AND STILL…MICHAEL CHANDLER RETAINS LIGHTWEIGHT BELT IN MAIN EVENT OF ‘BELLATOR 165’
SAN JOSE, CALIF. (Nov. 20, 2016) – Bellator MMA returned to San Jose’s SAP Center with a bang, as Michael Chandler (16-3) successfully defended his lightweight world title belt with a split-decision (48-46, 48-47, 46-48) victory over Benson Henderson (24-7). It was a five-round thriller that will go down as an instant classic, but in the end Chandler protected his title for the third time of his career, the first since reclaiming lightweight gold at “Bellator 157: Dynamite 2.”
FightBookMMA correspondent Rick San Bartolome was on scene covering the event. To read our complete coverage of the event click here.
A 16-fight veteran of Bellator MMA, Chandler has amassed a total of 13 victories with the Scott Coker-led promotion and has now strung together four consecutive wins. After the fight, “Iron” Mike made it clear that he wants the fight that was supposed to happen in San Jose earlier this year, a matchup with Josh Thomson.
“MVP” Sneaks by With Controversial Split-Decision Victory Over Fernando Gonzalez
In the evening’s co-main event, Michael “Venom” Page (12-0) was able to retain his unblemished mark with a split-decision win over Fernando Gonzalez (25-14). The British striking phenom earned his 12th consecutive victory and eighth under the Bellator MMA banner. With the win, Page nullifies Gonzalez’s impressive five-fight winning streak, becoming the first to defeat “The Menifee Maniac” since he joined the promotion in 2014.
Furious Comeback Comes up Short as Piccolotti Remains Undefeated With Unanimous Decision Victory
In the evening’s lightweight feature fight, Adam Piccolotti (9-0) defeated Brandon Girtz (14-5) via unanimous decision (29-28), proving once again that he belongs among the division’s elite. The victory extends Piccolotti’s current winning streak to nine and puts an end to Girtz’s three consecutive wins. The 28-year-old California native has now tallied five wins under the Bellator MMA banner, all of which have come in his home state, including four in the wonderful city of San Jose.
Keri Taylor-Melendez Dazzles in MMA Debut With Brutal Knockout Punch
In the highly anticipated mixed martial arts debut of Keri Taylor-Melendez (1-0), “Scary Keri” delivered a remarkable right hook that sent Sheila Padilla (2-1) flying to the canvas, en route to the knockout win. The finish came just 47 seconds into the opening round of action and has now set the tone for Melendez’s promising MMA career. The 32-year-old strawweight was able to make her transition from the kickboxing ring to the MMA cage look as flawless as possible, attacking the previously undefeated Padilla at the sound of the opening bell. After the win, Melendez was joined in the cage by her husband and coach, Gilbert Melendez, while the two shared the celebration.
Vassell Outlasts Carmont in Opening Main Card Action
In a back-and-forth battle that took the alloted 15 minutes to settle, it was Linton Vassell (17-5) who emerged victorious with a unanimous decision (30-26 x2, 30-25) win over Francis Carmont (25-12) in the first Spike-televised fight of the evening. The win is the 17th of Vassell’s career and sixth since joining the Bellator MMA fray in 2013. “The Swarm” has proven to be one of the most consistent light heavyweights in the division, earning victories in 12 of his last 14 contests. For Carmont, the loss is just his second since joining the Scott Coker-led promotion, and now he sets his sights on bouncing back in 2017.
Preliminary Card Results:
Aaron Hamilton (1-2) defeated Kevin Ferguson Jr. (0-1) via submission (guillotine choke) at 3:00 of round two
Carrington Banks (6-0) defeated Jake Roberts (7-1) via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2)
Diego Herzog (4-2) defeated Nick Pica (5-1) via KO at 1:23 of round one
James Terry (18-9) defeated Justin Baesman (19-11-1) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26 x2)
Dominic Sumner (1-0) defeated Justin Roswell (1-1) via TKO at 2:09 of round one
Dwight Grant (7-1) defeated Danasabe Mohammed (5-1) via unanimous decision (30-26 x3)
Sarah D’Alelio (11-6) defeated Jaimelene Nievera (4-2) via submission (armbar) at 4:46 of round two
Jeremiah Labiano (10-5) defeated Vince Murdock (8-3) via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Alvin Cacdac (16-12) defeated Steve Ramirez (5-1) via TKO at :31 of round one
J.J. Okanovich (3-1) defeated Luis Vargas (0-1) via submission (armbar) at 2:59 of round two
Beau Hamilton (2-7) defeated Victor Jones (0-3) via TKO at 0:28 of round three
Hugo Lujan (1-1) defeated Cesar Gonzalez (0-1) via split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)