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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
NOVEMBER 20, 2015
LIVE FROM THACKERVILLE, OKLAHOMA
Bellator returns to the Winstar World Casino tonight with a five fight main card on Spike. Headlined by an intriguing striking battle between middleweights Hisaki Kato and Melvin Manhoef, there's sure to be some action on tonight's broadcast. We'll have live round by round coverage of the televised event as it kicks off at 9PM ET, so make sure to follow along with us tonight!
-Houston Alexander and Guilherme Viana were both in the cage to kick off the broadcast.
FIGHT ONE: HOUSTON ALEXANDER VS. GUILHERME VIANA (LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Alexander set up in the center. They traded strikes, but neither landed much effectively. Alexander started targeting the body, and landed several strikes to the ribs in a few exchanges. Viana landed a right hand. Alexander popped Viana's head back with a jab. Viana landed a hard combination that seemed to hurt Alexander, but he recovered quickly. They traded strikes. Viana rocked Alexander with a left. Alexander somehow stayed standing. Viana scored a takedown after Alexander shot in, but made him get back up. Alexander again seemed to get his legs back as Viana let him off the hook. Viana missed a few strikes, Alexander missed the counter in turn. Alexander landed a jab to the body. Viana landed a hard jab. They both landed strikes in the final minute. Viana landed another couple of punches to the head. Alexander landed a couple of body punches late before the horn.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Viana. He nearly finished Alexander there, and it's surprising Alexander is still standing, but he let him off the hook as well and took some big strikes throughout the round himself.
ROUND TWO: They traded early jabs. Viana rocked Alexander with a big left, but Alexander shot in and scored a takedown. Viana rolled with him and flipped him over to scramble up. They traded punches again. Viana landed another big left and Alexander was on wobbly legs. He failed on a takedown attempt and wound up on his back at the cage. He turtled up and tried to work to his feet. No idea how he's still in this. Viana landed some short punches as Alexander got up. He landed a knee as he held a body lock. He tripped Alexander up and brought him back down. He got one hook in, but Alexander blocked the other hook. Alexander kept trying to defend the short hammerfists and punches, but was stuck in a turtled up position. Alexander was bleeding heavily from the face, but finally exploded up and to his feet with just over a minute left. Viana missed a jumping kick attempt, but neither did much in the final minute.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Viana. Close to a 10-8 with another near finish, but he let Alexander off the hook once again when he nearly had it finished.
-They came back from break and the doctors stopped the fight because of a nasty cut on his eyelid. Similar to the stoppage last weekend for Jake Matthews over Akbarh Arreola, though this one wasn't as swollen as that.
WINNER: Viana via TKO (doctor's stoppage - cut) at 5:00 of the second round
STAR RATING: (**-) Ugly for much of it. Viana hurt Alexander a whole bunch of times, and just let him off the hook time after time. He's lucky to have avoided getting caught after that, as Alexander still had the power to damage him. Regardless, Alexander was a punching bag whenever Viana decided to engage.
FIGHT TWO: CHIDI NJOKUANI VS. RICKEY RAINEY (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Njokuani landed a hard inside leg kick. He backed away from a strike, then came back in with a body kick. Bit tentative from both in the first 40 seconds. They clashed and clinched, and Rainey drove Njokuani to the cage. They jockeyed for position. Rainey tried for a takedown to no avail. Rainey backed off briefly and landed a hard left, then they clinched again. Njokuani tried to gain positional advantage in the clinch, but was spun back around. Rainey got in a spinning elbow and went back to the clinch. Not a ton of work being done in this clinch, but Rainey doing just enough. Njokuani got in a knee. They were separated with 35 seconds left. Rainey shot in but got stuffed. Njokuani got a body lock and took Rainey's back standing, but did nothing with it before the horn.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Rainey. Not a great round, but Rainey effective enough to take it.
ROUND TWO: Rainey rushed in with a strike and got Njokuani briefly to the ground, but Njokuani popped to his feet and clinched. Njokuani got in a nice elbow in close. They battled for a bit without doing much, then Rainey nearly scored a throw, but Njokuani popped up. Njokuani got in a body kick, but Rainey rushed him for another clinch. Too much of this so far in this fight. The very inconsequential clinch-fighting was eventually broken up again. Rainey threw some strikes, but didn't hit much of a target before they clinched again. Ugh. Njokuani landed a nice right hand that affected Rainey. He got turned around on the cage. Njokuani landed a knee on the break. Njokuani landed a hard body kick. He blocked one late.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Rainey. Not a good fight right now.
ROUND THREE: They traded strikes. Njokuani got in a kick. Back to the clinch. This is just dull. As Sean Grande and Jimmy Smith rightfully point out, Njokuani not showing any urgency despite likely being down two rounds. This fight is bad. Njokuani went for a throw, failed, and Rainey put him on the cage. Rainey tried for a takedown, ate a few elbows, and completed it. Briefly. Njokuani got back to his feet and it was more of the same. They were finally separated. Njokuani landed a couple strikes. He got in a hard kick high that was partially blocked. Njokuani scored another kick high, with less of a block. They traded right hands in the center. Rainey's right eye was almost fully closed. Njokuani got in a leg kick. He landed a couple hard body kicks, but Rainey clinched up again to slow it down, and he scored one more takedown late to close out.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Njokuani. Too little too late, but should be his round, even with that late takedown.
