Bellator 170 is underway at The Forum in Inglewood, California, and so far we do not have a finish to speak of on the main card. The opening bout between Derek Campos and Derek Anderson was as entertaining as Hisaki Kato vs. Ralek Gracie was horrifically boring. Here’s how the first three fights played out.
Derek Campos def. Derek Anderson via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)- 161 lbs catchweight (Anderson missed weight)
It was an aggressive stand-up battle to start off the opening frame. Anderson was staggered by a Campos left hand and momentarily went down on a knee before springing back up. Campos was throwing the heavier shots, while Anderson was more effective with his volume kickboxing. Anderson found his range with his jab towards the end of the 1st round.
The two Dereks continued to stand and trade in round 2. Anderson was clocked multiple times but showed a sturdy chin. A hard two-punch combination jarred Anderson’s head but he didn’t appear to be hurt. Neither man had even attempted a takedown up to this point. Campos dropped Anderson with an uppercut past the halfway point of the fight, gained full mount, but lost the position and they went back to striking.
Anderson found a home for his jab and the overhand right in the final round. Campos changed levels and took Anderson down, but he couldn’t control him for long. A hard right hand by Anderson rocked Campos, and Anderson followed with a head kick. He dropped down for a guillotine but lost it, and Campos was on top. Campos went for Anderson’s back but lost the position and was reversed. They scrambled to their feet and traded strikes to the very end.
Emmanuel Sanchez def. Georgi Karakhanyan by majority decision (28-28, 28-27, 28-27) - Featherweights
After Sanchez couldn’t complete the outside trip on Karakhanyan, Georgi pursued the takedown, then tried to take Sanchez’s back while against the fence. Karakhanyan drilled Sanchez with hard knees to the thigh, all while controlling the waist. To Sanchez’s credit, he avoided getting taken down, and Karakhanyan lost position in a scramble and Sanchez finished the round by going for a standing rear-naked choke.
Sanchez dished out some good ground-and-pound early in the 2nd round, as he muscled Karakhanyan to the mat. He kept the pressure on Karakhanyan with hammerfists in half-guard. Karakhanyan landed an illegal upkick while Sanchez was on a knee. The fight was restarted from the previous position, and moments later, Sanchez threw two very illegal knees to the head of Karakhanyan, who clearly had one knee down. Referee Blake Grice deducted a point from Sanchez, and the fight resumed on the feet. Sanchez went on all-out attack, Karakhanyan responded with a takedown, but was instantly swept and ended up having to defend another rear-naked choke. It was a dominant round for Sanchez, but the point deduction was a pivotal one.
Karakhanyan got a takedown to start round 3, and this time he maintained top position and threw some strikes from Sanchez’s closed guard. Sanchez threw some elbows from the bottom, then went for an armbar, but gave up his back in the ensuing scramble. Karakhanyan had the body triangle locked in on Sanchez, but threw minimal strikes. He closed out the fight with short blows to Sanchez’s head, sealing the final round in his favor, but the fight belonged to Sanchez.
Hisaki Kato def. Ralek Gracie via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) - Middleweights
This grappler vs. striker matchup went the way of the striker. Gracie threw several kicks in the early stages, but put himself off-balance on one of them. Kato was not interested in following him to the mat. The first round was dreadfully slow, with Kato hardly throwing anything. One leg kick chopped down Ralek momentarily as he was coming in. A superman punch hurt Gracie and Kato pounced on him after he was dropped. Gracie tried to work for a submission off of his back, so after Kato threw a few ground strikes, he returned to his feet to end the round.
Round 2 was maddeningly lacking any sort of offense. The crowd booed loudly and Jason Herzog admonished them for their lack of action. Kato went to work with combination striking and easily defended a weak takedown attempt of Ralek. Kato caught Gracie with a hard body kick towards the final minute of another incredibly boring round.
Round 3 was a continuation of rounds 1 and 2. The crowd implored both men to fight. Gracie went in for a takedown and didn’t get it. He finally did get one with 2 minutes left in the fight. Kato just stalled in guard for as long as he could, then Gracie passed guard and got to full mount. Gracie threw some feeble ground-and-pound and the fight mercifully ended.