was a good one as Mayo’s eye needed immediate attention.

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Catchweight (187 LB) – Anatoly Tokov def. Francisco France – TKO punches – (RD 2 – 2:24)

My stream for this fight struggled hard for this fight. It would consistently freeze up and jump forward 20 seconds in the fighter. From what I actually saw, Tokov scored a takedown in the first round and France attempted an armbar submission twice. In the second round Tokov dropped France with a heavy blow and finished him off with some ground and pound.

Heavyweight – Cheick Kongo def. Oli Thompson – Decision unanimous – (30-26, 30-25, 30-25)

This is only my second Kongo fight that I have watched but I have already noticed a pattern. The strong and powerful Kongo uses his technical ground fighting skills to control fights in a boring manner to earn a decision victory.

Kongo is a huge man and entered his bout with Thompson with a 6 inch reach, 4 inch height, and 11 pound weight advantage. Both fighters connected with strikes in the first round. Time was stopped for a nut shot on Thompson (knee in the clinch). Kongo ate a shot, level changed, scored a takedown, and controlled the ground fighting. The fighters got back to their feet where Kongo landed several knees to end the round.

The fighters clinched up early in the second round where Thompson landed a knee and threw some foot stomps. After a long time in the clinch, Kongo scored a takedown where lots of maneuvering from both fighters took place. Kongo stayed in control and landed some ground and pound before the second round ended.

More of the same happened in the third round. The fighters clinched up, Kongo landed knees, scored a takedown and controlled the ground fighting. Kongo landed some heavy ground and pound and was a few shots away from a TKO. Kongo wasn’t flashy, but he dominated this fight earning a lot of 10-8 rounds from all three judges.

Lightweight – Patricky Freire def. Josh Thomson – KO punch – (RD 2 – 0:40)

Pitbull was never in danger of losing to Thomson in the headlining fight.  The fight started with both fighters trading leg kicks. Pitbull dropped Thomson but was unable to finish him on the ground. In the second round Pitbull landed a body shot and clashed heads with Thomson which forced him to the ground. Thomson struggled back to this feet where he ate an upper cut that ended the fight. Pit bull landed two hammer fists for good measure sealing his KO victory.

Bellator 173 is this Friday, February 24th 2017.

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