Tonight marks one of Bellator's biggest shows in the promotion's history and certainly their biggest one under new boss Scott Coker. Bellator 131 takes place at the Valley View Casino in San Diego, CA, where UFC HOFers Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar met in a main event grudge match. In the co-main event, Michael Chandler rematches Will Brooks for the vacant lightweight title. Brooks previously upset Chandler via split decision in their PPV debut in May. Also on the main card is King Mo's return vs. short notice replacement Joe Vedepo, Melvin Manhoef clashes with fellow kickboxer Joe Schilling in what should be a slugfest, while Mike Richman welcomes Nam Phan to Bellator in a 143 lbs catchweight.
The Bellator 131 preliminary card can be seen on the video placed at the top of the page. Play-by-play of the entire main card begins at 9 PM ET exclusively on Spike TV.
Here's the lineup for tonight's show:
Main Card PBP (Spike TV, 9 PM ET)
Round 1: Mike Beltran is in charge of the main event. Bonnar pushes out a jab but Tito comes forward and lands a knee in the clinch. Ortiz gets the single leg takedown. Trying to land some shots against the cage but Bonnar is back to his feet and clinched up. Knee to the body from Tito. Bit of a stalemate between the two men with knees from both as the only effective strikes. They finally separate and Bonnar snaps the jab again. Bonnar stuffs a takedown and time is called for a cut on the scalp of the habitually-bleeding Bonnar. Turns out there was actually a low blow in the process which is what the stoppage was for. Fight continues and Bonnar slips in a straight right. Two big shots from Tito drive Bonnar backward. Tito changes levels and completes a takedown to end the round. Close round but Tito takes it. 10-9 Ortiz.
Round 2: For reference to the previous round, Bonnar's cut was caused by an elbow in the clinch. Bonnar starts the round swinging wildly and then he stuffs Tito's shot. Tito tried to take Bonnar's back but Bonnar is wise to it and they're back to their feet. Both men are swinging away. Bonnar catches Tito with a right. Bonnar overcommits on a punch and Tito tries to take advantage with a takedown. Bonnar is grounded but only briefly. Bonnar is bleeding from his mouth. Tito cracks Bonnar HARD with a left hook. Bonnar jabs Tito but Tito slips in a left of his own. Big right by Tito. Bonnar's strikes are just too slow even relative to Tito. Ortiz gets the takedown and back control. He has both hooks in but loses position. Bonnar is warned for grabbing the fence. Ortiz strongholds him and lands some GNP. The round ends with Bonnar eating more shots. 20-18 Ortiz
Round 3: Bonnar sprawls to start the round but Tito now aims for back control but can't get it. There's an obvious strength advantage for Tito who also was able to toss Bonnar aside on his own takedown attempt. Ortiz is clearly the faster, better boxer here and he continues to land the better shots. Last minute of the fight sees Bonnar throwing a desperation combination but now Tito fires back and Bonnar might be buzzed a bit here. The fight ends and both men raise their arms. Ortiz flips off Bonnar with both hands while his back is turned. So clever. 30-27 Ortiz. Official Result: Tito Ortiz def. Stephan Bonnar via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27). Honestly cannot see how Bonnar won that fight but thankfully he didn't.
Round 1: Referee is Jason Herzog. Brooks opens up with an inside leg kick. Brooks counters a kick with a straight right. Chandler in on a double leg against the cage. Brooks defends well so Chandler responds with knees to the shin. Chandler now trying to take Brooks' back but he has just one hook in. Michael is too high on the back and Brooks is back to his feet. Hard leg kick by Chandler. Brooks doubles up with a leg and body kick. Now Chandler chops at Brooks' lead leg. Misses on the jumping knee. Brooks backs Chandler up with a jab. Commentators note that Chandler is switching stances and it could be because of the leg kicks. Round ends with a body kick by Brooks. 10-9 Brooks.
