The spike.com portion of Bellator 136’s preliminaries promised much. On paper, a great mix of wiley veterans, exciting prospects, and relevant fights. For six, five minute rounds, that promise went unfulfilled. Four fighters contrived to produce uneventful, tentative mixed martial arts.
Then came the Bellator middleweight debut of Joey Beltran, facing “the Predator” Brian Rogers. The comparative styles of both men suggested this would be a war of attrition and that proved to be the case, Beltran being awarded a contentious majority decision.
Rogers appeared to land the cleaner shots in the first round, troubling Beltran with leg kicks and making the former heavyweight look sluggish at 185lbs.
Beltran picked up the pace in the second, catching Rogers late in the round and pushing for the finish. With Rogers’ back against the cage, Beltran unloaded with varied combinations as his namesake, referee Mike Beltran, looked to be on the verge of stopping the fight. The bell would save Rogers, but “the Mexecutioner” had done enough to be awarded a 10-8 round on two of the judge’s scorecards.
Rogers recovered well and we were treated to a competitive, action packed third round that went all the way to the decision. John McCarthy scored the fight 28-28, while both Mylon Ayers and Marcos Rosales scored the fight for Beltrain, 29-28 and 29-27 respectively.
The spike.com prelims had begun with an all Brazilian clash at Featherweight between John Teixeira and Fabricio Guerreiro.
Guerreiro found a home for his jab early in the fight, but was unwilling to throw it with any regularity. While he displayed glimpses of the head movement and footwork needed to make his opponent miss, it was Teixeira who pressed the action and landed the more telling shots throughout.
Despite running gleeful laps around the cage at the final bell, Guerreiro would only be given the nod by Mark Smith who scored it 29-28 in his favor. Both Mike Beltran and Marcos Rosales scored the bout 29-28 for Teixeira who secured the split decision victory.
In between the uneventful opener and entertaining scrap between Beltran and Rogers, Saad Awad and Rob Sinclair did little to impress in their fifteen minutes of cage time.
Awad moved forward in every round, but threw little. Awad is the only fighter to have beaten current lightweight champion Will Brooks, who avenged that loss in October of 2013, but his performance here did nothing to wet the appetite for a third bout between the two men.
All three judges scored the bout 30-27 for Awad, who improved his professional record to 18-6.
Joey Beltran def. Brian Rogers (Majority Decision 29-27 / 29-28 – 28-28)
Saad Awad def. Rob Sinclair (Unanimous Decision 30-27 / 30-27 / 30-27)
John Teixeira def. Fabricio Guerrero (Split Decision 29-28 / 28-29 – 29-28)
By: Stephan Rivers
Photo provided by Bellator MMA