BELLATOR 171 LIVE REPORT
JANUARY 27, 2017
MULVANE, KANSAS AT THE KANSAS STAR ARENA
LIVE ON BELLATOR.COM AND SPIKE TV
Bellator 171 is live from Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas. The main event features rising welterweight Chidi Njokuani taking on UFC veteran Melvin Guillard. The co-main takes place in the lightweight division as hometown favorite David Rickels takes on Aaron Derrow.
The four-fight main card rounds out with rising star AJ McKee Jr. taking on Brandon Phillips in a battle of featherweights and on the women’s side we go to the flyweight division with Jessica Middleton going up against Alice Yauger.
As always, I’ll have live round by round coverage of tonight’s main fights, with quick results and commentary on the prelims. Make sure to follow along right here all night, and follow me on Twitter @FightChampBlog
Prelims – Bellator.com (7/6 p.m. CT)
(1) Bruna Ellen (2-1) vs. Carmela James (0-0) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
Result: Ellen by UD (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Grocke’s Viewpoint: Ellen looked like a different fighter tonight. She handled Carmela James handily. This was a really good performance.
(2) Jarod Trice (1-0) vs. Kevin Woltkamp (0-2) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.
Result: Trice by TKO ( 3:17 of Round 2)
Grocke’s Viewpoint: That was all Jarod Trice. Woltkamp was barely fighting back during the second round. Trice seemed to struggle with his cardio so that might be an area of his game to keep an eye on as he moves up the ladder.
(3) Tyrell Fortune (1-0) vs. Will Johnson (0-0) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.
Result: Fortune by TKO (4:27 of Round 2)
Grocke’s Viewpoint: Will Johnson did a great job weathering the early onslaught of Fortune when the fight started. Fortune came close to getting a stoppage within the first minute of the first round, after that it was all Johnson. Two low blows cost him the round. Fortune and his wrestling skills took over in round two as he ground and pounded Johnson en route to getting the stoppage. It was definitely a questionable stoppage by the ref in my opinion.
(4) Jordan Young (5-0) vs. Chris Harris (8-0) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Result: Young by UD (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Grocke’s Viewpoint: The first round went to Young. He did more damage on the feet and scored with multiple takedowns. Young did an excellent job keeping Harris at distance. It looked like Jordan Young came into the fight looking to counter strike but his confidence grew in the second round and he became the more aggressive fighter. The third round was much of the same with Young dominating. I’ll say this, Chris Harris can take some punishment.
(5) Gaston Reyno (6-1) vs. Justin Overton (3-2) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Result: Overton by submission (0:34 of Round 2 – RNC)
Grocke’s Viewpoint: The first round was all Justin Overton. Reyno spent the first half of the round avoiding getting subbed. Overton worked for the sub the entire round. Overton came out and tagged Reyno with a big right hand to start the round, he got the RNC locked in and Reyno went out before tapping. That was big upset if you look at the odds, but that was a dominate performance from Justin Overton.
Main Card – Spike TV (9/8:00 p.m. CT)
(6) AJ McKee Jr. (6-0) vs. Brandon Phillips (6-2) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
ROUND ONE: McKee comes out and lands a big side kick that stuns Phillips. McKee mixing it up with kicks and punches nicely. They circle right. McKee with a kick to the body. McKee lands a combination. Phillips with a leg kick. Phillips lands a counter strike. McKee misses a front kick and Phillips responds with a leg kick. They trade kicks. McKee scores with a nice jab. Straight right for McKee. They trade kicks. Phillips with a nice overhand right. Phillips lands a nice counter strike as the round ends.
ROUND TWO: Side kick for McKee. McKee lands a left . McKee goes back to the body with a kick. Phillips misses with a combination. A kick to Phillip’s head lands for McKee. A little taunting between the two. McKee with another kick to the body. They trade punches and McKee goes to the head with a kick that’s partially blocked. They both miss jabs. Phillips lands right hand, McKee goes for a double but doesn’t finish it. They trade jabs. McKee misses with a knee to the body. Phillips trying to cut the cage off. The two start trading punches as the round ends.
10-9 McKee. Not much damage done but he’s beating Phillips to the punch and scoring with kicks.
ROUND THREE: A close, competitive fight entering the last round. They come out and trade jabs. Phillips goes to the body with a right hand. McKee comes back with a kick to the body. Phillips is looking to cut the cage off as he follows McKee around. McKee scores with a takedown. The first for either fighter. Phillips throws McKee off and gets back to his feet. Time is called as McKee takes one low. A punch no less. McKee misses two straight head kicks. McKee goes to the head with a kick again that’s partially blocked. They trade punches. Phillips trying to initiate the action late in the third round. Nice combination for McKee. Phillips misses to the body. Phillips lands a left. McKee with a takedown and finishes with ground and pound as the fight ends.
Result: McKee by UD (19-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Grocke’s Viewpoint: Phillips fought a really good fight. I was impressed with his performance. McKee was just the more technical striker and scored with few takedowns too. That’s two straight fights that have gone the distance for McKee. While he might not have looked as impressive in this fight as he has in others, he’s still learning and is a future star in the sport.
(7) Jessica Middleton (1-0) vs. Alice Yauger (4-4) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
ROUND ONE: Inside leg kick for Middleton to start. Front kick for Middleton catches Yauger off balance as she stumbles back. Middleton with another leg kick. They trade big rights hands. Middleton with a leg kick and follows witha nice jab. Middleton misses a spinning back fist. Yauger in retreat mode. They trade kicks. Yauger misses a combination. A big left lands for Middleton. All of Yauger’s strikes are falling just short. Nice jab from Yauger. They trade right hands. Nice left from Yauger after Middleton misses a kick. Yauger follows with a nice right. They trade punches as the round ends.
