Bellator 207 is in the books and the event was capped off with the promotion’s light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader absolutely dominating Matt Mitrione for just about every second of the main event. With the 30-25 x2/30-24 unanimous decision win, Bader will go on to face the victor of Saturday’s Fedor Emelianenko vs. Chael Sonnen matchup in the GP finals for Bellator’s heavyweight crown on January 26th in California.
In the co-main event, Sergei Kharitonov let his hands go in his return to Bellator, and scored a first-round knockout of Roy Nelson. Kharitonov hasn’t lost in six-straight outings, and if he sticks around with the Viacom promotion, he might be eyeing a run at the soon to be crowned heavyweight champion.
Lorenz Larkin and Ion Pascu went the distance tonight, but it was the jabs and kicks of Larkin that were scoring throughout the fight, aiding “Da Monsoon” in a 29-28 decision in the eyes of all three judges. The win also grants Larkin the top alternate spot for Bellator’s welterweight Grand Prix.
Corey Browning made the most of his Bellator debut by stopping “Baby Slice,” Kevin Ferguson Jr. in the second round. The fight was competitive throughout, but once Ferguson ran out of gas, it was over. Opening up the main card, Mandel Nallo picked up a highlight-reel knockout on highly scouted prospect Carrington Banks, ending the match in the second round to remain undefeated.
Ryan Bader def. Matt Mitrione by unanimous decision (30-25 x2, 30-24): Heavyweight GP
It took about 15 seconds for Bader to shoot in and put Mitrione on his back. When Mitrione did scramble up to his feet, Bader took him right back down, forcing his foe to carry his weight. Several heavy ground strikes landed from the top for Bader, and then a few landed on the feet before the round ended.
Mitrione came out swinging in the second round, but was again quickly put on his back. Bader did a sound job of pinning one of Mitrione’s arms with his arm, allowing himself to punch freely. From side control, Bader nearly hit a Kimora, but Mitrione hung tough and escaped the hold. This was another round that Mitrione was unable to do anything other than survive. Bader immediately shot in on Mitrione to get a takedown in the opening moments of the final round. More of the same from Bader as Mitrione had zero answers for the wrestling of Bader.
Sergei Kharitonov def. Roy Nelson by KO at 4:59 of round 2: Heavyweight
The big men came out swinging, and in the mix, Kharitonov landed a knee to a downed Nelson. The referee stepped in to stop the fight, and Nelson flopped onto his back. One point was deducted from Kharitonov for the illegal blow, and the bout resumed to the crowd’s delight.
Nelson looked to use his jab to set up his overhand right, but Kharitonov was there to meet him with jabs of his own. Kharitonov started to turn up the heat, landing some volume on the granite chin of Nelson and backing him up to the cage. The uppercuts from Kharitonov were non-stop and they put Nelson out on his feet. Then, a savage knee to the face sent Nelson crashing to the canvas.
Lorenz Larkin def. Ion Pascu by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Welterweight
Pascu closed the distance early in the opening round, but was unable to put Larkin on his back. In open space, Larkin landed some heavy kicks before a cup shot from Pascu almost stopped the action. When the referee moved in to pause the fight, Larkin exclaimed that he was good to keep going.
Larkin came out in the second round cracking with leg kicks that went unchecked. The jab of Larkin was also popping off in the face of Pascu. Off of getting one of his kicks caught, Larkin blasted Pascu with a thudding punch that snapped his back. Pascu was able to kick out the opposite leg than the one he caught, but Larkin still got back to his feet in time to stuff the takedown attempt.
Larkin played the outside in the third round, moving away from a pressing Pascu. The jab continued to land for Larkin, which prevented Pascu from closing the distance, at least for a little bit. With about two minutes remaining in the final round, Pascu finally found a takedown. Despite a Hail Mary leg lock attempt, Pascu was unable to make anything happen, giving Larkin top position for the closing moments of the fight.
Corey Browning def. Kevin Ferguson Jr. by TKO at 2:08 of round 2: Lightweight
Baby Slice connected with a huge overhand right before changing levels and blasting a double leg. Baby Slice tried to force a submission, but Browning was able to escape back up to his feet. The takedown attempt was relentless for Baby Slice, as Browning struggled to find separation, and the fight eventually made its way to the ground. Browning found a way to scramble into top position and locked up a crucifix from the back, and then proceeded to drop a couple of unblocked strikes before the bell sounded.
Browning dropped Baby Slice right out of the gate to start the second stanza, but Ferguson was able to recovery rather quickly. Baby Slice worked his way into top position and even took full mount, before snagging the back. After cranking down on an RNC, Baby Slice seemed to have run out of gas, and just kind of slid off the back of Browning, surrendering top position. Browning began dropping strike after strike until the referee stepped in and called it off.
Mandel Nallo def. Carrington Banks by KO (Knee) at :57 of round 2: Lightweight
Banks closed the distance as expected, but found himself fighting off a really tight D’arce attempt from Nallo. After escaping the submission hold, Banks enjoyed the top position, and rode out the rest of the round on top. Banks came out looking to work his boxing in the second round, but Nallo caught him with a bodacious knee to the jaw that knocked out Banks on impact. No follow up was needed.
This might be a candidate for knockout of the year. pic.twitter.com/VDB0UZo0qt— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 13, 2018
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