Bellator FC sets up shop in Boston tonight -- the first major MMA promotion to hold an event in the newly-sanctioned state of Massachusetts -- and BloodyElbow.com is on hand at the historic Wang Theatre to bring you live play-by-play. The first undercard fight of the night is scheduled for 7pm EST / 4pm PST.
Headlining the evening's lightweight-heavy card will be a non-title tilt between current 155-pound champion Eddie Alvarez (19-2) and UFC veteran Josh "The Dentist" Neer (27-9-1). This season's lightweight tournament final will also be decided by the end of the night, as high-profile acquisition Roger Huerta (21-3-1, 1 NC) meets Pat Curran (10-3) and last year's runner-up Toby Imada (24-13) faces Carey Vanier (8-2) in semi-final action. For the show's sole heavyweight bout, decorated collegiate wrestler and current Brock Lesnar training partner Cole Konrad (2-0) squares off against Team Bombsquad's Pat Bennett (1-0).
Check my twitter (@3amMMA) for bonus coverage from the event and the post-fight press conference.
MW: Greg Rebello (11-2) def. John Doyle (9-14, 1 NC) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
MW: Justin Torrey (7-0) def. Lance Everson (12-8) via TKO (knee to the body) R2 3:55
Round 1: No touch of gloves to start this one. Konrad, to the surprise of absolutely no one, takes Bennett down. He works from half guard, pinning Bennett down while sending shots to the body. This is basically the story of the round, and the crowd begins to get restless with 90 seconds left. Bennett turns over, but Konrad can't capitalize on his back. Nor can Konrad finish the fight from mount in the final 30 seconds, though he does manage to bloody up the face of Bennett. 10-9 Konrad.
Round 2: Bennett's face is looking a mess; they've fixed the bleeding, but it's still raw and marked up. Konrad looks to be boxing this round until Bennett sends a left jab down the pipe and they clinch. Both men looking beat with two minutes still to go in the second frame. Konrad actually leans over and puts his hands on his knees. Hard left hook from Konrad connects. Konrad tries the dreaded foot-stomp-left-hand lunging combo, looking momentarily like a XXXXL Gracie. Boos from the crowd as the round ends. 10-10.
Round 3: Spinning back-kick from Bennett doubles Konrad over and Bennett follows with a quick flurry. Leg kicks from Bennett now. Bennett clips the exhausted Konrad with a few hard shots against the fence, and Konrad circles out. More solid punches from Bennett, then a knee to the face from the clinch. More boos from the crowd, but I don't know why - this has been the most action-packed round of the fight so far. 90 seconds left. Konrad not even pretending to keep his hands up now. They're trading single punches back and forth to the final bell. 10-9 Bennett.
BloodyElbow.com scores the bout a draw.
Cole Konrad (3-0) def. Pat Bennett (1-1) via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 30-27)
Round 1: After some early clinchwork, Alvarez fells Neer with a powerful single-leg. Alvarez landing some hard shots from Neer's guard, barely dodging upkicks. Alvarez' brothers cageside implore their kin to "MURDER HIM, ED!" Alvarez postures up and begins raining hard right hands down on Neer from closed guard. Alvarez takes mount with 90 seconds left. Neer rolls and gives up his back, but Alvarez is too high and Neer sweeps. Back on the feet, Alvarez considers boxing for a moment, then dumps Neer with a vicious double-leg. Alvarez back to mount as the round ends. 10-9 Alvarez.
Round 2: Low kicks from Neer, then a hard right hook from "The Dentist" clips Alvarez. Alvarez' brothers scream that Neer is cut, and indeed he is. Alvarez stands over Neer, dodging upkicks. He dives in and takes Neer's back, sinks in a rear-naked choke. Neer stands and tries to escape, but it's deep. Neer won't tap, so he goes to sleep and falls over like a tree. He wakes up a moment later and his corner seems to be explaining to him what happened.
Eddie Alvarez (20-2) def. Josh Neer (27-10-1) via technical submission (rear-naked choke) R2 2:08
Round 1: Extremely tentative feeling out process to begin the bout, made even more tense by the dead silence here in the Wang. Nice teep kicks to the midsection from Curran. Huerta counters with a head kick. Huerta pressing Curran against the fence with underhooks. Curran breaks free with 20 seconds left and lands another solid kick to the body. Close round, but Curran landed the better offense with his thunderous kicks. 10-9 Curran.
