GROCKE’S BELLATOR 178 LIVE REPORT 4/21: Freire vs. Straus, Middleton vs. Macfarlane, Mazzotta vs. McKee, Quinn vs. Awad

APRIL 21, 2017


Bellator MMA returns to the States for Bellator 178. The event takes place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut and features the long awaited return of Daniel Straus. Straus will put his featherweight title on the line when he faces long-time rival Patricio Freire in the main event.

The co-main event takes us to the women’s flyweight division where either Jessica Middleton or Ilima-Lei Macfarlane will suffer their first defeat. The main card rounds out with the undefeated AJ McKee taking on Dominic Mazzotta and Saad Awad vs. Ryan Quinn.

I’ll have round by round coverage of tonight’s main card. Make sure to follow along right here all night, and follow me on Twitter @FightChampBlog

Jenn Brown welcomes viewers to the broadcast and goes right into previewing the main event between Daniel Straus and Pitbull. She then runs down the rest of the main card. Afterwards she throws it to Jimmy Smith and Sean Grande as we get started with the prelims.


(1) Branko Busick (0-0) vs. Tyrell Fortune (2-0) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Fortune takes center cage and misses with a kick. They trade punches and separate quickly. Busick is warned for having his fingers extended. Nice left lands for Fortune. Busick trying to keep distance as Fortune closes. They clinch against the cage and Fortune lands some nice knees to the body. They separate and circle left. Jab lands for Busick and he clinches. He lands some rights to Fortune’s mid section. Fortune pushes Busick off. Leg kick for lands for Fortune. Fortune clinches and lands to the body with a punch and knees. He runs Busick to the fence. Busick gets off the fence but still tied up. Fortune landing big knees to the body and follows up with an elbow. Another knee to the body as the round ends.

10-9 Fortune

ROUND TWO: Fortune bounces lightly on his toes to start the round. Busick runs Fortune to the fence and Fortune lands a knee low. Time is called. Back to action Fortune lights Busick up with a stiff jab. He lands a right and clinches. More knees land to Busick’s ribs. Fortune applies pressure against the fence. More knees and another one lands low. Time is called. A point is deducted. Three minutes to go and Busick lands a big jab that hurts Fortune. Fortune shoots and Busick sprawls nicely. Both fighters back up and Busick has Fortune against the fence. Fortune lands more knees with his back to the fence. Fortune reverses and is applying more pressure. They separate and Fortune lands a jab. Nice combination from Fortune. Busick’s pace has slowed considerably. Busick misses a jab and Fortune shoots. Busick defends it. Busick landing right hands to the body in the clinch as the round ends.


ROUND THREE: Jab lands for Fortune to start the round. Busick goes to the body with a right hand. Busick with a nice combination. He runs Fortune tot the fence and lands a few rights to the body. Fortune circles out and back to center. Big jab lands for Fortune and drives Busick to the fence. Busick reverses and lands rights to Fortune’s mid section. Fortune reverses and lands a big right hand. Busick is bleeding from the left eye. Fortune keeps the pressure on against the fence. He lands a few knees. Busick tries to escape but Fortune keeps the pressure on against the fence. Short lefts land to Busick’s body and he follows with more knees. Busick spins out momentarily but Fortune has him back against the fence. Busick escapes but can’t do anything as the fight ends.

10-9 Fortune

Result: Fortune by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27) 

Grocke’s Viewpoint: Fortune was pushed harder in this fight than he expected. Busick showed some real toughness here. Fortune landed big knees throughout the fight and basically won the fight in the clinch. He didn’t use his wrestling which surprised me but all in all a good performance.

(2) David Mundell (6-2) vs. Ed Ruth (2-0) – Middleweight 185 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Ruth cuts off the cage and pushes Mundell to the fence. Ruth takes the back and scores a take down. Mundell is up briefly but is taken right back down. Ruth lands lefts to the body from top position. Ruth postures up and lands lefts to the side of Mundell’s head. Ruth showing patience here and almost gets to full mount. Back to half guard. Mundell appears to be content to wait for the round to end. Ruth in full mount reigning down punches. Mundell gets back to his feet somehow and is taken down like a rag doll. Ruth landing big left hands. Mundell works back up and is taken down again. Ruth dropping bombs as the round ends.

10-8 Ruth

ROUND TWO: Mundell misses with a jab. Ruth lands a nice combination and follows with two rights. Mundell misses with a jab again. Ruth shoots and scores an easy take down. He has one hook in. Mundell scrambles and is up. Mundell misses with a wild left and is taken down again. Ruth in side control. He steps over and takes the back. He’s landing big left hands to the side of Mundell’s head. Mundell works back to his feet and Ruth lands a big knee and Mundell crumples into a heap and the ref stops it immediately.

