GROCKE’S BELLATOR 179 REPORT 5/19: MacDonald vs. Daley, Vassell vs. McGeary, Kongo vs. Sakai, Lohore vs. Edwards, Ferguson vs. Griffin

MAY 19, 2017


Bellator MMA returns to action after a month layoff with Bellator 179. The event takes place at the SSE Arena in London, England, UK. The main event features the debut of former UFC star Rory MacDonald. Bellator didn’t do the “Red Dragon” any favors for his debut by pitting him against the always dangerous Paul Daley.

In the co-main we’ll see Linton Vassell take Liam McGeary in a battle of light heavyweights. The five fight main card rounds out with longtime UFC and Bellator veteran Cheick Kongo taking on Augusto Sakai in the heavyweight division, moving up from the prelims Dan Edwards takes on Alex Lohore in the welterweight division, and in a catchweight bout newcomer DJ Griffin goes up against Kevin “Baby Slice” Ferguson Jr.

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


(1) Chase Morton (6-3) vs. Jeremy Petley (10-8) – Catchweight 150 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Petley runs out to meet Morton at center cage. They circle right and Morton catches Petley with a right hand that makes Petley stumble backwards into the fence. Morton goes for a take down but Petley reverses it and has top position. Petley appears to be fully recovered from the right hand. Petley looks content to slow things down. He looks to better his position and takes Morton’s back. He’s looking for a RNC. Morton fights it off for a minute and a half and finished the round on top landing strikes from on top.

10-9 Petley

ROUND TWO: Petley lands a nice right to start the second round as Morton misses with a kick. Morton misses with another kick and Petley shoots for a take down. He has Morton pinned against the fence. Both fighters looking for better position. Morton lands short punches to the back and ribs of Petley. Morton breaks free and they each land punches on the break. Morton lands a front kick as Petley shoots in and scores a take down. Petley has one hook in. Morton scrambles and both fighters are back to their feet. Morton misses with a wild right hand. Petely shoots for a single but Morton defends it. They circle as the round ends.

10-9 Petley

ROUND THREE: Both fighters try to get the crowd going as the third round starts. Morton lands a big punch and connects with a kick to the head. Petley shoots and scores a take down. Petley in side control. Morton scrambles and now takes Petley’s back. Petley explodes up and has the take down. Petley works from on top. Morton tries to buck Petely off but Petley now has full mount. Morton bucks up again and this time is able to scramble out. Both fighters trade at center cage. Petley blocks a kick to the head. Petley changes levels and scores another take down woth 30 seconds left. He rides out the remainder of the round on top.

10-9 Petley

Result: Petley by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-26)

Grocke’s Analysis: Excellent wrestling from Petley here. Morton had no answer for the take downs and it cost him the fight. 

(2) Rafal Cejrowski (2-0) vs. Fabian Edwards (2-0) – Middleweight 185 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Edwards takes center cage. Both fighters miss with kicks. Inside leg kick lands for Cejrowski. Edwards returns the favor. Straight left lands flush for Edwards as he takes an inside leg kick.  Another straight left drops Cejrowski. Edwards looks for the finish, but Cejrowski scrambles and bothe fighters back to their feet. Cejrowski runs Edwards to the fence. Edwards lands two big knees. Cejrowski looks to get more distance. Edwards lands two big uppercuts and follows with a flying knee and puts Cejrowski to sleep.

Result: Edwards by KO (3:44 of Round 1 – Flying Knee)

Grocke’s Analysis: Wow, that was an impressive debut from Fabian Edwards. He dominated the fight and that knee was sick.

(3) Nathan Jones (10-5) vs. Umer Kayani (4-3) – Welterweight 170 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Inside leg kick lands for Jones to start the fight. Nice left hook for Kayani. Kayani lands one low in the clinch and time is called a minute in. A point is taken from Kayani. Wow, no warning! Jones lands a take down once the fight resumes. Jones has side control. He lands some nice ground and pound and looks for the d’arce choke. He gives up on it and lands more ground and pound. Jones landing some big shots from on top. Jones tries to take the back and gets it. He looks for a RNC. This one’s over.

Result: Jones by submission (4:35 of Round 1 – rear naked choke)

Grocke’s Analysis: All Nathan Jones here. He tried several different submission attempts until finally getting the RNC. KAyani never got anything going and the low low didn’t help.

(4) Amir Albazi (9-0) vs. Jamie Powell (6-1) – Flyweight 125 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Both fighters come out swinging. Both landing but nothing of significance. Albazi shoots and scores a take down. He lands a few nice elbows from on top. Powell goes for an inverted triangle. He loses it. Albazi has top control but not doing anything. Powell playing good defense here. Albazi stands and Powell tries to land some upkicks. Powell scrambles and gets a take down. Big John stands them up. They circle and trade punches as the round ends.

