IRVINE, Calif. (April 10, 2015) – An energetic Southern Californian crowd was on hand tonight at the Bren Event Center enjoying a spectacular night of fights at Bellator 136.
With celebrities and MMA legends the likes of Tommy Lasorda, Charlie Hough, Jermaine Dye, Tito Ortiz, Ken Shamrock, Don Frye and Frank Shamrock cageside, the Scott Coker-led promotion emphatically returned to the arena for the first time since its debut on Spike at Bellator 85.
In addition to a lightweight title fight in the main event, 12 other exciting contests helped continue the trend of exciting cards on Spike TV thus far in 2015.
It took the full five rounds, but Will Brooks (16-1) made the first defense of his Bellator Lightweight strap, defeating Dave Jansen (20-3) via unanimous decision [49-46, 49-46, 49-46]. After a clear-cut opening frame that saw “The Fugitive” surprise “Ill Will” with his explosive kicking and punching, Brooks slowly turned the tide in his favor, slowing the pace and using his world renown grappling to remain the 155-pound kingpin.
“Dave Jansen is exactly what people consider him to be,” said Brooks. “He’s got that warrior spirit and he’s really intelligent. He fought hard, I just fought harder. I’m still young in this sport, and there were definitely a lot of things that I wanted to do in the fight that he neutralized. I’m looking to stay busy and get back to putting on exciting fights for the fans.”
After 15 minutes of co-main event action, Rafael Carvalho improved to 11-1, earning a split decision win [28-29, 30-27, 29-28] against Joe Schilling (2-4). The young Brazilian slowed the fight down throughout, nullifying the striking of “Stitch Em’ Up.” One judge did see the fight in favor of the world champion kickboxer, but it wasn’t enough as Schilling drops to .500 inside the Bellator cage.
In a battle of submission specialists, Marcin Held (21-3) finished Tiger Sarnavskiy (30-3) via verbal submission caused by a knee bar at 1:11 of round three. With the win, Held has now won 12 of his 21 professional fights via submission.
The first televised scrap of the evening featured heavyweights Tony Johnson (8-2) and Alexander Volkov (6-1). After three grueling rounds, “The Hulk” remained undefeated in the Bellator cage. Johnson was awarded a [29-28, 28-29, 29-28] split decision. Overall it was the wrestling of Johnson that earned him the victory. Now, Johnson returns home to his two daughters and fiancée, where he doubles as a self-proclaimed “Mr. Mom.”
Joey Beltran (16-11) bounced back from a lackluster opening round to take rounds two and three, ultimately defeating Brian Rogers (11-8) via majority decision [28-28, 29-28, 29-27]. “The Mexicutioner” impressed in his Bellator MMA middleweight debut, while “The Predator” has dropped four of five scraps.
Saad Awad (18-6) handed Rob Sinclair (12-3) the third loss of his career, earning a unanimous decision [30-27, 30-27, 30-37]. With the win, Awad moves even closer to a trilogy fight with lightweight champion Will Brooks.
In the opening bout of the evening, John Teixeira (18-1-2) defeated Fabricio Guerreiro (20-4) via split decision [29-28, 28-29, 29-28]. Guerreiro has now dropped two of his last three bouts, while “Macapa” has won three straight.
AJ McKee (1-0) made a successful professional debut on Friday night, finishing Marcos Bonilla (1-2) with a deep rear-naked choke at 2:08 round one. The contingent that remained after the main card was heavily in favor of the Long Beach, Calif., native.
Chad George (16-8) finished Mark Vorgeas (5-3-1) with a head and arm choke at 3:37 of the first round. There was no tap or verbal submission, as George had to inform the referee that his opponent had gone unconscious. The Los Angeles native now has nine submission wins in his young career.
Laguna Hills, Calif., Justin Governale (4-2) submitted hometown boy Jay Bogan (6-5) via rear-naked choke at 2:09 of round two. It was an exciting end to a fight that was nearly finished by Governale with strikes.
Steve Ramirez (1-1) finished Jon Santa Maria (3-1) with a toehold at 3:29 of round one.
Cleber Luciano (11-5) finished Aaron Miller (14-10) with an arm bar at 4:36 of round two.