CONNECTICUT (Sun, April 23, 2017)– As one of the top MMA organizations around Bellator and Owner Scott Coker put together a great card for the hearty and eager New England MMA fans in attendance and viewing worldwide live on Spike TV. From up and coming fighters to Bellator Vets this card was pure fire. Could the current Bellator Featherweight Champ Daniel Straus 24-6 defeat his co heart Patricio Pitbull 25-4 or will the former champ regain what he says is “his” belt. Will the exciting up and coming Ilime-Lei Macfarlane keep her undefeated streak alive or will the very strong Jessica Middleton keep her record perfect. Fight of the night contender A.J.McKee vs Mazzotta, will it live up to the hype? P.S. it will and then some.
Patricio Pitbull 25-4 vs Daniel Strauss (C) 24-6 FEATERWEIGHT
Two of the promotions most feared and also most respected fighters take the mat for their 4th battle in the Bellator cage. Patricio all but guaranteed he would get what was his back from Strauss. As you can imagine Strauss wanted none of that talk and also said Pitbull will see who the real Featherweight champ is. If their history shows anything at all this fight should be a close one. Round 1 started off with Strauss being the aggressor and controlling the center. Both throwing heavy kicks and punches but not much landing. Strauss came in for the clinch and they just turned each other around each taking control against the cage. Round 1 ended as it started. Round 2 started off with Pitbull being the aggressor and getting Strauss to the ground with a knee to the mid-section. Pitbull was able to get his neck and just crank. He fell back and tightened it as hard as he could. Almost instantly Strauss tapped and just that quick the Guiotine got him the belt back. At .37 seconds into round 2 Pitbull is again a world champion!
Jessica Middleton 2-0 vs Ilima-Lei Macfarlane 5-0 FLYWEIGHT CO-MAIN EVENT
Two of the best fighters in the division throw down in the Co-Main event of the evening. Let’s see if MacFarlane can show off her amazing ground game. Again, two undefeated fighters couldn’t disappoint, right? Macfarlane controlled the center as both ladies threw hands. Macfarlane ran in for the takedown and was able to get Middleton down to the ground. Macfarlane was not going to be stopped and before you know it she had Middleton in an arm bar. An arm bar that would never end but Middleton ended up tapping and by amazing fashion she wins by submission tap at 2:15 of round 1. Middleton must be made of rubber because you can’t hold an armbar for that long with normal arms, kudos for trying to hold off for as long as humanly possible.
Ryan Quinn 13-6 vs Saad Awad 19-9 CATCHWEIGHT (165lbs)
Awad returns to the Mohegan Sun Arena hoping to avoid the outcome of his last appearance here. Dropping down to 165 for the Catchweight battle with Quinn. Round one started off with Awad and his heavy hands hitting Quinn and finally taking him down in the first minute. Awad had Quinn’s back but with Quinn being a BJJ Black belt he was able to get out of it. Most of round one was on the ground with both showing good defense they were able to get up each time. Round two was mostly the same, Quinn the aggressor on the ground with Awad showing he has a great defense no matter where Quinn had him. The round ended with Awad laying the ground and pound on Quinn. The third and final round was similar to the last with Quinn taking down Awad but Awad able to transition and try to end it with heavy elbows. The round ended with Awad on the back attempting a rear naked but he was too gassed. Awad wins the easy decision 30-27 and ends Quinn’s 7-0 Bellator run.
Dominic Mazzotta 11-1 vs A.J. McKee 7-0 FEATHERWEIGHT
The fight I personally could not wait to see, two of the best Featherweights around with undefeated McKee vs the new prospect and one tough dude Mazzotta. McKee is looking to make a statement in the division and make his case for a run to the belt. Mazzotta’s debut for the promotion and his only loss to the current UFC Bantamweight Champ Cody Garbrandt makes this such an interesting bout. Round one started off with McKee as the aggressor, kicks and punches easily turned away by Mazzotta. Then with all of his power McKee sends a left Tai kick to Mazzotta’s head and out he went. A.J. followed with one hammer fist to the face but the ref slid in and stopped it. The head kick was blocked by the way but that didn’t stop the force one bit. Mazzotta out cold by way of NASTY head kick by McKee at 1.15 of the very first round. The mercenary is back he shouted and yes, he is!!!
