On Saturday night Bellator held their first ever event in the UK at the O2 Arena in London. The Bellator 158 fight card matched some of the UK’s top talent against formidable opponents from around the world. Throughout the night fans got to see submissions, knockouts and even a Poké Ball from Michael “Venom” Page who as he says “caught himself a Cyborg”.
In the main event, welterweights Douglas Lima and Paul “Semtex” Daley went back and forth in a matchup where big shots were thrown, and on Lima’s part, some decisive takedowns were completed. While on the feet both men threw some dangerous strikes to the head and body but Lima was able to find the target more often than Daley. In the end Lima’s ability to land more strikes and dominate on the ground led him to a unanimous decision victory over UK native Daley.
Matt Mitrione, who had fought only two weeks earlier at “Bellator: Dynamite 2”, faced one of the UK’s top heavyweight fighters Oli Thompson. In an exciting first round the two men exchanged some heavy shots. Early on Mitrione seemed to have Thompson in trouble for a moment but then out of nowhere the former strongman bit down on his mouthpiece and returned fire. Mitrione landed a big knee that rocked Thompson but he still managed to stay in there and return some bombs of his own. Shortly after a low blow to Thompson that wasn’t seen by the referee Oli pushed forward with a barrage of punches that stunned Mitrione. In the second round these heavy hitters went toe-to-toe once again. It was a pretty even exchange on the feet up until about three minutes in when Mitrione was able to land some big shots. With Oli now against the cage Mitrione found an opening, rocked Thompson with a right hook and followed up with some strikes as Thompson fell to the canvas the referee called an end to the action.
Light heavyweight fighter Francis Carmont made quick work of his opponent Lukasz Klinger locking in a D’Arce choke which forced his opponent to tap out at 3:54 of the first round. Klinger was a late replacement for Linton Vassell who suffered an injury and was forced to pull out. This victory for Carmont may mean that we still get to see him take on Vassell once he has made a full recovery. The Frenchman definitely looked in good shape and his training partner Georges St.Pierre was visibly impressed with his performance following the fight.
In what was easily the most entertaining fight of the night Michael “Venom” Page silenced his doubters by defeating seasoned MMA veteran Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos. Page overcame adversity in the first round where he was taken to the ground by Cyborg and needed to defend against the Brazilian’s black belt Jiu Jitsu game. MVP was able to avoid any significant damage and submission attempts surviving until the end of the round. The second round began back on the feet where Page had a clear advantage and was able to begin throwing the high kicks, knees and unorthodox strikes that he’s known for. After some time going back and forth on the feet Michael landed a hard liver kick that clearly hurt Evangelista. “Venom” smelt blood as Cyborg tried to recover and ramped up the pressure with his striking. Cyborg moved forward to attack but MVP launched a devastating flying knee attack that landed directly on Santos’ head. Cyborg instantly dropped to the ground and the fight was stopped by the referee. The blow was so clinical that Page didn’t even bother to follow up with a finishing attack. Shortly after the fight ended MVP put on a Pokémon hat and rolled a Poké Ball towards Santos. In his post-fight interview MVP talked about the popular Pokémon Go! game and joked that he had “caught himself a Cyborg”.
In the first fight on the main card James Gallagher maintained his unbeaten record in a frustrating matchup against Mike Cutting. The ‘Strabanimal”, who before this fight had finished all of his professional MMA bouts in the first round, was unable to get his opponent to engage for much of the fight. Cutting, who missed weight, seemed reluctant to trade shots with the Irishman which resulted in quite a lackluster matchup. However, Gallagher did more than enough to secure a clear-cut unanimous decision victory in his Bellator debut. I’ll definitely be keeping an out to see who Bellator choose to be this talented young fighters next opponent.
Elsewhere on the preliminary card, Michael Shipman cinched in an Anaconda Choke forcing his opponent Dom Clark to quit in round one. We also saw two more submissions with Danny Mitchell locking in a Twister to defeat C.J. Meeks in round one of their matchup, and Nathaniel Wood secured a rear-naked choke forcing his opponent Chase Morton to tap out in round three of their bout.
Also on the prelims, Pietro Menga dispatched his opponent Spencer Hewitt in 41 seconds of the first round with an impressive knockout punch. A lot of people are looking forward to seeing more from Menga very soon following this decisive victory. Also on the night, Jason Radcliffe scored a first round submission victory over Jack Mason, Manuel Garcia picked up a unanimous decision win over Alex Reid, James Mulheron earned a unanimous decision win over Neil Grove, and the matchup between Luiz Tosta and Dean Garnett resulted in a majority draw.
Full results for ‘Bellator 158: London’:
- Douglas Lima def. Paul Daley via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) – Rd. 5 – 5:00
- Matt Mitrione def. Oli Thompson via TKO (punches) – Rd. 2 – 4:21
- Francis Carmont def. Lukasz Klinger via Submission (D’Arce choke) – Rd. 1 – 3:54
- Michael Page def. Evangelista Santos via KO (flying knee) – Rd. 2 – 4:31
- James Gallagher def. Mike Cutting via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) – Rd. 3 – 5:00
- Manuel Garcia def. Alex Reid via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26) – Rd. 3 – 5:00
- James Mulheron def. Neil Grove via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-26) – Rd. 3 – 5:00
- Danny Mitchell def. C.J. Meeks via Submission (twister) – Rd. 1 – 4:25
- Nathaniel Wood def. Chase Morton via Submission (rear-naked choke) – Rd. 3 – 3:55
- Jason Radcliffe def. Jack Mason via KO (knee) – Rd. 1 – 0:14
- Dean Garnett vs. Luiz Tosta declared a Majority Draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28) – Rd. 3 – 5:00
- Pietro Menga def. Spencer Hewitt via KO (punch) – Rd. 1 – 0:41
- Mike Shipman def. Dom Clark via Submission (anaconda choke) – Rd. 1 – 1:33
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Jay Cee – (@TheMMAReview)