Join us tonight at 9 PM EST for the live results and play by play for Bellator 45 from L'Auberge Du Lac Casino and Resort in Lake Charles, LA., airing on MTV2.
Bellator's first light-heavyweight champion will be crowned this evening, as evenly matched competitors Richard Hale and Christian M'Pumbu will do battle for the 205-pound strap. Both mixed martial artists share identical records (16-3-1) with eight wins by submission, six by stoppage due to strikes, and three by decision. Among Hale and M'Pumbu's three career losses, two were delivered by decision with each fighter being stopped only once: Hale was knocked out by burly veteran Jimmy Ambriz in his second professional fight, while M'Pumbu was submitted by Jan Blachowicz, who appeared at #5 on the BloodyElbow World MMA Scouting Report.
The featherweight tournament crescendos on tonight's card with the Daniel Straus vs. Patricio Freire fight, with the winner earning the opportunity to face divisional champ and top-ranked juggernaut Joe Warren. Daniel Straus (16-3) was an All American wrestler in high school who won the national championship in 2003 and is currently riding a twelve-fight streak. Patricio "Pitbull" Freire (16-1) will have revenge on his mind, as the man who awaits him if he beats Straus is responsible for the sole defeat on his record.
Karl Amoussou, a violent and aggressive striker, engages Sam Alvey in a middleweight qualifier match. Amoussou (12-3-2) has been around the block in different promotions and will look to make a strong first impression on the Bellator crowd, while this will be Alvey's (14-2) first showing on a bigger stage.
The preliminary card includes: Joseph Abercrombie vs. Ben Parpart, Rene Nazare vs. Kelvin Hackney, Tim Ruberg vs. Mike Fleniken, Nicolae Cury vs. Luis "Sapo" Santos, and John Hill vs. Shawn Jordan. Unfortunately, the Thiago Santos vs. Derrick Lewis bout was scratched due to injury.
Get more details on the undercard fighters and match-ups in the full entry, as well as the live play by play.
Lightweight Rene Nazare (8-0, 3 TKOs, 3 subs) is the BJJ instructor at Team Bombsquad who won the Gold at the BJJ World Cup as a purple belt (2003) and black belt (2007), and won the Silver as a brown belt (2005). He defeated Pride standout Luiz Azeredo in his Bellator debut by TKO when it was determined Azeredo broke his wrist after the first round.
His opponent, Kelvin Hackney (9-1, 6 TKOs, 2 subs) has stopped all of his opponents but one, has only lost to Junior Assuncao, and will be making his Bellator debut.
Mike Fleniken (3-3, 3 subs) is a middleweight who started off his career mata leao style: he won his first two fights, then lost his next two, then won the following ... all by rear-naked choke. The only outcome on his record that didn't end that way was his last; a decision loss to Jeremiah Riggs in Fleniken's Bellator debut. His nickname is "The Crazii Cajun".
He'll face undefeated Tim Ruberg (5-0, 2 TKOs, 5 subs) who made his MMA debut in 2004 against a fighter named Major Dodge (no Spaceball jokes). Ruberg then disappeared until July of 2010, where he has since rattled off four wins in six months. Guess what? Three of those four wins were by rear-naked choke.
Heavyweight Shawn Jordan (9-2, 6 TKOs, 2 subs) made his pro debut at Bellator 9 two years ago and submitted Jayme Mckinney. Though he lost to Kenny Garner in his fourth fight and to Mark Holata in his last at Bellator 31, Jordan has finished every opponent but one, and he's only gone past the first round three times in his career.
Jordan faces John Hill (3-1, 2 TKOs), who shares a common opponent with Jordan in his loss to Mark Holata. Hill hasn't competed since October of 2009 where he knocked out John Orr in the first round at "King of the Cage: Wreckage".
Luis "Sapo" Santos (48-6, 26 TKOs, 10 subs) is a highly experienced 170-pound competitor with matches stemming back to 2000. Santos appeared at "WEC 34: Faber vs. Pulver" and suffered a loss via TKO to Alex Serdyukov. On his lengthy track record you'll find wins over Vale Tudo legend Jorge "Macaco" Patino and Chute Boxe striker Daniel Acacio, as well as a defeat at the hands of former UFC welterweight Yoshiyuki Yoshida.