Round 2: Huerta chopping wood with right leg kicks, but landing nothing when he double-pumps his left jab. Another roaring kick from Curran. This man kicks hard for a bulked-up featherweight. Curran shoots and eats some hard punches as he holds on to Huerta's leg. Curran stuffs a takedown attempt from Huerta and they ride out the round against the fence. 10-9 Huerta.
Round 3: Huerta still relying on the leg kicks early in the final round, his most effective weapon in this fight so far. Now "El Matador" pushes Curran to the fence and sends knees to the thigh, which Curran answers with some knees to the midsection. Curran escapes and eats a stiff, cracking leg kick for his trouble. Huerta shoots from way out, Curran stuffs and walks away. Nice body kick from Curran, just misses with a vicious right hook. Huerta takes Curran's back standing and trips him to the mat, but Curran reverses into north-south position. Huerta gets to his feet and they disengage. Curran trips Huerta down against the base of the cage with 50 seconds left. Huerta pops back up. Both men looking beat, but still trading bombs to the final bell. 10-9 Curran.
BloodyElbow.com scores the bout 29-28 Curran.
Pat Curran (11-3) def. Roger Huerta (21-4-1, 1 NC) via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Round 1: Hard but tentative exchanges early on, until Vanier wrestles Imada down and takes side control. Imada pops back up and eats a stiff right from Vanier, then a head kick. Another takedown from Vanier and Imada's shrimping, looking for a sub. Nothing doing. Imada grabs for a heel hook and Vanier escapes to the feet, but he's soon back on top of Imada on the mat, full mount. Imada scrambles back to the feet. Vanier connects with knees from the clinch, then lands an awkward German suplex. Imada clicks Vanier with a hard shot just as the round expires. Vanier 10-9.
Round 2: Vanier ducks a one-two from Imada, but Imada stuffs the ensuing takedown. Vanier capitalizing on his left jab, also working in leg kicks. Imada throwing bombs, connects with a right hook to the body, then a left to the grill. Imada goes from a leglock to a rear-naked choke to an armbar and gets the tap from Vanier. Yowza.
Toby Imada (25-13) def. Carey Vanier (8-3) via submission (armbar) R2 3:33
Round 1: This is a rematch of a fight from September of last year, which LaBerge won via quick TKO. And before I can even start typing out the action, it's over. LaBerge blows up Bonnell's spot with a massive right hand. He follows with a barrage to the downed Renzo Gracie NH product, and it's a wrap.
Josh LaBerge (6-4) def. Dan Bonnell (9-7) via TKO (punches) R1 0:48
Round 1: The fighters clinch early and Vitale presses the action against the fence, trading knees in the clinch. Vitale drags O'Neil down and works from open guard. This place is dead quiet, and most of the fans here early are in the balcony. O'Neil grabs an armbar, but Vitale slams his way loose. Vitale stacks O'Neil up and dives into half-guard, looking for an arm-triangle. He gets mount, but O'Neil sweeps and the crowd roars (or meows) its approval for the Bridgewater boy with Joe Lauzon in his corner. The fighters stand and again trade knees in the clinch, and Vitale catches one low. After a few minutes, the action restarts and Vitale scores another takedown. He spends the last 30 seconds of the round in half-guard and takes the round on my scorecard. 10-9 Vitale.
Round 2: Vitale with another early takedown, posturing up and pounding from the open guard of O'Neil. He briefly takes a reverse mount, but O'Neil does well to scramble free. With 90 seconds left, after being blanketed for the majority of the round, O'Neil breaks loose and the fighters clinch against the cage. This is quickly followed by another Vitale takedown. O'Neil goes for broke with a Superman punch, then lands a few solid uppercuts from the clinch, but the round again goes 10-9 Vitale.
Round 3: In spite of (or maybe due to) winning the first two rounds, Vitale appears to be the more tired of the two. In O'Neil's corner, Joe Lauzon tells him "no home runs!" Despite that, O'Neil lobs some bombs at Vitale which stun him, then some elbows which cut him wide open. The ref stops the action to check on the cut, and Lauzon says "no MORE home runs!" It's unnecessary advice, as the doctor waves it off seconds later.
Chuck O'Neil (7-3) def. Damian Vitale (4-3) via TKO (doctor stoppage) R3 1:02