BELLATOR 172 LIVE REPORT
FEBRUARY 18, 2017
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA AT THE SAP CENTER
LIVE ON BELLATOR.COM AND SPIKE TV
BREAKING: Tonight’s main event of Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione has been canceled due to Mitrione suffering from an illness. The new main event is Josh Thomson vs. Patricky Freire.
Bellator 172 comes to the SAP Center in San Jose, California. Tonight’s main event features the return of Fedor
Emelianenko. The legendary MMA fighter is making his Bellator debut after signing a multi-fight deal with the organization. The co-main event is a battle of lightweight contenders as Patricky Freire takes on Josh Thomson.
The four fight main card rounds out with veteran Cheick Kongo taking on Oli Thompson in a battle of heavyweights, and in the welterweight division Josh Koscheck makes his long awaited Bellator debut when he steps into the cage with Mauricio Alonso.
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 (6 p.m. CT)
The show starts with an update of the main event situation. Mitrione had been dealing with kidney stones throughout the week, but thought it would not be an issue. Fedor did not want to fight a replacement, which I can’t blame him for.
(1) Martin Sano (4-2) vs. Diego Herzog (4-2) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
ROUND ONE: Sano opens with a nice right hand. Herzog shoots and pushes Sano to the fence. Time is called for an illegal shot from Herzog. Sano takes a kick to the body. Herzog scores a double leg takedown. Sano tries working back to his feet and Herzog takes his back. Herzog is too high and Sano slips out the back door. Back to center. They trade shots. Herzog shoots again and scores another takedown. Herzog with ground and pound. He postures up, Sano turns and Herzog takes his back. Sano turns on his back and Herzog landing on top. Herzog in full mount reigniong down punches. Sano rolls to his stomach and Sano is trying to survive the round. He does.
ROUND TWO: They trade front kicks. Sano lands an inside leg kick. Herzog shoots and scores a takedown. Herzog has Sano pinned against the fence trying to better his positin. Sano works back to his feet. Sano clinches against the fence. He lands knees to the body and thigh of Herzog. Herzog switches position. Both fighters content with laying on each other while standing. Herzog breaks free. Sano pushes Herzog back against the fence. He throws short punches in the clinch. Sano lands to the body. They trade knees in the clinch. Nobody doing any damage. Back to center. Herzog lands a kick to the body as the round ends.
ROUND THREE: Sano pushes the pace to begin the round. He lands a nice combination. Both fighters throwing hands here. Sano gets the better of the exchanges. Sano pushes Herzog to the fence. Herzog shoots to no avail. Both fighters are exhausted. Herzog can’t even stand on his own he’s so gassed. He shoots and has no energy to get up. Sano has top position. Herzog grabs Sano’s ankles and holds on. The ref docks SAno one point for grabbing the fence. That’s huge. Sano needs a finish now. Both fighters are gassed and this is an ugly fight. Herzog taking the lay and pray approach and the ref stands them up. Sano with a takedown. Sano postures up and tries to land punches as the round ends.
Result: Majority Draw (28-27 Herzog, 28-28, 28-28)
Grocke’s Viewpoint: Sweet Jesus that was an awful fight. To say both fighters need to work on their cardio would be an understatement. Herzog literally couldn’t stand on his own two feet in the third round. A majority draw is fitting for that fight.
Chael Sonnen talks about the pain of kidney stones. He says Mitrione wanted to fight but Scott Coker put a stop to it. They then throw it to video package for Thomson, Freire.
(2) Abner Perez (0-0) vs. Gaston Bolanos (0-0) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
ROUND ONE: Bolanos misses with a right. Bolanos with a head kick just misses. Perez responds with low kicks. Bolanos pressing cutting off the cage. Perez circling. Perez with a nice kick but eats a hook on the way out. Bolanos looks much bigger than Perez. Bolanos getting frustrated with Perez for not engaging. Bolanos with a leg kick. Perez with a few wild shots and a kick that all misses. Bolanos lands a right. Bolanos catches a kick and scores a takedown. He lets Perez up. Bolanos continues to stalk while Perez circles. They both miss right hands. Bolanos lands a nice spinning back elbow. Left lands for Bolanos. A kick for Bolanos and a right hand. A big right hand floors Perez and Bolanos pounces. He takes his time and lands a few more punches to a grounded Perez and Big John stops it.
