Bellator is back, but not necessarily in a big way. Bellator 110 saw the more marketable Rampage Jackson and Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal prevail, but neither man looked stellar.
What about the rest of the card? The event started off rocky. The first two preliminary bouts ended in unsatisfying no contests—the first due to an accidental illegal knee. The second was the result of an accidental eye poke.
Of note: Daniel Weichel defeated Scott Cleve in the quarterfinal round of Bellator’s season 10 featherweight tournament. He won via submission, though the rear-naked choke was set up by a gorgeous straight right. When Cleve was on the mat, his brains were far too scrambled to adequately prevent Weichel from taking his back and working for the choke. In another prelim quarterfinal bout, Will Martinez upset the highly touted, 21-year-old prospect, Goiti Yamauchi via unanimous decision. Martinez was stronger and fought a smarter fight. He bullied and smothered Yamauchi, who was stymied by Martinez’s aggression.
The main card kicked off with the third featherweight tournament quarterfinal. Mike Richman met Des Green. The latter fighter prevailed in a closely contested but ultimately forgettable decision win.
Up next came the fourth and final featherweight tournament quarterfinal bout. Matt Bessette faced off against UFC veteran Diego Nunes . This match was even closer than Richman-Green, and had more entertainment value to boot (head kicks galore, good exchanges, an active guard on display, etc). Bessette walked away with a split decision victory.
The co-main event of the evening featured Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal in a light heavyweight tournament semifinal (yes, you read that right. It’s a semifinal; the Bellator season 10 LHW tourney only has four fights) against Mikhail Zayats. This was by far the worst fight of the night. King Mo was expected to thrash Zayats, but he did no such thing. He gassed early, and never mounted much meaningful offense. Some few-and-far-between strikes and takedown attempts earned King Mo a unanimous decision win. If he shows up like this against Rampage Jackson (yes, even de -motivated 2014 Rampage), he’ll be destroyed—especially since Jackson’s performance was superior to Mo’s.
Jackson fought Christian M’Pumbu in the main event. The fight was awful until Jackson capitalized on M’Pumbu slipping, earning a TKO with ground and pound. How bad was the fight though? Both men literally put their hands down and started shrugging at each other in the first 30 seconds, perplexed at the other’s inactivity. This glorified dance routine continued until the end of the fight (save for one impressive flurry by Jackson).
If the fight was bad, the post-fight hysterics were worse. First, Jackson stood over M’pumbu’s listless body and started shouting at him. After that bit of theater, Jackson interrupted his own post-fight interview to start screaming at King Mo when he was brought into the cage. It got ugly, a bunch of pudgy production guys had to separate the two. It wasn’t quite Strikeforce: Nashville bad but it was close.
Another bit of news: Bjorn Rebney announced Bellator’s next PPV (because it worked sooo well the first time). The main event will be Michael Chandler-Eddie Alvarez III. It will take place on May 17th.
Here are the complete results for the night:
Rampage Jackson def. Christian M’Pumbu via KO, 4:34 of round 1
Muhammad Lawal def. Mikhail Zayats via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Matt Bessette def. Diego Nunes via split decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Desmond Green def. Mike Richman via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Will Martinez def. Goiti Yamauchi via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Daniel Weichel def. Scott Cleve via submission (rear naked choke), 3:46 of round 1
Saul Almeida def. Andrew Fisher via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Egidijus Valavicius def. Atanas Djambazov via KO, 0:48 of round 1
Ryan Quinn de. Andrew Calandrelli via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Manny Lara vs. Josh Diekman, No Contest, 0:18 of round 1
Marvin Maldonado vs. Rico DiSciullo, No Contest, 1:53 of round 1