A charge of excitement buzzed in the air when MMA and Kickboxing fans alike filed into the SAP Center for Bellator 183 and Bellator Kickboxing 7.
Nearly two years had past since Bellator’s previous visit to the Bay Area, Dynamite 1, which also paired MMA and Kickboxing, and the Viacom-backed promotion’s faithful fanbase foamed at the mouth, anticipating the carnage that the bell would incite, when Scott Coker, President of Bellator MMA, unfurled the dual combat event on September 23, 2017.
Main Event: Benson Henderson vs. Patricky Freire
The rough road for ‘Smooth’ Benson Henderson continues after Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire outworked the former UFC Lightweight Champion and earned a split-decision victory in his favor.
Although Henderson sprinted to the cage from backstage, his engine never appeared to fire on all cylinders. Every combination from Freire was thrown with a rabid rage, impressing the judges to side on his behalf.
Proving his bite and bark are of equivalent ferocity, Freire screamed into the microphone during the post-fight interview about, once again, challenging for Bellator’s Lightweight Title.
Co-Main Event: Paul Daley vs. Lorenz Larkin
Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley forecasted—then proved: the way to end the storm Lorenz ‘Da Monsoon’ Larkin can bring into any bout is with an explosive left hand.
Roy Nelson vs. Javy Ayala
Javy ‘Eye Candy’ Ayala may have been in his own backyard, fighting out of Porterville, but the SAP Center erupted at the introduction of Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson into the Bellator cage.
Those familiar with Nelson’s resume in the UFC are accustomed to leather being thrown with the ability to level heavyweight bodies the size of small land masses. Initially, Nelson seemed content to launch an assault with his right and left bombs; except, Ayala returned fire, even finding success in several exchanges.
When Nelson transitioned to a grappling game, Ayala could only counter for so long; thereby, the judges’ scorecards prompted Nelson’s first ‘belly rub’ with Bellator.
Aaron Pico vs. Justin Linn
Actions speak louder than any words, especially in the case of Aaron Pico’s knockout of Justin Linn:
Adam Piccolotti vs. Goiti Yamauchi
Goiti Yamauchi, a savvy veteran with almost three times as many MMA matches as Adam ‘The Bomb’ Piccolotti, demonstrated the effectiveness of experience by earning the rear naked choke in the first third of the opening frame.
Mike Ortega vs. Tony Johnson
Mike Ortega versus Tony Johnson told a tale of two rounds: In the first, Ortega bloodied Johnson’s face, but in the second, Johnson claimed a KO by crushing Ortega’s cranium.
Brooke Mayo vs. Kaytlin Neil
When Kaytlin ‘Katniss’ Neil received the nod from the cage side officials, the myth of hometown favoritism was debunked.
Brooke ‘The Bully’ Mayo may not have suffocated Neil with enough pressure to levy all the scorecards for the fight’s entirety; additionally, Neil’s increased output in the third may have even divided certainty amongst the decision-makers, but the announcement of Neil by unanimous decision was perplexing.
Gaston Bolanos vs. Brandon Laroco
Once Gaston ‘The Dream Killer’ Bolanos and Brandon ‘Little Beast’ Laroco exited their corners, the audience inched toward the edge of their seats. Both Bolanos and Laroco tested the granite in one another’s jawlines, yet Laroco seized control in the second round, lassoing his legs around Bolanos’ neck for a triangle.
Jaimelene Nievera vs. Corina Herrera
All hail the Bay Area’s queen after Jaimelene ‘Quee Nie’ Nievera, a product of Dragon House MMA in San Francisco, defeated Corina Herrera, a formidable foe in the women’s flyweight division, by way of unanimous decision.
Alex Lopez vs. Fernando Gonzalez
Alex Lopez executed a clinic on leg kicks, but the judges scored a split-decision on the side of Fernando Gonzalez for implementing a more well-rounded attack.
Ricardo Vasquez vs. Justin Tenedora
Playing the role of spoiler, Ricardo Vasquez, representing Team Ochoa in Lemoore, silenced the stands after submitting American Kickboxing Academy’s Justin Tenedora with an artery closing guillotine.
JJ Okanovich vs. Luis Jauregui
Along with earning his fifth straight win, ‘The Bosnian Bomber’ JJ Okanovich also attempted to add one of Luis ‘Jara’ Jauregui’s limbs to his trophy case, securing an inescapable arm bar in only forty-two seconds.
Daniel Gonzalez vs. Anthony Castrejon
Prior to Bellator 183, Daniel ‘Prodigy’ Gonzalez discussed with norcalmixedmartialarts.com, on Episode 76 of the @norcalfightmma Podcast (link here), his desire to become the wrinkle and scar-free face of Bellator’s flyweight division.
After a brief feeling out process with Anthony ‘Pretty Boy’ Castrejon, Gonzalez, in a game of inches, measured the necessary distance to land a memorable knockout.
Official Bellator 183 results:
Patricky Freire defeated Benson Henderson by way of split-decision.
Paul Daley defeated Lorenz Larkin by way of KO in round 2 (2:40).
Roy Nelson defeated Javy Ayala by way of unanimous decision.
Goiti Yamauchi defeated Adam Piccolotti by way of rear naked choke in round 1 (3:19).
Aaron Pico defeated Justin Linn by way of KO in round 1 (3:45).
Kaytlin Neil defeated Brooke Mayo by way of unanimous decision.
Fernando Gonzalez defeated Alex Lopez by way of split-decision.
Brandon Laroco defeated Gaston Bolanos by way of triangle choke in round 2 (2:16).
Tony Johnson defeated Mike Ortega by way of KO in round 2 (1:49).
Ricardo Vasquez defeated Justin Tenedora by way of guillotine in round 1 (2:39).
Jaimelene Nievera defeated Corina Herrera by way of unanimous decision.
JJ Okanovich defeated Luis Jauregui by way of arm bar in round 1 (:42).
Daniel Gonzalez defeated Anthony Castrejon by way of KO in round 1 (4:03).
Official Bellator Kickboxing 7 results:
Raymond Daniels defeated Karim Ghajji by way of doctor’s stoppage.
Kevin Ross defeated Domenico Lomur by way of split-decision.
Joe Schilling defeated Najib Idali by way of doctor’s stoppage in round 2.
Jorina Bars defeated Anke Van Gestel by way of unanimous decision.
Malaipet defeated Joe Palacios by way of unanimous decison.