Result: Bolanos by TKO (4:53 of Round 1)
Grocke’s Viewpoint: That was a nice debut from Gaston Bolanos. Perez fought a frustrating style not really mounting much offense. I could see it was just a matter of time until Gaston figured out the timing.
They throw it to a live interview with Jenn Brown and Josh Koscheck. Koscheck admits this is his last contract and is happy to be back on Spike and with Bellator. He talks strategy for his fight against Alonso.
(3) JC Llamas (8-5) vs. James Terry (18-9) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
ROUND ONE: Terry presses early. Terry lands a nice combination. Llamas back peddles as Terry moves forward. Terry is just throwing one punch at a time as he stalks Llamas down. Llamas with a wild left hand. Front kick for Llamas. Terry lands a big left hook that cuts Llamas. Terry with a head kick and follows with a jab.Llamas throws a left and gets back on his horse. They trade punches. Terry misses a combination. Nice right lands for Llamas. Terry with level change but doesn’t have enough room for the takedown. Back to center. Llamas lands a big kick to tthe body as the round ends.
ROUND TWO: Terry continues to stalk Llamas down right as the round starts. Terry misses a head kick. Lamas blocks another attempt. Llamas lands a combination. Terry blocks an awkward back kick from Llamas. Terry lands a stiff jab. Terry has no respect for Llamas’ offense. Terry with a nice left hook after Llamas misses wildly. Nice counter right from Terry. It looks like Llamas is slowing down. Llamas misses with two left hooks. Terry misses a head kick. Llamas misses a left and eats a right hand from Terry. Llamas lands a left and Terry walks right through it. Llamas shoots for a single but can’t finish. Both fighters land wild punches.
ROUND THREE: They hug to open the last round. Llamas with a nice leg kick. Terry lands one of his own. Time is called after Llamas catches a finger in the eye. Replays show it was Terry’s left thumb. Ouch, that was nasty! Llamas taking a long time here. Chael Sonnen is encouraging fighters to be honest with doctors when it comes to eye pokes. The fight is waived off after Llamas can’t tell the doctor how many fingers he’s holding up. Sonnen commends the doctor inside the cage. I agree, that was a nasty poke.
Result: Terry by Technical Decision (Unintentional Eye-Poke)
Grocke’s Viewpoint: Terry was dominating the fight up until the eye poke. Llamas didn’t show much offense throughout the first two rounds and I didn’t expect that to change in the final round.
(4) Zack Andrews (3-0) vs. JJ Okanovich (3-1) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
ROUND ONE: Andrews shoots and scores a takedown. He works from side control. Okanovich works to his feet and is up. Andrews holds onto a guillotine back loses it. They scramble and Okanovich lands a big left hand. Andrews looking for a double leg but can’t finish it. Andrews holds onto a single leg and takes a few punches. Andrews wrestles Okanovich to the ground but he works back up. Andrews takes him back down. Andrews taking some damage trying for the takedowns. They scramble and Okanovich grabs the neck. ZHe loses it quickly and Andrews ends up on top. Okanovich reveres position and takes Andrew’s back. He has a body lock and lands punches as the round ends.
10-9 Okanovich in a very close round
ROUND TWO: They open trading jabs. Andrews has a cut on his hairline. Okanovich opening it up here in the second. Okanovich catches a kick, lands a big right hand and follows with a takedown. Okanovich looking for a side choke. Andrews scrambles out. Andrews grabs hold of the neck but Okanovich passes. Okanovich takes the back and has rear naked choke. Andrews taps.
Result: Okanovich by submission (2:26 of Round 2 – RNC)
Grocke’s Viewpoint: Andrews was so worried about defending the hooks that he left his neck open and paid for it. That was a good fight and Okanovich won a hard fought fight.
A video package airs of Cheick Kongo and Oli Thompson.