10-9 Albazi

ROUND TWO: Nice right hand lands for Albazi. He lands a back fist and follows up with a take down. Albazi is two to three steps ahead of Powell here. Albazi works from side control. He transitions to north south. Back to side control. Albazi tries to step over and Powell reverses and has top control. He loses position instantly and Albazi is back on top. Powell has no answers to Albazi’s ground attack. Big John tells the fighters to work. Albazi goes a d’arce as the round comes to an end.

10-9 Albazi

ROUND THREE: Both guys come out throwing hands. Albazi gets a take down and back to side control. Rinse and repeat. Albazi lands some ground and pound. He stands up for a second and is back on top of Powell. Powell isn’t even making a concerted effort to get out. Albazi takes the back and looks for a RNC. He has a body lock and looks to sink in the choke. He has it with a minute left. Powell somehow fights it off. Kudos to Powell for not packing it in there. The fight ends with Albazi riding Powell’s back.

10-8 Albazi

Result: Albazi by unanimous decision (30-25, 30- 26, 30-26)

Grocke’s Analysis: That was not a competitive fight at all. Total wipe out in this one. Powell had no answers for anything Albazi was doing. Impressive performance from Albazi. 

Main Card

(5) DJ Griffin (0-0) vs. Kevin Ferguson Jr. (0-1) – Catchweight 165 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Leg kick lands for Griffin to open the fight. Griffin pushes Ferguson to the fence but Ferguson pushes him off. A right lands for Ferguson and he follws with an uppercut that lands. Ferguson scores with a take down. He lands lands big right hands and then goes for an arm bar. He continues landing ground and pound. Griffin scrambles and both fighters are standing at center cage. Ferguson lands a left hand that drops Griffin. Ferguson pounces and looks for the finish. Griffin tries to defend from underneath as Ferguson lands hammer fists. Griffin turtles and the fight is stopped.

Result: Ferguson by TKO (3:46 of Round 1)

Grocke’s Analysis: Nice first win for Ferguson. He still has a long way to go, but this fight showed his talent on the feet. The left that dropped Griffin didn’t even land flush but it was enough to put him on the mat. Bellator needs to bring Ferguson along slowly. I hope he succeeds in the sport. His dad is missed. Ferguson dedicates the fight to his dad. Nice moment for him.

(6) Alex Lohore (11-1) vs. Dan Edwards (14-14) – Welterweight 170 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Straight right lands for Lohore and he follows with a take down. Edwards looks for a leg lock and Lohore is on defense. Lohore lands some right hands to the side of Edward’s head as he fights off the leg lock. Lohore is out and lands ground and pound. Edward’s is bleeding and gives up his neck. Lohore loses it but is still in top control. Lohore lands a few big right hands. Edwards goes for another leg lock while eating right hands. Lohore takes the back again. Edwards slips out and now has top control. Lohore scrambles and is out. He now works from top position and more ground and pound as the round ends.

10-9 Lohore

ROUND TWO: They trade punches at center cage. Nice left lands for Lohore and he follows with a take down. He lets Edwards back up. Back to center cage. Two big right hands drops Edwards, he follows up with two more big shots and this one is over.

Result: Lohore by TKO (0:56 of Round 2)

Grocke’s Analysis: Another impressive fight for Lohore. He fought Edwards fight by keeping it on the ground in the first round, but in the second he went to his striking game where he help the advantage. Those right hands were precise and each one landed flush. This was a fight Lohore was supposed to win and he did in spectacular fashion. Lohore’s mom enters the cage and the two embrace. Another nice moment.

(7) Cheick Kongo (26-10-2) vs. Augusto Sakai (9-0-1) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.

ROUND ONE: It took 1:10 for Sakai to land the first kick or punch. It was a weak leg kick. The crowd is getting restless. Leg kick for Sakai. Well at least Sakai is moving forward. Jeez, this is awful. Kongo blocks a head kick. Kongo finally lands a right hand and shoots in. Sakai defends it though. They clinch and Kongo lands knees to Sakai’s thigh. Sakai is out and now works Kongo against the fence as the round ends. That was unbelievably boring.

10-9 Sakai

ROUND TWO: Kongo lands a nice combination to start the round. Kongo changes levels and has Sakai’s back to the fence. Kongo scores with a take down. Sakai works back to his feet without taking any damage. Kongo has Sakai against the fence again. Sakai reverses. Kongo reverses back and gets Sakai to the ground. Kongo lays on Sakai against the fence. Sakai works back to his feet and lands elbows to Kongo’s back. This is painful to watch. Big John has seen enough and separates the fighters. Sakai backs to the fence again and we are right back to where we started. The round ends with Sakai pinned to the fence and Kongo landing knees to the thigh.