He takes on American Top Team's Nicolae Cury (4-1, 3 subs), a Judo player who has only lost to Bellator fighter LeVon Maynard. Both fighters will be making their promotional debuts.
Live Commentary and Results for Bellator 45
Richard Hale vs. Christian M'Pumbu
R1: The winner of this bout will be crowned the first Bellator light-heavyweight champion. Herzog handles the final clash of the night. Jab by Hale. M'Pumbu with the low kick. Double kicks, left and right, from Hale to the upper thigh of M'Pumbu. Two more body kicks from Hale, who then leads with the double jab. Low kick from M'Pumbu connects. Double jab from Hale again, M'Pumbu counters with a roundhouse kick, and Hale flurries to push M'Pumbu on the fence.
M'Pumbu connects with a left-hook and Hale is wobbled, staggering backward while M'Pumbu smells blood and lets his hands go. Hale now falls on his back with M'Pumbu fishing for a D'arce, but Hale clears space and sneaks back to his feet. Hale seems tentative, then hurls a high kick that M'Pumbu blocks. My score: 10-9 M'Pumbu
R2: Hale comes out swinging hard. Double jab by Hale, then setting up the uppercut with his left. Hale leading exchanges though his chin is dangerously exposed. Left body kick is sidestepped by M'Pumbu, and Hale taps his chin with his double jab. More kicks from Hale who is much busier in this round. Now a left hook and jab from M'Pumbu, right straight-left hook combo from Hale, then again. Hale switches to southpaw, throws a right hook and eats a straight punch from M'Pumbu.
Low kick landing to Hale's lead leg and may be causing his change in stance, as he swtiches back to southpaw again. M'Pumbu more accurate, but Hale stalking and much busier. Side-kick by Hale. M'Pumbu too complacent and only retreating with few counters. Finally a straight right by M'Pumbu. Ugly left hook by Hale closes the round. My score: 10-9 Hale
R3: Left over the top lands for Hale early. M'Pumbu spins off a nice combo to slow the charging Hale's pace. Hale now holding southpaw, pawing with his jab, then a right low kick, followed by a left low kick. M'Pumbu counters but is getting out-punched. Straight to the body by M'Pumbu, then a straight left to the head gets through. Hale flicks out a jab from southpaw, then follows his right hook with a nice straight left. Triple jab now by Hale, then follows with a straight left.
It doesn't matter how often Hale is actually landing, because M'Pumbu is barely even throwing; just defending. Uppercut penetrates M'Pumbu's guard, who retreats and connects with a body kick. Now M'Pumbu advances with a left with a sense of urgency, counters Hale with a right, then clocks Hale with a huge right that drops him flat. M'Pumbu hesitates, then commences a storm of hammerfists and hooks from the top that inspire the referee to intervene for the third round TKO.
Christian M'Pumbu defeats Richard Hale by TKO, Round 3, and becomes the first Bellator light-heavyweight champion.
Daniel Straus vs. Patricio Freire
R1: The featherweight tournament finale begins with Jason Herzog at the helm again. Pitbull takes the center and wings an overhand right. They clinch and Straus hits a hip throw, but Pitbull springs back to his feet and digs in with Straus against the fence. Pitbull looks for a trip that Straus defends. The fighters play the circle-out game with over-under, Straus knees and again goes for the hip throw. Pitbull counters and they break back to the standing position.
Straight left by Straus, then a high kick, both blocked by Pitbull. Straus shoots directly into a Pitbull guillotine, but he's patient in defending, then nails a takedown. Pitbull bounces immediately back to his feet again, and we're back to clinching against the fence. Straight left to the body from Straus, inside low kick by Pitbull, who then pursues with a lunging left hook. Straus shoots, but Pitbull with the picture-perfect sprawl. Straus grabs wrist control, transitions to the body lock, and Pitbull shakes him off. Pitbull unleashes a hard flying knee that partially connects to close the round. My score: 10-10 for equal aggression and effective offense
R2: One-two by Straus, Pitbull ducks under to threaten with a takedown. They retake the center, and Pitbull springs for a huge double-leg to plant the All American high school wrestler on his back. Straus shrimps out, gets to a knee, and Pitbull hammers a knee that could have been to the head when Straus was downed. The replay shows that it was clearly to the midsection and perfectly legal.