Result: Ruth by TKO (3:13 of Round 2)

Grocke’s Viewpoint: That was a total wipe out. Ruth has looked fantastic so far and it’s time to give him a little stiffer competition.

Jenn Brown interviews Michael Chandler and he talks about his fight against Brent Primus.

(3) Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Tim Caron (6-0) – Catchweight 195 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Leg kick lands for Caron. He lands another one. Nice left from Caron and follows up with a leg kick. Slow start for Jordan Young. Caron with another leg kick. Young just misses with a right. Caron goses to the body with a kick and Young misses with a left hand. Caron just misses with a head kick. Very little offense from Young. Caron with a leg kick. Young is the aggressor here but Caron is the one landing. Big overhand right lands for Young and Caron is hurt. Young pounces and takes his back. He has a d’arce choke and Caron taps quickly.

Result: Young by submission (3:55 of Round 1 – D’Arce Choke)

Grocke’s Viewpoint: Well that came out of nowhere. Young looked disinterested and wasn’t doing much of anything until a huge overhand right dropped Caron. He slipped the choke in quickly which was impressive. Nice win.

(4) Thomas English (6-6) vs. Blair Tugman (8-6) – Featherweight 145 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Tugman opens with a wild leg kick. They trade punches at center cage. English misses with a jab and eats a right from Tugman. Both guys looking a little tight to start. Tugman lands a leg kick and eats a left hand from Tugman. Leg kick lands for English. English with a left. Both guys keeping distance and landing from the outside. Tugman is the aggressor but both fighters landing. English lands a combination as Tugman goes for a leg kick. English doing a good job countering. Tugman misses a big overhand right. English lands a nice left hand. Tugman shoots in and English stuffs it. Tugman has English pinned to the fence and finally scores a take down.

10-9 Tugman but I can see it going either way

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves. Tugman misses with a leg kick. Jab lands for English. Another jab for English. Tugman shoots but is stuffed. Tugman runs English to the fence and scores a take down. Tugman landing short ppunches from on top. Tugman tries to pass guard and lands more ground and pound. English is just hanging on not looking to score from bottom. Tugman goes north south and looks for a choke. Back to side and English walks over but Tugman hangs on. Tugman in full mount. He postures up and lands a few punches. English is content to just hang on as the round ends.

10-9 Tugman

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves. Flying kick misses badly for English. Nice left lands for English just as Tugman shoots in and scores a take down. Tugman gets around the guard and is content to hold side control. Tugman looking for  a D’Arce choke. He abandons it and lands elbows to English’s body. English tries to buck him off unsuccessfully. Big John tells them to work. Nice step over into full mount for Tugman. Ground and pound for Tugman. Tugman postures up and lands a few more punches. He works in a rear naked choke with ten seconds left and gets the tap.

Result: Tugman by submission (4:54 of Round 3 – rear naked choke)

Grocke’s Viewpoint: Good fight. Tugman wasn’t going to be denied the submission. He thoroughly dominated the last two rounds. Fun fight.

(5) Nick Alley (1-0) vs. Kastroit Xhema (0-0) – Catchweight 165 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Alley lands a leg kick and a left hand to start. Xhema comes back with a big left hand. Xhema throwing bombs and landing left hands and kicks. He follows up with a big elbow. Alley is just trying to hang on here. Alley seems to have weathered the storm or Xhema has punched himself out. They separate and Xhema lands a big left. Both fighters are bloody. Alley eats another straight left. Xhema lands a huge left hand and Alley goes down. Xhema looks to pounce and he lands an elbow and the fight is stopped before Nick Alley can take more damage.

Result: Xhema by KO (3:19 of Round 1)

Grocke’s Analysis: That was an exciting fight! Both guys came out looking to throw hands and it came down to who landed first. Impressive debut from Xhema.

Main Card

Sean Grande and Jimmy Smith welcome viewers to the event. They immediately go into a preview of the main event. They then go right into the first fight of the night.

(6) Dominic Mazzotta (11-1) vs. AJ McKee (7-0) – Featherweight 145 lbs.

ROUND ONE: McKee takes center cage. Kick to the body lands for Mazzotta. McKee closes distance and lands to the body. McKee blocks a head lick. McKee They circle and both fighters are at center cage. McKee lands a huge head kick and Mazzotta goes down. McKee throws a hammer punch onto a fallen Mazzotta even though Mazzotta is out and the ref jumps in.

