Nearly nine years after their first meeting, Ryan Bader took revenge and took a step towards regaining his light heavyweight title.
In the planned five-round opening of the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix, Bader and Lyoto Machida met in the Bellator 256 Main Event Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. A career in Machida that took place at UFC on FOX 4 in August 2012, with a dominant unanimous decision win.
Machida kicked the reigning heavyweight champion with his first leg kicks, followed by a heavy kick to the body. Bader, looking for opportunities, rushed into the attack from the right and delivered another powerful blow to the stomach. Machida remained calm and calculating, cutting through Bader’s ribs. It was less than a minute before Bader struck a hard blow with his right hand, and then a short left. Machida responds with a high kick and a bouncing knee, which caused Bader to start looking for a takedown when the bell rang.
Both fighters exchanged blows to start the second, Machida looked as relaxed as ever. Machida kept hitting first before Bader pounced and took a major takedown with just under two minutes remaining in the round. Bader’s short punches as Machida tried to get to his feet, to no avail. Continuous left hands from Bader land to complete the stanza.
Machida scored with a kick to the head to start the third round, but Bader showed a little more leg confidence before knocking down Machida. From above, Bader threw hammers at Machida, who began wearing injuries to his face, heading for the championship round.
Smelling blood, Bader came out aggressively on the fourth touchdown and then threw Machida back with four minutes before work. He strangled Machida on the mat with short punches and elbows.
It felt like the beginning of the fifth and final round, as Bader quickly defeated Machida with a hard hit to the body that changed the expression on the former UFC champion’s face. Bader continued to use strong top pressure and effective ground and pound. Machida elbowed from behind and cut his opponent’s forehead, but the final 20 minutes of the fight belonged to Bader, who returned to the win column after losing his light heavyweight title to Vadim Nemkov in August at Bellator 244.
With the victory, Bader advances to the second round of the Grand Prix and will face the winner of the Bellator 257 match between Corey Anderson and Dovletjan Yagshimuradov.
Liz Carmouche points Vanessa Porto improve Bellator’s record to 2-0
Liz Carmouche welcomed highly acclaimed Vanessa Porto to the Bellator cage for the co-main event. Both queens used a lot of kicks at the start of the first round, Carmouche landed a little more and changed positions quite often in the first two minutes of the fight. The sensation process continued until the last minute, when the Porto began to open, striking hard kicks on the leg and body of Carmos. Porto counted on a takedown in the last seconds before the bell rang.
Carmouche landed a hard left hand early in the second round and pushed Porto into the fence. The former UFC title challenger will run under the hook while landing with his knees to the body. Carmouche fell to the single and Porto tried to block the throttle before being knocked out, albeit perhaps two seconds later. The clinch continued and Carmos scored a goal from his knees to the hips before Porto could split. Both women exchanged kicks to the legs and body in the last minute of the round, and Karmush landed more often.
Porto had hoped to change the pace in the third, but Carmos handled the miss well and landed on short counterattacks. Carmouche then increased her aggressiveness and volume in the final seconds of the fight on her way to a unanimous decision victory.
Adam Borix uses effective jabs, kicks to survive Jeremy Kennedy
Jeremy Kennedy entered the Bellator cage for the second time against Adam Boriks in a duel that thrilled hardcore fans. After the patient approach of both fighters in the beginning, Kennedy tried to bring the fight to the carpet. They tried to position themselves against the fence before Kennedy landed with a knee below the waist, forcing the fight to stop quickly. When action resumed, Borix landed a couple of hard kicks in Kennedy’s calf. The counter-right hand from the Borics lands clean. Kennedy responded with a jab and a quick takedown. At the end of the round, Boriks got to his feet again.
Kennedy came out a little more aggressive in the second, while Borix continued to effectively counterattack. Boris’s nose was bleeding, who often used a handsome jab to score points in the second round. Kicking and kicking were the weapon of choice for Boris, who then tried to fly with his knee, but could not stand it, much to the delight of both athletes. Borix struck hard in the last seconds of a stanza that caught Kennedy’s attention.
In the third round, Boriks knocked Kennedy back with a kick and found himself on top. Kennedy looked for a way to get by and made his move mid-round. A little over a minute remained, and Kennedy knocked Boriks down, and the Hungarian fighter spent the rest of the fight trying to get to his feet on the wall, preventing Kennedy’s horse from doing so when the last bell rang. All three judges rated it in favor of Borics, and one judge gave an unconditional assessment to Sanford MMA.
Zingano the cat receives its first finish in over six years
Former UFC title contender Kat Zingano competed for the second time at Bellator against Tennessee’s Olivia Parker. Zingano finished the fight in less than a minute, quickly moving into midfield. Zingano went to full installation and had about three minutes to go. Parker abandoned her and was able to return to the top position. Zingano immediately tried to turn on the tap.
It was Zingano’s first finish since stopping Amanda Nunez at UFC 178 in September 2014.
Dan Moret upsets Goichi Yamauchi by controversial split decision
In the main opening of the Goichi card, Yamauchi welcomed UFC veteran Dan Moret to the promotion. About a minute after the start of the first round, Moret got a strong combination that briefly dropped Yamauchi. Moret showed his veteran savvy even before Yamauchi attempted the flying knee, which Moret turned into a takedown. Yamauchi took Moret’s back while standing with two hooks, working with the kimura’s grip. Moret was able to knock his opponent back and end the round with hammer fists.
In the second round, Yamauchi quickly made a beautiful takedown and went into side control. Moret kicked off the fence to climb to his feet until Yamauchi grabbed his neck and then turned back to his back. The 28-year-old Brazilian dragged More onto the carpet with both hooks, and this has been the way for the round for the last 90 seconds.
In the final round, both athletes fought for positions, mostly in a clinch at the fence. Moret was constantly looking for separation while Yamauchi worked on a takedown attempt. As Yamauchi searched for a hip jump, Moret found himself at the top with just over a minute left. Moret tried everything he could to land and hit, but Yamauchi worked to his advantage, ending up on Moret’s back until the last call. In the end, two out of three judges rated him in Moret’s favor, ending Yamauchi’s streak of three fights.
See the full Bellator 256 results below:
Ryan Bader, def. Lyoto Machida by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-45, 49-45)
Liz Carmush, def. Vanessa Porto via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Adam Borix, def. Jeremy Kennedy by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Cat Zingano def. Olivia Parker with a painful hold (on the arm) – 1st round, 2:56
Dan Moret, def. Goichi Yamauchi by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Dalton Growth def. Tony Johnson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Talita Nogueira def. Jessica Borga via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
Jornel Lugo def. Cass Bell by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Cody Lowe def. Nathan Garib by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jylon Bates, def. Jeffrey Glossner submission (guillotine) – Round 2, 1:27
Nainoa Dung def. Izzy William via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Diana Avsaragova, def. Tara Graff by knockout (punch) – 1 round, 0:29
John Doom def. Will Smith by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)