10-9 Kongo

ROUND THREE: Sakai misses a head kick. Kongo misses with a right hand works toward the fence but Sakai spins away. Sakai has his back to the fence yet again with Kongo basically laying on him. Sakai reverses. Kongo goes for a trip but Sakai defends against it. Kongo reverses back and Sakai has his back to the fence. Big John separates them and kongo is angry about it. Back to center. They trade leg kicks. Kongo with another kick. Sakai goes for s front kick and slips. Kongo takes advantage and now has top control. With 30 seconds left , that’s probably the fight. Sakai works back to his feet. Time is called due to Kongo getting poked in the eye with 10 seconds left. The fight resumes, they both dance on their toes not doing anything as the fight ends.

10-9 Kongo

Result: Kongo by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Grocke’s Analysis: That fight was awful. I know Kongo has boring fights, but this one took it to another level. I can’t even begin to tell you how bad this was. I didn’t even care who won.

(8) Linton Vassell (17-5) vs. Liam McGeary (12-1) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Two quick lefts and a front kick for McGeary to start the fight. Big looping left lands for Vassell. Both fighters look sharp here. Vassell lands again. They trade left hands. Vassell lands another one. Vassell gets a take down. McGeary doing well from underneath defending and landing to Vassell’s body. Vassell has top position, but he’s not doing much. McGeary landing short punches to the side of Vassell’s head. The round ends with Vassell on top but getting outworked by McGeary underneath.

10-9 McGeary

ROUND TWO: McGeary comes out throwing punches and kicks that barley land. McGeary mixing up his offense well. Vassell goes to the head with a kick but its blocked. Vassell shoots and scores with a take down. Vassell works from on top. He passes and has full mount. For some reason he gives up the position and goes to side control. McGeary trying to push off the fence. He’s defending well. Vassell gets back to full mount and works his ground and pound. McGeary tries going out the back door but Vassell maintains position. Now Vassell is landing some nice ground and pound from full mount. All Linton Vassell in the second.

10-9 Vassell

ROUND THREE: McGeary comes out trying to establish his jab. Vassell shoots in and scores with an easy take down. Vassell back in top control. Vassell with more ground and pound. Vassell looks for an arm triangle. It lloks like he has it. He does, McGeary taps for the first time in his career.

Result: Vassell by submission (2:28 of Round 3 – head- arm-triangle)

Grocke’s Analysis: I knew McGeary had poor take down defense, but I didn’t think it was THAT bad. Sheesh. Vassell made it look easy. If you read my preview and predictions column, I said three was a good chance the fight could go the way it did. Take nothing away from Linton Vassell, this was an excellent performance. He completely dominated the fight on the ground. Vassell calls for the winner of the Bader vs. Davis fight. 

(9) Rory MacDonald #6 (18-4) vs. Paul Daley (39-14-2) – Welterweight 170 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Rory comes out and lands a big overhand right. He follows with a take down. This is exactly the way Rory wanted this fight to start. MacDonald works from on top. Daley doing a nice job defending from underneath, but so far it’s all MacDonald as he administers ground and pound. MacDonald postures up, stands and lands a big right hand and he’s in full mount. He loses position but still has top control. More ground and pound as Daley tries to ride out the final seconds of the round.

10-8 MacDonald

ROUND TWO: Daley misses a kick to the head. MacDonald scores with another take down. MacDonald works from side control. Daley turns away. MacDonald tries to step over but can’t transition to full mount. MacDonald works for Daley’s back. Daley gives it up. MacDonald grabs the neck. He has a RNC and Daley taps instantly.

Result: MacDonald by submission (1:45 of Round 2 – rear naked choke)

Grocke’s Analysis: Wow! That was the Rory MacDonald I was hoping to see! He absolutely steam-rolled Paul Daley. Just a fantastic debut. The usually stoic MacDonald is showing a lot of emotion here. You can tell this one meant a lot to him. He says he will be at the Lima vs. Larkin fight and guarantees he will take the belt from the winner…along with their health. Damn!

Jimmy Smith interviews Paul Daley second and asks what’s next for him. Daley calls Michael Page a p—y multiple times and calls him out for getting injured. He says if he wants to get in the cage with him, he’ll do it. Well, OK then. That’s a fight I’d like to see.

That’ll do it for me. Thanks for following along and be sure to follow me on Twitter @FightChampBlog.



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