It was a great evening of MMA tonight from the WinStar World Casino, in Thackerville, Oklahoma. Across the board, Bellator’s main card provided non-stop entertainment in every match.
Clearly the night’s big star was Joe Warren. Joe looked absolutely amazing, this evening. He simply outclassed Travis Marx everywhere and ended his bout in the second, with an Aldo-esque kneed to his opponents head. It was beautiful. If you didn’t see it, make sure you do.
The other look-good fighter tonight, was Cheick Kongo. Although Kongo appeared a little intimidated in the opening minutes of round one, he soon settled down and began to school his opponent, Peter Graham. By the end of it, Graham was a bloody mess and he was lucky that it wasn’t a five round fight, for surely he wouldn’t have survived it. As Cheick racks up his second straight Bellator win, he continues to look good.
Finally, the other star of the evening has to be Brennan Ward. Ward looked well on his way to losing by KO, as his wrestling and takedown attempts were proving fruitless against Mikkel Parlo. Parlo easily won the first round and was doing the same in the second, until Ward rocked Parlo with a huge left. At that point, Ward began to beat on Parlo and Mikkel had no answer for it.
Of this fight, two things should be noted. First, Mikkel Parlo is one tough guy. Any fan that saw the fight must have come to that conclusion. How he took, what he took, and without being dropped or KO’d is hard thing to fathom. At one point, in the middle of the ring, the beating actually looked like something from a video game. Ward easily hit Parlo with seven heavy shots to the mid-section and Mikkel just took it.
Furth still, when the ref pulled Ward off of Parlo and he was right to do so, because Parlo was not defending himself and it was looking really ugly, Parlo looked at the ref as if to say “why did you stop it?”. Yes, he seemed to be in serious trouble, yet when Ward was waived off, Parlo appeared to be fine, un-dazed and with no visible damage. Again, Mikkel Parlo is one tough fighter and one with very good stand-up and great takedown defense. He is most certainly a fighter worth keeping our eyes on.
Here are the night’s results and recap:
Fight 1 #: Derek Campos vs. Martin Stapleton; catch-weight fight (157 pounds)
It wasn’t a great fight, but it wasn’t bad either. For the most part Campos got the better in the fight, which for the most part, was a stand-up affair. The story of the first round was Campos’s left. On a number of occasions he caught Stapleton and there for a while, it looked as if it were only a matter of time before he’d stop his opponent, but a KO failed to materialize. With a couple of takedowns, Campos easily won the first round. Derek continued on in the second with a repeat of the second, only now he was also throwing a heavy right. With one of its issue, he caught Stapleton and dropped him to the canvas. However, like the other times taken down, Stapleton fended off any serious damage. The third came and it was Campos came out with an early takedown. It was repeated a few times up against the cage and with the same result, no damage done and his opponent getting back up. However, in the final minute of the round Campos got Stapleton down one more time and began to demonstrate some serious control, moving from back, to full mount and back again and beginning to deliver damage. However, before he could really capitalize on his position, the bell rang; winner by unanimous decision, Derek Campos.
Fight #2: Brennan Ward vs. Mikkel Parlo
Wow! This was a very entertaining fight. Ward came out and tried to impose his superior size and wrestling, but at every turn Parlo stuffed it. No matter where he turned Ward could find no offense and began to pay for his takedown attempts, as the round moved on. Parlo would fight Ward off and push him up against the cage, while controlling the clinch and in the breaks, he was getting the better of the stand-up. As the round closed, Parlo hit Ward’s lead leg with a nasty kick that nearly buckled Ward; 10 / 9 Parlo. The second round broke and Parlo opened with the same right kick that he had closed the first with. Parlo quickly followed up with a beautiful, out of nowhere, spinning high kick that barely missed Ward’s head; he was lucky. Suddenly Ward rocked Parlo with a huge left and the fighter was hurt. Ward went after his opponent, and in clinching at the center of the ring, Ward must have hit Parlo with 7 or 8 heavy, unanswered shots to the mid-section. With Parlo up against the fence and taking heavy shots to the head, the referee stepped in a waived of the fight; winner of the Bellator middleweight tournament title and by way of TKO (unanswered strikes) at the 1:39 mark of the second round, Brennan Ward.
Fight #3: Joe Warren vs. Travis Marx
Wow, again. If you’re a Joe Warren fan then surely you loved this bout. Warren came out and just proved the better everything. Marx was unable to touch Warren on the feet, as he proved too fast and mobile. Regardless of doing well on the feet, it appeared Joe wanted to take the fight to the ground and did, three times. The second of which, was a highlight. As Warren picked Marx up and dumped him on the ground; it was beautiful. However, even with the TDDs’ and complete control of Marx on the ground, Warren did little damage in the way of ground and attempted no submissions. As the round ended Warren had clearly won the round. The second started out pretty much the same as the first, with Warren showing some really good stand-up and exhibiting great defensive skills. However and again, Joe went for the takedown and secured it. As Marx struggled to work his way back to the feet, Warren clinched him behind the head and drove his knee directly into Marx’s face, dropping his opponent to the canvas. Warren hopped on top of Marx and hit him with three more shots, but they were unnecessary; Marx was out via the knee; winner by TKO at the 1:56 mark of the second round and the new Bellator bantamweight tournament champion, Joe Warren.
Fight #4: Cheick Kongo vs. Peter Graham
This was a very good fight, indeed. Graham came out confidently and established himself the general, backing Kongo up and showing a lot of head and shoulder movement. In viewing it, he seemed to be making Kongo uncomfortable on the feet. However, after a brief stoppage due to a Graham kick to Kong’s inner thigh, Cheick came back into the fight aggressively and began to earn Graham’s respect, with a stiff left jab. Graham appeared to not like it and worked for the clinch against the fence; 10 / 9 Kongo. As the second round broke Graham looked to be visibly tired and Kongo began to take over the fight. With punches and kicks he began to dominate Graham and it looked like a KO couldn’t be far off. However, the tough Australian suddenly hit Kongo with a big right and it looked as if the tide was about to change, but it was not to be. Kongo survived the punch. As the fight worked back to the center of the cage, Cheick began hitting Graham with nasty knees, while clinched. With a final takedown, Kong easily won the second round. By the third both fighters were tired, but Graham much more so. The story of this round was Kongo’s ground and pound. Twice in the round, once being at its close, Kongo sat atop of Graham and beat him up, hitting him with nasty elbows to the face and punches to the body. It was ugly enough that fans might have wondered if the ref should have stepped in and checked the cut. For his part, Graham had no answer for any of it, save taking the beating; winner by unanimous decision and new Bellator heavyweight tournament champion, Cheick Kongo.
Patricky Friere defeats Edson Berto via unanimous decision
Jonas Billstein defeats Cortez Coleman via unanimous decision
Linton Vassell defeats Matt Jone via unanimous decision
Mike Mucitelli defeats Ryan McCurdy via unanimous decision
Raphael Butler defeats Josh Burns via first-round verbal submission