ANAHEIM, Calif. (August 26, 2016)— Live from the Pond in Anaheim California Bellator MMA made their return to Cali with a lightweight #1 contender fight that could headline a PPV. The main event was Benson Henderson in his second fight sense joining Bellator took on the former featherweight champion Patricio Pitbull. Both men made a change in their weight class as Pitbull is moving up to try to beat Henderson to earn a shot at the lightweight champion to avenge his brother KO lost back in June. In Henderson’s first fight in Bellator he fought for the welterweight title and with no success the former champion decided to try his luck back at his original weight. All on the line in the main event but as for the rest of the card a featherweight showdown between the undefeated rising star AJ McKee and Cody Walker. With the champion sidelined and the former champion moving up to lightweight this fight was key for both contenders. Two surging fighters in a light weight showdown as Derek Anderson took on Saad Awad, and to cap off the main card a much-anticipated rematch between Georgi Karakhanyan and Bubba Jenkins. In the prelims section of the card College wrestling champion Joey Davis makes his MMA Debut versus Keith Cutrone, and Stephen Martinez took on the undefeated Jake Roberts. All the action kicks off on Bellator.Com before the main card kicks off on Spike.
The 1st prelim bout kicked off in the lightweight division as the undefeated Jake Roberts (6-0) took on Stephen Martinez (11-4), after a shaky start Jake Roberts was able to get the fight to the ground where he mounted Martinez to finish the fight by strikes. Winner: Jake Roberts (7-0) by TKO Round 1. – Looser: Stephen Martinez (11-5). Next up in the featherweight division Mario Navarro (4-4) took on the debuting Chinzo Machida (3-2), A booming debut it was for Machida as a strong striking game sealed the deal early in round 1. Winner: Chinzo Machida (4-2) by TKO Round 1. – Looser: Mario Navarro (4-5). Next we head back to the lightweight division as Mike Segura (4-3) took on Jacbo Rosales (3-2), a very close fight from start to finish but it was who did enough to get the victory. Winner: Jacob Rosales (4-2) by Unanimous Decision (30-27,29-28,29-28). – Looser: Mike Segura (4-4). Next up in catch weight fight Johnny Cisneros (9-4) took on Andy Murad (13-2), after a three round war of hands Andy Murad was able to pull ahead and get the win in a very close fight. Winner: Andy Murad (14-2) by Unanimous Decision (29-28,29-28,29-28). – Looser: Johnny Cisneros (9-5). Next up in the lightweight division it was a pair of undefeated fighters going head to head as Alex Trinidad (1-0) took on Gabriel Green (1-0), in the battle of the two undefeated fighters it was Gabriel Green who hopped on Trinidad from the beginning like a lion eating a zebra, a bit of ground and pound and that’s all she wrote. Winner: Gabriel Green (2-0) by TKO Round 2. – Looser: Alex Trinidad (1-1). Next up in a catch weight bout it was undefeated former NCAA wrestling champion Joey Davis (0-0) making his MMA debut against Keith Cutrone (1-0), the debut of Joey Davis was everything we thought it would be as he dominated Cutrone from start to finish. Winner: Joey Davis (1-0) by Unanimous Decision (30-27,30-27,30-27). – Looser: Keith Cutrone (1-1).
The Main kicked off in the featherweight division as undefeated rising star AJ McKee (4-0) took on Cody Walker (1-1), what a performance from AJ McKee as he continues his undefeated finish streak with a submission finish. Winner: AJ McKee (5-0) by Submission (Guillotine). – Looser: Cody Walker (1-2). As the card roles on we head to a catch weight bout as Georgi Karakhanyan (24-6-1) took on Bubba Jenkins (11-2) for the second time, it took less than one round for Georgi Karakhanyan to repeat what he did in their first fight but this time he didn’t choke him to sleep, this time he got the win with his hands. What a shot, a very impressive win for Georgi. Winner Georgi Karakhanyan (25-6-1) by TKO Round 1. – Looser: Bubba Jenkins (11-3). In the co main event it was a lightweight showdown between Saad Awad (19-7) and Derek Anderson (13-2), what a co main event it was as both fighters took it all the way to the wire. Every round Awad would be the aggressor and take the early lead but as each round wore on Anderson would take the fight to the ground and take over. At the end of the night it was Anderson that was able to do enough to get the win. Winner: Derek Anderson (14-2) by Unanimous Decision (30-27,29-28,29-28). – Looser: Saad Awad (19-8).
Main Event Lightweight Division
Benson Henderson (23-6) Vs Patricio Pitbull (25-3)
In the main event not only was the #1 contender on the line to see who faces lightweight champion Michael Chandler next but it was also a fight between two fighters that have fought in different divisions up to this point. Henderson has fought in welterweight for almost a year and with Pitbull being the former featherweight champion these two warriors had to show that their styles are the same no matter what division. Can Benson get back to greatness at lightweight or will Pitbull get his chance to show no matter what weight class he has the power. The 1st round starts out with very little action as the feeling out process begins. As the crowd gets impatient Pitbull lands a couple of jabs. As the 1st round wore on little jabs and a few kicks were landed and that’s it, the feeling out process has begun and now the 2nd begins. Pitbull comes out with a little more urgency as he lands the 1st takedown of the fight but quickly back up to his feet is Henderson. Then maybe one of the strangest finishes I have ever seen Henderson throws a kick which Pitbull catches and after Henderson eats a few his leg gets free and Pitbull throws a kick that lands and breaks his foot. That is all she wrote. It should be noted early in round 1 Pitbull threw a kick that landed and instantly you saw Pitbull make an expression of pain. He started to bounce around and not lean on it but it proved to be the reason for defeat. Benson Henderson gets the finish due to Pitbull not being able to compete. Now Benson Henderson will get next crack at the lightweight title.
Winner: Benson Henderson (24-6) by TKO (Unable to compete broke foot)
Looser: Patricio Pitbull (25-4)
By: Rick San Bartolome
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