The Bellator featherweight belt was on the line in the promotion's 2015 debut. Patricio Freire entered the cage is reigning champion after he bested Pat Curran in last September's rematch, and the Brazilian's first defense would come against Daniel Straus, who lost to Pitbull by decision in 2011.
Patricio Freire def. Daniel Straus via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:49 of round 4.
There's no two ways about it - Daniel Straus was the better striker on this night. He was the more accurate puncher and his southpaw stance seemed to really give the champ some problems. It was the best striking display of Straus' career ... but it was a fight marred with a slew of fouls. Straus had an accidental headbutt, followed up with two low kicks, and then an eye poke was enough to force John McCarthy to deduct a point in the 2nd round. Round 3 was mostly a Straus round, as he bloodied and cut up the right eye of Pitbull with hard left hands. A troubling sign however out of Straus' corner came when Daniel said he hurt one of his knees.
Wild moments ensued in the 4th round when Pitbull appeared to knee Straus in the groin, but Pitbull thought he'd won by TKO as McCarthy swooped in. Replays showed the shin looked to have grazed the cup but the foot definitely did land. No point deduction was given to Pitbull. At the end of the 4th, Pitbull was on top of Straus, who was bizarrely looking for a kimura off of his back without having a guard, and Pitbull was able to take his back shortly thereafter. The champion flattened Straus out, locked in a rear-naked choke, and forced the tap for what is arguably a come-from-behind victory. It was a truly topsy-turvy fight with the fouls playing a huge role in how the action played out, but prior to Pitbull's groin strike on Straus, he looked to be in a bit of trouble. The judges had the scorecards even at 28-28 (with the deduction on Straus in the 2nd round taken into account) after 3 rounds.
Zombie Prophet has the Vine of the finish:
In the co-main event of the evening, featherweight prospect and Arizona State wrestling star Bubba Jenkins welcomed Georgi Karakhanyan back to Bellator after he left World Series of Fighting (where he won the FW title). Jenkins was aggressive with his takedowns, but equally as aggressive was Karakhanyan's hunt for a guillotine choke off the takedown. This was just about the theme of the fight, and he locked the guillotine up as Jenkins was trying to power slam his way out of it. Karakhanyan yelled to Herb Dean "He's out!" ... and sure enough he was out. Thankfully Jenkins (8-2) was okay after about 7 seconds had elapsed from when he went limp and when Herb Dean stopped the fight. Karakhanyan (24-4-1) will get the next featherweight title shot versus Patricio Pitbull, who KO'd him at Bellator 37.
Again, here's ZP with the GIF:
This was a rematch of a late 2014 bout, which ended in a draw after Alexander was deducted a point for headbutts. I truly hope there is no 3rd fight. Here's the final 15 seconds of the 3rd round courtesy of Zombie Prophet:
The main card got off to a fun start, as Zaromskis and Gonzalez went toe-to-toe for the duration of this gruelling, high-paced fight. Gonzalez was able to force Zaromskis to fight in close range, where Gonzalez's boxing was able to swell up Zaromskis' face by the end of the 1st round. Zaromskis was never able to consistently keep the pressure off of him, and Gonzalez was able to maintain a solid rate of successful offense after a furious opening round by both men.
Preliminary Card results
John Salter def. Dustin Jacoby via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:33 of round 2
Everett Cummings def. Jason Glaza via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:55 of round 2
Steve Kozola def. Jonathan Rivera via KO (punches) at 1:25 of round 2
Derek Anderson def. Danny Navarro via TKO (punches) at 3:51 of round 3
Albert Morales def. Fabian Gonzalez via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:12 of round 2
Chris Herrera def. Luc Bondole via KO (punch) at 3:21 of round 2