We restart with Pitbull striking aggressively, then alternating in a takedown attempt that Straus defends. Pitbull attacks again with firm strikes to set up his takedown attempt, which Straus defends, which is all the southpaw can do as the momentum shifts to Pitbull. Double jab from Straus; Pitbull switching from counter-strikes and level changes to keep Straus at bay. Now we have a cup-kick from Straus, who apologizes, and they re-engage. Left high-kick by Straus is blocked. Now Straus commits to punches, but Pitbull again changes levels and hits a takedown, but Straus is quickly back to his fee and counters with his signature hip throw. Another close one, but ... My Score: 10-9 Pitbull
R3: Straus opens the third with a purpose, leading with strikes and shooting a double. Pitbull repels him, and Straus fires on the feet again. Straight left by Straus, Pitbull ducks under to halt him. Pitbull measures with the jab and uncorks a three-piece, closing with the uppercut. Straight right by Pitbull lands clean again, and Straus dives for a takedown. Pitbull sprawls soundly, and controls the head as Straus turtles. Straus with wrist control to stand, but eats a hard knee for his effort.
Inside low kick lands for Pitbull, who still presses the action. A Straus left hand beckons Pitbull to taunt him, sticking out his chin. Straus responds with punches that Pitbull handles with another level drop, ushering Straus to the cage. Another one-two by Straus. Pitbull raises his arms in celebration with twenty seconds left, then follows with a hard flying knee. Straus blocks it but is back on his heels, then slams Pitbull from the rear waistlock. Pitbull scampers loose and ends the round peppering Straus with punches from the top. My score: 10-9 Pitbull
The judges see it 29-28 and 30-27 for Patricio "Pitbull" Freire, who wins the Bellator Season 4 featherweight tournament.
R1: We open up from Louisiana with a middleweight qualifier. French striker Amoussou gets in Alvey's "Smile 'N" face as soon as he enters the cage. Referee Jason Herzog is running this one. They touch and Amoussou unloads an immediate high kick that Alvey blocks, then two more, the last a low kick that lands. Alvey being patient in southpaw. Amoussou cracks a low kick that takes Alvey's legs out from under him, and follows him to the canvas where Alvey immediately reverses into Amoussou's guard. Amoussou locks up an airtight guard and Herzog stands the fight halfway through the round.
Amoussou is swinging a volley of kicks again, then catches double underhooks in the clinch for a powerful throw, transitioning directly into the mount. Amoussou pelts with vicious elbows that open a cut on Alvey's head. Alvey taking severe punishment and baits an arm, which Amoussou obliges, but Alvey rolls into the Frenchman's guard. The bell sounds with Amoussou sending an Alvey a huge grin. My score: 10-8 Amoussou
R2: A blood-soaked Alvey paws with a lazy jab before committing to a one-two. Alvey catches Amoussou coming in with a wild left. Amoussou charges with a flying knee that Alvey defends, and they're clinched with Amoussou tying up with his back against the fence. No action, and Herzog intervenes. We have a quick pause for a cup check, and we're back to action with Amoussou landing a low kick. They exchange punches. Amoussou scores a strong combination that backs Alvey up, but another stalemate occurs against the fence.
Amoussou hits a trip, but Alvey once again executes a slick sweep the moment he's on his back, and buries his head in Amoussou's chest from the top position. Distracting ground-and-pound from Alvey, now some minor return fire from Amoussou on the bottom as the horn sounds. My score: 10-10
R3: Alvey leads with a left hook, then a jab. Body kick by Amoussou. Alvey countering with nice straight knees to a charging Amoussou, who presses Alvey against the cage and scores with knees to the inner thigh. They trade uneventful knees. Herzog separates the pair again and warns Amoussou for a questionably placed knee. Crowd is protective of Alvey's nether regions and starts the "USA!" chant.
We restart and Amoussou cracks a kick, Alvey unfurls a right straight-left hook to counter to the next kick. Both fighters blitz good flurries before locking up in the clinch again. For the third straight time, Amoussou maneuvers for a trip but Alvey turns the tables and falls into Amoussou's guard. To end the round, Alvey postures up and volleys some solid strikes. My score: 10-9 Alvey
The judges see it 29-28 Alvey, 29-28 Amoussou, and 29-28 for Sam Alvey, who defeats Karl Amoussou by split-decision.