(5) Cesar Gonzalez (0-1) vs. Nikko Jackson (1-1) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
ROUND ONE: They trade jabs. Gonzalez lands a leg kick. Gonzalez takes center cage. Gonzalez goes to the body with a kick. Gonzalez clinches and works knees to the body. Jackson works his way off of the fence. Back to center. Gonzalez stalks. Jackson looking to counter. Jab lands for Jackson. Gonzalez clinches and lands to the body. Both fighters look to want keep the fight on the feet. Jackson looking for wrist control and he spins out. Back to center. Jackson lands some heavy kicks. Jackson goes to the ground and Gonzalez lets him back up. Jackson misses wildly. Gonzalez lands a front kick. Jackson lands some big knees in the clinch as the round ends.
10-9 Jackson in a very close round
ROUND TWO: A bro hug to start the round. They trade jabs. Gonzalez lands a leg kick. Jackson misses a knee. They trade punches. Jackson is much more aggressive in this round. Spinning back kick lands for Jackson. Gonzalez continues to press but isn’t landing much. When Jackson throws he lands but isn’t throwing enough. Jackson goes for a takedown but Gonzalez defends it well. Jackson lands knees in the clinch. Jackson over commits and gets taken down. Jackson in full guard. The ref stands them up after a moment of inactivity. Back to center. Gonzalez lands a big right hand over the top. Jackson tries to clinch as the round ends.
ROUND THREE: Bro hug to start the last round. They trade punches as the round gets going. Leg kick for Gonzalez. Jackson seems to be slowing down a bit while Gonzalez looks to fresh. Jackson lands a big left. Leg kick for Gonzalez. Another leg kick. Big left for Jackson as Gonzalez goes for another leg kick. Gonzalez lands a right hand. Jackson lands a left hook and follows with a right. Jackson’s punches are on point here. He’s landing the harder shots. Leg kick from Gonzalez hurts Jackson. Jackson lands a big right hand. Gonzalez has a great chin. Big combination from Jackson. Gonzalez comes back with another big leg kick. They throw hands with ten seconds to go both landing big shots. The horn sounds. Great fight!
Result: Jackson by UD (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Grocke’s Viewpoint: That was a fun fight. Both guys looked really good here. Both fighters are very early in their careers and both look to have what it takes to make some noise.
They throw it to Sonnen and Jenn Brown and they preview the main card.
Main Card – Spike TV (8:00 p.m. CT)
Sean Grande welcomes us to tonight’s event. He then covers the situation regarding the original main event. They quickly pivot to the Josh Thomson vs. Patricky Freire main event fight and preview both fighters. Talk then turns to Josh Koscheck. Chael Sonnen doesn’t agree with the 3-1 odds in Koscheck’s favor. He thinks this is a very dangerous fight for him. I agree.
Koscheck out to Lunatic Fringe, awesome!
(6) Josh Koscheck (17-10) vs. Mauricio Alonso (12-7) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
ROUND ONE: Koscheck runs across the cage as the fight starts. Leg kick for Alonso. Koscheck goes to the body with a jab. Combination misses for Koscheck. Alonso lands a nice right hand. Alonso misses with a combination. Koscheck with a jab. Koscheck misses a big left hook. Inside leg kick lands for Alonso. Big John warns of eye pokes. Nice combo for Koscheck. Alonso comes back with a big combination of his own. Jab for Alonso. Koscheck goes to the body with a punch. Big John warns Koscheck of extended fingers. Inside leg kick foe Alonso. Nice shot to the body for Koscheck. Jab an inside leg kick both lands for Alonso. Koscheck is hurt by a big right and. Koscheck looks hurt. Uppercut lands flush for Alonso and Koscheck goes down. Alonso pounces and lands a few hammer fists before Big John can stop the fight. It’s over.
Result: Alonso by TKO (4:42 of Round 1)
Grocke’s Viewpoint: I knew it! For those that follow my preview and prediction know I predicted an Alonso victory. Josh Koscheck is done and what a huge win for Mauricio Alonso. Alonso calls for peace in his post fight interview. He also talks about the day he started fighting and what this win means to him. Well done Alonso!