Round 2: Brooks misses a right hand as Chandler dodges. He steps in with a knee to the body but Chandler uses that to clinch and look for a single leg, which Brooks defends. Chandler pressuring and trying to grind out Brooks. Will is briefly down but back up. They separate from the clinch as Brooks misses with the knee. Chandler lands a solid right hand. Kick to the groin forces a temporary stoppage but Chandler kept throwing strikes as Herzog tried to halt it. The fight resumes after 1 minute. Brooks lands a side kick. Hard knee to the body by Brooks. Will may have just thrown a capoeira kick that missed. Chandler now attacking and he's exchanging blows in the clinch with Brooks. Uppercut and a standing elbow as they separate and now Brooks shoots for a takedown. Chandler cranking on a guillotine and now he cranks even tighter as they stand up! Brooks is out of it and Chandler is bleeding badly. Brooks tags him with some punches. Chandler is getting eaten up by the jab again and again. Close round swings Brooks' way late. 20-18 Brooks
Round 3: Apologies, my original PBP was erased inadvertently but summation: Brooks stuffed all of Chandler's takedowns and landed the harder shots in the clinch. Chandler was aggressive with his attempts but unsuccessful in his actual offense. 30-27 Brooks
Round 4: Not much in the early going but Brooks continues to find success with his kicks. Swing and a miss by Chandler. Michael goes for a jumping knee which partially lands and now he tries to control Brooks and complete a takedown. They return to the center of the cage and now Chandler has a bump under his right eye. Body kick by Chandler. Chandler with a clubbing right hand. Brooks goes for the takedown which Chandler defends initially but in a scramble Brooks has Chandler on the bottom with a chance for back control. Chandler stands back up and misses on the spontaneous spinning backfist. Chandler looked like he tried to throw Brooks and they are back to their feet. What happened here? Chandler turns away and complains about something. Chandler is hurt, Brooks attacks and the fight is stopped! WOW! Replays show that Chandler was clipped with a temple shot as they stood up and suddenly stopped defending himself. Herzog had to intervene and Chandler does not remember what happened. Terrific stoppage. Official Result: Will Brooks def. Michael Chandler via TKO (punches) at 3:48 of round 4 to become the undisputed Bellator lightweight champion.
Round 1: Mike Beltran is the referee for this one. Two kicks by Schilling. Manhoef counters with his own. It's a leg kick bonanza in the opening minute. Manhoef misses with the right hand over the top. Manhoef slips in an exchange and they clinch against the cage, where time is called after Schilling lands an illegal knee to the groin. Huge right hand decks Schilling. Manhoef is all over Schilling looking for the finish! Manhoef warned for hitting behind the head. Schilling in big trouble but he survives the onslaught. Manhoef is on top with Schilling landing upward elbows. Melvin thought about letting Schilling back to his feet but now he dives back into Schilling's guard. Beltran stands them back up which ... is questionable but I won't complain. Schilling cracks Manhoef with an uppercut and lands a knee in the clinch! Manhoef attempts a footstomp as the round ends with both men trading in close quarters. What a fun round that was! 10-9 Manhoef
Round 2: Schilling pushes forward early and lands a knee to the head but Manhoef counters with an elbow. A COUNTER SHOT BY SCHILLING ENDS IT! Schilling flattens Manhoef with a right hand that puts him unconscious and sprawled on his back. What a comeback by Schilling. Official Result: Joe Schilling def. Melvin Manhoef via KO (punch) at :32 of round 2.
Round 1: Michael Bell is the referee. Richman pops Phan with a jab. Phan very active throwing punches at a high pace but with no accuracy. A right hand drops Phan. Richman has Phan wobbled against the cage and Richman throws a left to the body and then another right to the dome drops him and that is all she wrote. Not even competitive. Official Result: Mike Richman def. Nam Phan via TKO (punches) at :46 of round 1.
Round 1: Jason Herzog is the referee. Mo shoots for a takedown 15 seconds in and gets it. He lands some ground strikes as Vedepo tries scrambling to his feet. Mo gets two big shots off in Vedepo's open guard. Vedepo now in some trouble against the cage. Lawal is firing away punches and Vedepo may have gotten away with an illegal upkick. No stoppage in action as Mo continues to dominate. Vedepo has no space to separate and get up. He takes some more shots and gets to his feet but with Lawal draped over his back. He escapes and drops for a guillotine which is easily defended as the round ends. 10-9 Lawal.
Round 2: Mo gets another takedown right off the bat as Vedepo tries a kimura off of his back but to no avail. They're both standing as Lawal throws knees to the thigh. Back to striking they go. King Mo content to stick his chin out with his hands below his waist. Vedepo slips throwing a knee, falls on his back and Mo pounces. Blood trickling from Vedepo's left eye, which is already swollen. Lawal batters him with more shots as the round closes. This is not a competitive fight. 10-9 Lawal and 20-18 overall.
Round 3: Vedepo drops to a knee on a left hand. Mo swarms his standing. Vedepo desperately looking for a takedown and just flops to the ground on his belly. Lawal now on top of him throwing right hands as Herzog looks at Vedepo, who is gassed, bloodied, and beaten up, and stops the fight. Squash match, predictable result. Official Result: Muhammed Lawal def. Joe Vedepo via TKO (punches) at :39 of round 3.
Preliminary Card (Spike.com, 7 PM ET) - Quick Results
Joao Varia def. Ian Butler via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 1:58 of round 3
AJ Matthews def. Kyle Bolt via KO (punches) at 1:39 of round 1
Jonathan Santa Maria def. Ron Henderson via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Jordan Bailey def. Alex Higley via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:27 of round 1.
Nick Garcia def. Matt Ramirez via submission (guillotine choke) at :56 of round 2.
Andy Murad def. Bubba Pugh via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Rolando Perez vs. Mark Vorgeas ends in a split draw (30-26, 27-29, 28-28)