Branko Busick Pro Debut vs Tyrell Fortune 2-0 HEAVYWEIGHT
The pro debut for anyone is going to bring some jitters for sure but especially going up against returning Tyrell Fortune, Busick had his work cut out for him. This was a back and forth fight and not a walk in the park for Fortune by any means. He was warned numerous times for low blows on Busick and eventually Ref Todd Anderson took a point away from him for low blows. That did not seem to affect the judges because Fortune won the fight by decision 29-28 to stay undefeated.
David Mundell 6-2 vs Ed Ruth 2-0 WELTERWEIGHT
If ground and pound is your thing then this was a great display by Ed Ruth. He was able to handle Mundell very easily throughout round one. The same to start off round two but Ruth was able to land a nasty knee to the midsection of Mundell and down he went. Kevin MacDonald stepped in and the fight was stopped. 3:13 of Round 2 by TKO and Ruth stays undefeated.
Jordan Young 6-0 vs Tim Caron 6-0 CATCHWEIGHT (195)
If you were waiting for a full out battle between two undefeated fighters then you’re going to have to wait. Round one started off with Young catching Caron with a hit to the head and he was able to get his back. Then Young was able to get on top and transition to a Darce choke and Caron tapped at 3:55 of the very first round. A very good performance by Young to stay perfect.
Thomas English 6-7 vs Blair Tugman 9-6 FEATHERWEIGHT
Tugman with the win in the last second by rear naked choke @4:54 of round 3.
Nick Alley 1-0 vs Kastroit Xhema Pro Debut CATCHWEIGHT (165)
Xhema wins his pro debut by impressive fashion with a KO in round 1 @3:19.
John Lopez 8-3 vs Remo Cardarelli 6-5 FLYWEIGHT
Cardarelli upsets local Hartford CT fighter Lopez by unanimous decision 29-28 to go to 7-5.
Shane Manley 3-2 vs Chris Foster 10-5 FEATHERWIGHT
Foster improves to 11-5 and defeated Manley by split decision 29-28.
Quote from Tyrell Fortune:
“I thought it was great for me to go out and get three rounds in,” Fortune said following his Bellator 178 win. “I felt like I utilized my jab and my knees really well. Obviously I m still pretty too, no bumps and no cuts. I dominated the fight.”
Quote from Ed Ruth:
“I thought it was a good fight and a solid win for me. There were definitely some areas where I could’ve been faster and I could’ve been sharper,” Ruth said after moving to 3-0 in Bellator. “I felt like I missed a lot of openings, but I’ll go back to work and train some more and be ready to go again soon.”
Quote from Jordan Young:
“That was light work, easy money. I respect him, but I am here to eat. I need somebody to call me tomorrow, next week, whenever, but I have to eat man,” Young said after remaining undefeated. “I go hard 24/7, so somebody call me because I always stay ready.”
Quote from Kas Xhema:
“The fight was great. I have the best team and the best coaches, I am very lucky guy,” Xhema said. “Over here at American Top Team Connecticut, I truly feel like we are the best team around.”
Quote from A.J. McKee:
“The ‘Mercenary’s’ back. I was getting bored when I didn’t have a fight, partying a little you know, I am only 22, dropped out of college. You know, that college lifestyle isn’t really for me. I knew what I had to do and now I am completely focused and ready to go. It’s my time.” McKee said after his win. “James Gallagher called me out, so I am just being a businessman and whooping the guy who called me out on national television. The fact that he went and signed another contract to fight someone else just tells me that he’s scared.”
Quote from Saad Awad:
“It was a really tough fight and I knew he was a great wrestler. I saw a lot of that coming, he was in my face the whole time,” Awad saidI thought i could take him out in that first round but he kept coming back. It was a tough fight, glad i came out on top.”
Quote from Ilima-Lei Macfarlane:
“I went in there and did everything that I wanted to do. I did everything that I needed to do and as I said in the cage, I really wanted to make a statement that this is my division,” Macfarlane said. “If they’re going to crown a champion, I want to be number one up there.”
Article/Photos By: Jarett Kelly
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