Jenn Brown introduces viewers to the Jordan Parsons Memorial Scholarship to J. Robinson Camp.
(7) Brook Mayo (0-0) vs. Veta Arteaga (2-1) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
ROUND ONE: Mayo misses a front kick. She misses a head kick. Mayo looks to have nervous energy. Arteaga lands a big right hand that puts Mayo on the mat. Mayo is up instantly and lands in the clinch. Mayo lands knees to the body. Mayo gets a takedown and takes the back. She has a RNC. Arteaga fights it off but is in trouble still. Mayo looks to transition to an arm bar. Arteaga is out and now has top position. She’s landing hammer fists from on top. Mayo scrambles and they are back to their feet. Center cage. They trade punches with nothing landing of significance. Mayo runds Arteaga to the fence and lands knees to the body. Time is called due to a nasty cut to Arteaga’s eye due to a head butt. Accidental head butt from Big John. Leg kick for Mayo. They both land hard right hands. Arteaga gets inside and finally does damage as the round ends.
ROUND TWO: Nice leg kick for Arteaga. Mayo misses a head kick. Arteaga looks to push the action and lands a few right hands. When Arteaga can get inside she does damage but Mayo is doing an excellent job keeping distance. They clinch against the fence. Mayo gets a takedown. Arteaga is able to reverse position and is on top. Mayo looks for a triangle while taking hammer fists. Mayo scrambles and both fighters are back to their feet. Arteaga lands a right and tries to clinch. Mayo pushes her out and scores a nice right.
ROUND THREE: Mayo misses with a head kick. They trade jabs. Spinning back fist for Arteaga. Nice front kick from Mayo. They clinch and Arteaga lands a nice knee and follows with a right hand over the top. Mayo pushes Arteaga against the fence and lands a knee to the body. Arteaga gets out and back to center cage. Arteaga lands big shots and another huge right hand. Mayo might be hurt as she shoots for a takedown and gets it. Mayo takes the back. and has two hooks in. Mayo landing shots to the side of Arteaga’s head. She goes for a RNC. Arteaga defends it and reverses position. Arteaga lets Mayo up. Nice jab for Mayo. Big John calls for time to check Mayo’s swollen shut eye. She is pleading with the doctor to let her keep fighting. She’s screaming she can see. Holy hell that eye looks bad. The doctor calls a halt to the fight and I agree with it.
Result: Arteaga by TKO (4:04 of Round 3)
Grocke’s Viewpoint: That was good fight. I feel for Brook Mayo but the doctor definitely made the right call by stopping it.
(8) Francisco France (13-4-1) vs. Anatoly Tokov (24-3) – Middleweight 185 lbs
ROUND ONE: A kick misses for France. Tokov lands a straight right. Tokov clinches and lands an uppercut. He has France backed to the fence. France looking for a trip but Tokov gets the takedown. He works from side control. France gets to full guard. France goes for a triangle but doesn’t have it. Tokov not doing much from top position. France goes for an arm bar. He transitions to a triangle but Tokov scrambles out. France works from the clinch and tries for a takedown. Tokov fights him off as the round ends.
10-9 France in a close round
ROUND TWO: Something tells me Tokov will do everything he can to keep the fight standing. The Diaz brothers are shown in the crowd. Tokov throws a combination but doesn’t land. Tokove lands and goes for a clinch. France reverses against the fence. France goes for a takedown but ends up on bottom. Tokov stands and kicks France low. Time is called as France recovers. Replays show that was a direct hit! Back to action. France lands a combination but slips and Tokov lands on top. Big right hand from Tokov on top position. France is hurt. Tokov lands huge right hands to France’s head, France covers and the fight is called off.
Result: Tokov by TKO (2:24 of Round 2)
Grocke’s Viewpoint: Big win for Tokov. France was done after the first right hand landed flush. I figured he would want to avoid going to the ground with France but he won the fight on the mat. Well done. Tokov came off as very shy in his post fight interview. Fedor who is Tokov’s coach talks about how ready he was for tonight’s fight against Matt Mitrione and is looking forward to it getting rescheduled as soon as possible.
