GEGARD MOUSASI put on a dominant performance to rip the Bellator middleweight crown from Rafael Carvalho’s grasp, stopping him inside the first round with some vicious ground strikes at the SSE Arena in London.
Mousasi, who has held world titles in almost every organisation he has been a part of wasted no time getting down to work. He took Carvalho down with ease on a number of occasions, before finally gaining control of the Brazilian’s back and raining down a barrage of blows that forced the referee Dan Miragliotta to step to save Carvalho from more punishment.
It was a headline worthy performance from the Dutchman, who continues to add to his legacy within the sport. Hewas elevated to the main event spot after Mirko Cro Cop and Roy Nelson’s heavyweight fight fell apart due to injury and he didn’t disappoint.
Carvalho had no answer for Mousasi’s work in the clinch and subsequent efforts on the ground after the takedowns. Carvalho was forced into using energy getting back to his feet and was unable to break free from Mousasi’s grip. His reputation took a big dent, as Mousasi left with his title, barely breaking a sweat in the process.
In the co-main event, Michael “Venom” Page returned to the Bellator cage to entertain the masses once more and he succeeded in doing so, as he made David Rickels quit on his feet midway through the second round of their welterweight contest.
Page looked sharp and seemingly couldn’t miss with his strikes, which found a home with laser-like accuracy on “The Caveman”. MVP put Rickels down in the first with a rapid right hand, but refused to engage on the ground, as he wanted to finish the fight on his feet.
Rickels got through the first and cut a highly frustrated figure between rounds and he finally called time on the fight less than a minute into the second, as Page opened a cut above his eye after another right hand. Rickels stomped around the cage like a petulant toddler, before telling the referee he had enough. In hindsight it was a wise decision, although anything but popular with the London crowd who showered him with boos.
On the undercard, former Geordie Shore star Aaron Chalmers moved to 4-0 with another first round stoppage, this time by submission, as he put Ash Griffiths to sleep with a standing guillotine choke. Chalmers came back from a difficult start, as he was taken down, before eating a big knee on the way back to his feet.
However “The Joker” was unfazed and dropped Griffiths with a swift combination and swarmed him on the floor before sinking in the final choke. Plenty will be said once again about the standard of his opponent, but all he can do is continue to stop them in their tracks. It’s impossible to deny it was an impressive stoppage by Chalmers.
Mike Shipman continued his record of never hearing the final bell and he wasn’t in any mood to hang around, as he stopped Carl Noon after just 11 seconds of their middleweight meeting. Noon hadn’t stepped foot in the cage for seven years and it’s unlikely he imagined his return to action would be quite so short. One right hand from Shipman later he was down on the canvas. It will be worth keeping an eye on Shipman.
Phil Davis put himself on the verge of a shot at reclaiming the Bellator light-heavyweight title, as he came out on top of what was a close fight with Linton Vassell right up until “Mr Wonderful” knocked out “The Swarm” with a stunning head kick in the third round. The former NCAA champion appeared to have the edge over Vassell, but the former wrestling standout took the chance to add a real exclamation point to a good performance.
Newquay’s Kate Jackson ended Anastasia Yankova’s perfect professional record, as she executed an almost flawless performance to leave the SSE Arena with a unanimous decision victory. Flyweight Jackson’s superior ground game was more than enough to earn the win, as Yankova struggled to cope, almost getting stopped in the first round by Jackson, who bounced back from a loss at the hands of Valerie Letourneau.