WINNER: Njokuani via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
STAR RATING: (*-) What? Yeah, I don't get that decision at all. I don't see how Njokuani won either the first or second round. Bad decision to cap off a terribly dull fight.
FIGHT THREE: BUBBA JENKINS VS. JORDAN PARSONS (FEATHERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Jenkins opened with a high kick that was blocked. They clinched up and Jenkins took Parsons' back standing. Parsons got free and they stood across from one another. They traded strikes. Parsons walked him down and landed some punches and kicks. Jenkins ducked under a strike and scored a takedown. Parsons scrambled, but Jenkins stayed on him to the feet. He got free. Parsons landed a hard right hand. He got in a counter off a body kick. Parsons got in another right hand, then a hard leg kick. He continued moving forward. Parsons got in a body kick. Jenkins scored a strike. He got in a couple more kicks, but Parsons continued moving forward. Jenkins missed a spinning kick. Parsons sprawled on a takedown attempt and grabbed a front head lock. He scored a few knees on the way up, but Jenkins landed a strike. Jenkins got in a hard body kick. Parsons jumped in with a knee but got taken down at the bell.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Parsons. Close round, wouldn't entirely be opposed to Jenkins taking it, both had offense in the round enough to have an argument.
ROUND TWO: Parsons stuffed an early takedown. He took a kick low but that led to just a short pause. Parsons came back forward. Jenkins landed a hard right hand. Parsons got in a body kick. Jenkins got in a knee to the body. Parsons landed a few strikes, backing Jenkins up. Parsons landed a nice step-in knee. Jenkins went for a spinning back fist, missed, and ate a counter. Jenkins rocked Parsons with a head kick! Parsons tried to take a step and stumbled down, but he got his wits as Jenkins followed him to the ground. Parsons shot in, recovered, then held off a takedown of his own and went for a kimura! Jenkins got out, and landed some hammerfists. He took Parsons' back, but Parsons got back to his feet. Jenkins went for another high kick, and transitioned into a takedown into Parsons' guard. Parsons landed a couple elbows from the bottom, and again tried for the kimura. Jenkins held onto his own leg to defend that. He got free and landed a couple late strikes as Parsons worked to his knees at the cage.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Jenkins. He had Parsons hurt badly, but let him recover by bringing it to the ground.
ROUND THREE: Parsons came forward, seemingly cleared of the damage in the second. They traded punches. Both missed strikes, but Parsons stayed the aggressor. Jenkins missed a spinning back kick. Parsons kept up the attack, but neither was landing much of anything. Jenkins shot in, and Parsons stuffed it.. He looked to set up a guillotine up against the cage, but let it go. He got in a knee to the body and tried to drag Jenkins down. Jenkins worked back to his feet. He went for a kimura but lost it as Parsons tried to take him down. He failed on that attempt. Parsons finally separated with a couple of strikes. Jenkins shot in and scored the takedown after that, but Parsons got his back to the cage and looked to stand. Jenkins held him down briefly, but Parsons got back up. Parsons attacked for the guillotine, but lost it and wound up with Jenkins in his half guard. He got to his knees and tried to stand, but got held down. He finally got up. Jenkins raised his hand and Parsons tried to throw one more strike at the bell.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Jenkins. Parsons let himself get downed too much there in the last couple minutes and it cost him him.
WINNER: Jenkins via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**-) Had a few moments. Not a great fight, too much tentative action at times, but it had its moments.
FIGHT FOUR: BRANDON GIRTZ VS. DEREK CAMPOS (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Very tentative opening, then Girtz rushed in with a combination that just destroyed Campos. He followed it up with a few hammerfists on the ground and this one was all over. Well then.
WINNER: Girtz via KO at :37 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**) Great follow-up to the Guillard win for Girtz, who has now won five of his last six with stoppages in four of those.
MAIN EVENT FIGHT FIVE: HISAKI KATO VS. MELVIN GUILLARD (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Extremely tentative in the early going, with both circling around one another. Manhoef swung wildly and just missed connecting big. Kato fired off a solid right hand. Back to the tentativeness. Manhoef connected on a left hook. Kato landed a hard body kick. He ate a counter strike. They traded and Manhoef initially seemed to get the better of it, but Kato landed a couple hard strikes of his own. Good chin on Kato there. Manhoef landed an inside leg kick. Kato got i with a hard body kick and a counter-left over the top. After a slight break in action, Manhoef came back in with a body kick. Manhoef missed a strike, and Kato followed him to the cage. He landed several big strikes in combination. Manhoef covered up and fired back. Kato backed out, then came forward, and Manhoef dropped him with a perfect shot to the jaw. The ref stepped in without a follow up strike being thrown. Kato looked like he might have come to as he went down, but still a good stoppage off a perfect left hook to the jaw. They were both willing to throw and keep throwing until one of them went down, and Kato simply found himself on the wrong end of that.
WINNER: Manhoef via KO at 3:43 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**+) Fun stuff while it lasted. When they were exchanging they both left everything in there. Kato landed some decent strikes in those exchanges, but he played with fire and it cost him there. Another nice highlight for Manhoef, while it's an unfortunate setback for Kato.
That's all for Bellator tonight! Thanks for joining us here for this report, head over to Rich Hansen's WSOF 25 report as that card is kicking off on NBCSN! We'll be back tomorrow night as well for UFC Fight Night 78!
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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