Join us tonight on Bloody Elbow for a live stream, results, discussion and play-by-play for Bellator 99: Pitbull vs. Nunes. The featured card will roll out the entire opening brackets for this season's Featherweight Tournament with some exciting new entries.
Former UFC featherweight contender and Bellator debutante Diego Nunes meets the scrappy Patricio Freire in the headliner while former Strikeforce lightweight Justin Wilcox will make his promotional and featherweight debut against Akop Stepanyan. More recognizable UFC'ers get main-card space as Vladimir Matyushenko meets Houston Alexander in a light heavyweight feature fight, while undefeated Blagoi Ivanov -- best recognized as the man who defeated Fedor Emelianenko in Combat Sambo -- returns to the promotion after a nearly two-year hiatus. The main card play by play and full event lineup follows.
R1: Pitbull draws first blood, metaphorically, with a low kick. Nunes loses his balance after a wild roundhouse kick to the body and Pitbull almost pounces but holds back. Nunes starts the motion of a front switch kick but forgets the kick part and virtually jogs straight into a thunderous left hook from Pitbull. And that's that.
- Patricio "Pitbull" Freire defeats Diego Nunes by KO (left hook), Round 1
R1: Stomp kick to the knee from
Green lowers his head and unreels punches that
R3: A busy salvo of kicks from
He shoots instead and
R1: The vets start a bit tentative, both gunshy for the first minute. They unload huge right hands to break the silence that mutually connect with a simultaneous wallop. In an unexpected twist, Alexander takes the experienced wrestler down but
Alexander charges with some lunging haymakers.
R2: Alexander counters
Matyushenko stays busy, relatively, with his jab while Houston seeks out powerful counter-shots.
R3: Alexander comes out with a jab-cross and hook-cross, none of which land. Matyushenko finds the mark with a spearing jab, then with his follow up right in the next sequence. Double-leg takedown for Matyushenko, though Alexander is right back up. Alexander almost hits a counter-takedown but
- Vladimir Matyushenko defeats Houston Alexander by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x 2)
R1: They exchange hands and Wilcox misses with a semi-chambered high kick.
He tries another and
R2: Stepanyan destroys Wilcox's leg with a crushing low kick and the impact is monumental: Wilcox staggers and gingerly puts weight on the mangled leg, barely able to stand. A hematoma of cringe-worthy proportions appears on Wilcox's leg; we're talking "Kuato shin" here. Stepanyan smells blood and uncorks a spinning back kick that lands with a thud, but it's unintentionally right to the back of Wilcox's head. Wilcox paws at the back of his head and then almost collapses into a single leg that he's able to complete by sheer willpower.
Wilcox, with blood flowing freely from the back of his head, valiantly starts to intensify his pressure from the top and snatches back control after Stepanyan explodes into an escape attempt, methodically finagling a rear-naked choke that he eventually -- and amazingly -- secures for the tap.
This was an authentically inspirational comeback by Wilcox, who, for his featherweight and Bellator debut, accepted this fight with a week's notice and somehow whittled off 22-pounds to make the cut.
- Justin Wilcox defeats Akop Stepanyan by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 2
R2: Fisher tries to stay on the fringe and use his reach, but he's curiously standing in Taimanglo's wheelhouse and either blocking or eating heavy leather. Taimanglo repeats his strategy of going from underhooks to knees with strong head control to counter Fisher's clinch attacks. Fisher being a bit more cautious and taking less punishment but his output suffers. Taimanglo has a spinning back fast blocked but starts sighting in a beefy uppercut and right cross.
Fisher slices in a few crisp jabs that land clean but the pace and power are all Taimanglo. 10-9 Taimanglo.
R3: One-two by both fighters but Taimanglo adds on another "two" that breaks through Fisher's guard. Taimanglo, the significantly shorter man, is now establishing his range with a jab and back-pedaling hook, then changing direction with forward pressure and sharp combos. Fisher finally tags Taimanglo with a clean shot that draws a smile from both competitors. Taimanglo turns up the heat with a wild flurry and takedown attempt that Fisher's able to side step.
Fisher's jab finds the mark and his volume starts to increase, though less than two minutes remain. Fisher circles back and picks the right time to sit down on some flurries, and seems to be finding his rhythm in the waning moments. 10-9 Fisher for a 29-28 Taimanglo by my tally.
Bellator 99 Main Card (Spike TV at 9:00 p.m. ET)tpu
Houston Alexander vs. Vladimir Matyushenko (LHW Feature)
Preliminary Card (streaming on Bloody Elbow at 7:00 p.m. ET)
Savio Kosic vs. Hector Ramirez
Derek Loffer vs. Mario Navarro
Andy Murad vs. Gavin Starritt
Musa Toliver vs. Goiti Yamauchi
Manny Lara vs. Blagoi Ivanov
Nick Moghaddan vs. Virgil Zwicker