10-9 Middleton but not convincingly.
ROUND TWO: They trade leg kicks. Middleton misses a big overhand right. Middleton continues to pressure. Yauger goes to the body but then eats a big right hand. They clinch against the fence. Middleton lands against the fence. Middleton lands a big shot. Yauger is a bloody mess. They trade jabs. Middleton with a huge right. They trade leg kicks. Yauger taking serious punishment here. Middleton staying patient. Goes to the leg with a kick. Yauger still trying to fight back. More kicks from both women. They trade jabs with Yauger getting the worse of it. Middleton lands a big overhand right as the round ends.
10-9 Middleton. I hope Yauger’s corner ends the fight. She’s taking a ton of damage.
ROUND THREE: Yauger answers the bell for round three unfortunately. Yauger scores a takedown and has side control. She has Middleton against the fence and starts to land round and pound. Milldleton slips out and takes Yauger’s back. She has both hooks in. She’s in dominant position. Yauger looks exhausted. Middleton looking for the RNC. Yauger fights it off. Middleton staying calm and collected as she works for the sub. Yaugder turns into Middleton and lands a few hammer fists as the fight ends.
Result: Middleton by UD (29-28, 30-26, 30-26)
Grocke’s Viewpoint: Let me just say, kudos to Alice Yauger for finishing that fight. For this being only her second fight, Jessica Middleton looked like a vet out there. She remained calm and didn’t force things while hunting for the submission in the last round. Her striking was crisp and she demonstrated great poise. Excellent performance.
(8) David Rickels (17-4) vs. Aaron Derrow (14-8) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
ROUND ONE: They come out swinging. Rickels catches Derrow with a right that hurts him. Rickels scores a takedown and has top control. Rickels stands while Derrow stays on his back. Rickels lands from the feet. He’s back to top control working ground and pound. Rickels stands. Derrow trying to fend him off with upkicks. Rickels lands double hammer fists. Back to top control landing ground and pound. He stands again. Big punch to the body. Back to top control and more ground and pound. Not quite sure what Derrow strategy is here. Derrow gets back to his feet, shoots in and scores a takedown. He has top control with under a minute to go. Rickels landing elbows from bottom as the round ends.
ROUND TWO: Derrow shooots looking for a takedown but is stuffed. They clinch against the fence and Rickels lands a big combination. Back to center octagon. Rickels catches Derrow with a another big shot that puts Derrow down again. Rickels landing big punches on top. Rickels stands and Derrow tries upkicks to no avail. Rickels back on top landing ground and pound. Huge elbows from Rickels. Big elbow to the body follows to the head. Derrow is a bloody mess. Derrow not mounting any offense whatsoever. More ground and pound. Rickels back to his feet as the round ends.
10-8 Rickels. This is a mauling.
ROUND THREE: Rickels misses a head kick. They clinch against the fence. Rickels lands another big punch that puts Derrow down against the fence. Rickels lands a few more big shots, Derrow isn’t defending himself and the fight is mercifully stopped.
Result: Rickels by TKO (0:44 of Round 3)
Grocke’s Viewpoint: That was a pummeling. That was about as one sided a fight as you’re going to see. Derrow should not have come out for the third round. He took a ton of damage. Rickels definitely gave the Kansas crowd what they came to see.
(9) Melvin Guillard (32-16) vs. Chidi Njokuani (16-4) – Catchweight 175 lbs.
ROUND ONE: The size difference between these two is unbelievable. Both fighters start out slowly, feeling each other out. Big John calls time and tells them to go after each other. They clinch against the fence. Njokuani lands knees to Guillard’s thigh. Time is called after Njokuani goes low. Guillard scores a takedown. Njokuani flings Guillard off and is back up. Center cage. Njokuani lands a kick to the body. Guillard runs Njokuani to the fence and scores a takedown. Njokuani reverses and lands punches against the cage. Time is called as Njokuani lands an illegal knee. Njokuani misses a kick to the head. Njokuani working a lot of kicks. Guillard clinches against the fence. Njokuani reverses position and the round ends.
ROUND TWO: Quick jab from Njokuani. Njokuani misses two quick lefts. Njokuani scores a takedown. He works to better his position. Njokuani spins and takes the back. Guillard explodes up and is out. They clinch against the fence. Guillard goes for a spinning back fist, loses his balance and ends up on bottom. Njokuani works ground and pound with Guillard up against the fence. Guillard covers, taking some serious damage. Guillard sits up against the fence. Big John Stands them up. Center cage. Guillard blocks a kick. Big kick to the body lands clean for Njokuani that hurts Guillard. Njokuani runs him to the fence as the round ends.
ROUND THREE: Njokuani lands a big kick and clinches against the fence. He whips Guillard to the mat for a takedown. Njokuani works ground and pound from top position. Guillard hasn’t mounted a lick of offense in this entire fight. I’m amazed Njokuani hasn’t been able to finish him. Njokuani is basically just laying on top of Guillard. He stands and Guillard tries fending him off with upkicks. Njokuani dives back on top and works more ground and pound. Under a minute left and Guillard is just hoping to survive the round. Back to center cage. A big kick lands for Njokuani. Guillard scores a takedown and takes Njokuani’s back as the fight ends.
Result: Njokuani by UD (30-25, 30-24, 30-26)
Grocke’s Viewpoint: Njokuani dominated that entire fight. It looked like Guillard wanted to be anywhere else but in that cage with Njokuani. I still can’t believe the fight went the distance. Njokuani continues his climb up the ladder with a dominate performance. As for Melvin Guillard, it just doesn’t look like he has anything left. He’ll probably continue to get booked by Bellator, but his days of being a draw or a contender are long gone.
That’ll do it for me. Thanks for following along and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @FightChampBlog