Result: McKee by KO (1:15 of Round 1)

Grocke’s Analysis: Holy crap! I absolutely love watching AJ McKee fight. Mazzotta partially blocked that head kick but id didn’t matter. Explosive! He calls James Gallagher “baby girl” and says let’s get it. A highlight wheel knockout to get the night started. 

(7) Ryan Quinn (13-6-1) vs. Saad Awad (19-9) – Catchweight 165 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Head misses for Awad. Quinn blocks another one. A short right drops Quinn but he’s up quickly. Awad scores a take down and looks for a choke. He starts landing some ground and pound. He continues to work for a submission. Quinn slips out and is up. Back to center. Awad is holding his hands low. Quinn shoots and scores a take down. Awad scrambles but Quinn slips in a choke. Awad turns and is out. Both fighters stand. Quinn shoots again and pins Awad against the fence. Awad spins out. Quinn shoots and Awad catches him around the neck. Both fighters back up. They trade left hands. Quinn runs Awad to the fence. Quinn looks for a take down. They scramble as the round ends.

10-9 Awad

ROUND TWO: Quinn tries to close distance and misses with a right hand. Quinn shoots and scores a take down. He takes the back. Awad doing a good job staying calm. Quinn looks for a neck crank. He has both hooks in and tries to stretch him out. Awad turns and reverses position. Awad working from top position now ans landing some ground and pound. NIce right hand lands flush for Awad from on top. Awad hesitates and Quinn reverses positron and has top position. Awad back on top now. Excellent ground work from both fighters. Awad landing short elbows from on top. Awad in side control. He transitions to full mount and lands heavy ground and pound as the round ends.

10-9 Awad

ROUND THREE: Front kick lands for Awad. Quinn ducks a punch and shoots for a take down. Quinn takes the back but Awad scrambles out. Back to the feet at center. Awad lands a big right hand. Quinn shoots again and has Awad against the fence. Awad reverses and takes over top position. Awad looking for an arm bar. He doesn’t have it. Awad landing ground and pound from on top. He takes Quinn’s back. Quinn stands. Awad gives it up and back to center. Quinn tries for a throw but Awad lands on top. He tries to take the back but Quinn rolls through. Awad holds on to top position. Quinn rolls again but can’t break free. Awad finishes the fight riding Quinn’s back.

10-9 Awad

Result: Awad by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Grocke’s Analysis: A pretty dominant performance from Saad Awad. He out wrestled the wrestler in this one. He spent the majority of the fight in top position and was never really in trouble at any point. 

(8) Jessica Middleton (2-0) vs. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (5-0) – Flyweight 125 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Macfarlane runs out of her corner to meet Middleton across the cage. Middletone lands a kick and follows with a nice left. Macfarlane runs Middleton to the fence and works for a take down. She gets it. Macfarlane has a crucifix and lands short left hands. Macfarlane steps over and goes for an arm bar. This is bad. Middletone fights it, but has to tap.

Result: Macfarlane by submission (2:15 of Round 1 – armbar)

Grocke’s Analysis: No surprise here. Honestly, the biggest surprise is how flexible Middleton is in order to fight that arm bar for as long as she did. Another excellent showing from Macfarlane. Macfarlane says this is her division. 

(9) Daniel Straus (23-6) vs. Patricio Freire (25-4) – Featherweight 145 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Pitbull opens with a big right hand. Inside leg kick lands flush for Straus. Straus misses with a right. Pitbull with a straight right lands and Straus misses with one of his own. Pitbull much more patient so far in this fight. Straus not getting off early here. Leg kick lands flush to the body of Straus. Front kick miises for Straus but he lands a straight left. Straus pins Pitbull against the fence but Pitbull reverses position. Straus misses with a kness in the clinch. Pitbull goes with a foot stomp and they are separated. Back to center. Straus misses with a leg kick and misses with a head kick as the round ends.

10-9 Pitbull

ROUND TWO: Straus comes out more aggressive as they clinch. Straus goes for a take down but Pitbull catches him in a guillotine. Pitbull drops to the mat with Straus in the guillotine 30 seconds into the round. Straus taps as soon as he hits the canvass.

Result: Freire by submission (0:37 of Round 2 – Guillotine Choke)

Grocke’s Analysis: Wow! I’m sorry, I didn’t see that coming. Straus never seemed to get into his offense and was hesitant the whole fight. I still don’t know what his game plan was coming into the fight. That said, Freire fought an excellent fight. He was aggressive, decisive and deserved that win. If this is the Pitbull we’re going to see going forward, he’s going to be tough to beat. Freire will face Daniel Weichel next.

This was a fun main event on Spike. If you like finishes then this was the card for you. The three big favorites won in dominating fashion and we had Freire pull off the minor upset.

Thanks for joining me tonight and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @FightChampBlog





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