Jenn Brown conducts a live backstage interview with Josh Thomson. Thomson talks about strategy and how happy he is to be fighting in the shark tank.
(9) Cheick Kongo (25-10-2) vs. Oli Thompson (17-9) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.
ROUND ONE: Thompson opens with a leg kick. Another leg kick for Thompson. A left for Thompson as Kongo misses with a right. Kongo misses a jab. Kongo with a leg kick as Thompson lands a right. Thompson lands a big right and Kongo clinches. Kongo working for wrist control. Kongo lands a knee low and time is called. Thompson is good to go. Nice jab from Kongo. Kongo with a level change and scores a takedown. Kongo looking to land his ground and pound. Big right hand for Kongo. Oli works back to his feet. They trade knees in the clinch. Kongo landing big knees in the clinch and it looks like Oli is hurt but the round ends.
ROUND TWO: Right hand lands for Thompson. Oli clinches and works knees and foot stomps against the fence. They trade short right hands in the clinch. Kongo reverses position and goes for a double and gets the takedown. Kongo with knees to Oli’s thigh. Kongo trying to land ground and pound but Thompson defending well. Kongo working the body. More ground and pound. Thompson tries to kick him off unsuccessfully. Kongo swarming Thompson here. Big round for Cheick.
Phil Davis is shown in the crowd.
ROUND THREE: Thompson went for a touch of the gloves and Kongo blew him off. Kongo clinches against the fence and scores with a double leg takedown. More ground and pound from Kongo. Oli has mounted zero offense. Did I mention Kongo is landing ground and pound? He is still. Two minutes to go and it’s all Kongo and all ground and pound. Kongo in full mount landing hammer fists. Kongo postures up and lands big right hands. The fight ends with, yep you guessed it, more ground and pound.
Result: Kongo by UD (30-26, 30-25, 30-25)
Grocke’s Viewpoint: That was a dominating performance turned in by Cheick Kongo. He has excellent ground control so if he gets you to the mat he’s very difficult to beat. It’s been three years since he’s fought for the heavyweight title, it’s time he gets another shot.
Tito Ortiz is shown sitting with Royce Gracie, then Benson Henderson is shown next.
Jenn Brown previews The Kalief Browder Story, a 6 part documentary event beginning Wed March 1 10/9c. Clips from the documentary are shown.
One last video package of Josh Thomson and Patricky Freire is shown.
(10) Josh Thomson (22-8) vs. Patricky Freire (16-8) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
ROUND ONE: Low kick for Thomson to start. Thomson misses with another kick. Front kick is blocked by Pitbull. Overhand right misses for Pitbull. Thomson misses with a leg kick. Pitbull lands a leg kick of his own. Slow start. Pitbull connects with a combination. Leg kick for Thomson as Pitbull lands a right hand. Pitbull lands a huge overhand right that drops Thomson. Pitbull can’t capitalize and Thomson pops back up. Pitbull misses with a combination, Thomson tries to clinch but Pitbull pushes him off. Left hand for Pitbull as he blocks a head kick. Pitbull gaining confidence and starts to drop his hands as the y circle. The round ends.
ROUND TWO: Kick to the body for Thomson. Leg kick for Pitbull. A left hand drops Thomson. Thomson is down but gets back up. Thomson shoots and is caught by a short right hand that puts Thomson down again and he is out. Freire follows up with two unnecessary hammer fists and Big John steps in.
Result: Freire by TKO (0:40 of Round 2)
Grocke’s Viewpoint: Well color me surprised, I didn’t see that coming. I really liked Thomson coming into this fight and thought he would do well against Freire. I wasn’t high on Pitbull, this fight might force me to take another look at him as a fighter. He showed excellent patience and quickness. This was a big win for him.
While we didn’t get the main event we thought we were getting, I thought this was a good night of fights. Bellator was in a tough position with Mitrione having to pull out of his fight. Chael Sonnen who handled commentary on tonight’s broadcast was said to have offered to step in and take the fight. While I would have loved to see that happen, I understand Fedor not wanting to take it.
Thanks for joining me tonight. Follow me on Twitter @FightChampBlog.