December 15, 2018
Honolulu, Hawaii from Neal S. Blaisdell Center
Live on DAZN (10 PM ET)
Kai Kamaka III def. Shojin Miki via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Maki Pitolo def. Chris Cisneros via submission at 2:40 of round 3
Dustin Barca def. Isaac Hopps via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Mauro Ranallo is on the call tonight with Big John McCarthy. All of the commentators are wearing Hawaiian shirts, which is like the MMA equivalent of WWE putting the phone both on stage every time they go to London.
(1) Kona Oliveira vs. Nainoa Dung (Lightweight)
ROUND ONE: Oliveira caught a leg kick and clinched with Dung and took him down. Oliveira landed a couple of punches in full guard. He worked to pass but Dung was defending and looking for a leg lock. He moved to side control and landed an elbow and some punches before losing position and going back to full guard. Oliveira landed some big shots while postured up. He lost position just at the end of the round. 10-9 Oliveira
ROUND TWO: Oliveira with a quick takedown. He moved to half guard but wasn’t getting much done. He landed a big elbow but Dung escaped and got up and started unloading on Oliveira. He connected with a big left hand and then took Oliveira down. He stood up and landed a couple of leg kicks. Oliveira landed an upkick to the face. Dung was swinging wildly late in the round. 10-9 Dung
ROUND THREE: They traded shots standing to start the round. Oliveira got the better of the exchanges. Oliveira went for a takedown but Dung caught him in a choke. Dung worked his way to full mount and just started unloading on Oliveira and the ref stepped in. Big John was talking like it was an early stoppage. He may be right but when a guy is in full mount and wailing on a guy there’s not much you can do.
Result: Nainoa Dung by TKO at 2:05 of round three
Analysis: I thought the stoppage was OK. Nice comeback win for Dung after getting owned on the ground in the first round.
(2) King Mo Lawal vs. Liam McGeary (Light Heavyweight)
ROUND ONE: Leg kicks from Mo early on. McGeary looks so much bigger than Mo, who fights at heavyweight regularly. Mo went in for a takedown but McGeary defended. Mo had him down briefly but he got right back up. McGeary rushed in and landed a couple of shots but slipped and fell. McGeary started attacking Mo’s lead leg. McGeary landed a left and a body kick late. 10-9 McGeary
ROUND TWO: They highlighted a hematoma on McGeary’s left leg. McGeary almost landed cleanly with a head kick. King Mo went after McGeary’s leg. They traded some stiff leg kicks. McGeary landed a big combo while Mo focused on leg kicks. McGeary was getting some jabs in but poked him in the eye. Mo went for a takedown but McGeary went to town with elbows and looked to be hurting him. Mo was able to recover and continue with the takedown attempt. 10-9 McGeary, 20-18
ROUND THREE: nice jabs from McGeary early on. McGeary dropped Mo with a couple of rights and actually walked away before the ref stepped in. Then the ref jumped in and McGeary came back and landed one more punch.
Result: Liam McGeary by KO at :53 of round three
Analysis: Good performance by Liam McGeary here. He kept his distance from King Mo and avoided the takedown for the most part and the one time Mo tried to get him down, he made him pay. It didn’t look like Mo really showed up to fight here, and his days as a top level fighter might be over.
(3) Neiman Gracie vs. Ed Ruth (Welterweight Grand Prix First Round Matchup)
ROUND ONE: Leg kicks from both guys to start. Ruth takes him down but Gracie got to work right away on a triangle. He got it pretty tight and pulled down on his head while Ruth fought to break free. Ruth got out and considered letting Gracie stand up. He eventually decided to let him up. Gracie landed a left hand. Ruth backed him up with a strong jab. They clinched against the cage and Ruth landed some knees. 10-9 Gracie
ROUND TWO: Big John also gave the first round to Gracie. I like how Bellator does that regularly during fights. Ruth poked Gracie in the eye early on. Ruth snuck a right hand in and Gracie shot in for a takedown. Ruth reversed and ended up on top in half guard. Gracie worked like crazy to find a submission. He found an armbar and Ruth was fighting to keep his arm from being extended. Gracie almost took his back but lost it. Ruth was on top as the round ended. Not much actually happened this round but I’ll still go 10-9 Ruth. 19-19
ROUND THREE: Some body shots from Gracie and leg kicks from Ruth. Double jabs from Ruth. Gracie with a jab. Gracie caught Ruth with a punch that staggered him for a moment. Ruth then put Gracie to the mat with a punch. Gracie then worked for a leg lock and Ruth found himself in guard. Gracie’s guard was tight. Gracie got an armbar but Ruth rolled out and got back on top. 10-9 Gracie, 29-28. They showed Gracie saying to Ruth that he tapped, but Ruth never tapped to that armbar.
ROUND FOUR: Ruth with a couple of big punches. He should be trying to keep this fight standing. Gracie took him down and was on top. He moved to full mount so quick it was scary. Ruth gave up his back and Gracie worked to get the hooks in and flatten out Ruth. He threw some punches while Ruth tried to shake him off. Gracie sunk in the choke and it was all over.
Result: Neiman Gracie by submission at 2:17 of round four
Analysis: Great persistence by Gracie to finally get that submission. It actually felt like watching an old Royce Gracie fight where he would have to be patient and just wait for his opening to get the submission. Gracie will get a title shot now at the winner of Rory MacDonald and Jon Fitch.
(4) Lyoto Machida vs. Rafael Carvalho (Middleweight)
ROUND ONE: I thought Machida looked stiff walking to the cage. He had that Chuck Liddell walk going on. He moved better once the fight started. Carvalho clinched with him against the cage. Not much happened in these clinches. Machida was bleeding from the nose early on though. They traded body kicks. Machida slipped on a kick and Carvalho capitalized and took him down. Machida got up. Body kick from Machida. Machida caught Carvalho rushing in. 10-9 Carvalho
ROUND TWO: Machida with that wide karate stance. He came out more aggressive this round. He landed a nice uppercut and head kick. Carvalho rushed in and clinched against the cage. Nothing happened so the ref separated them. Nice head kick from Machida backed up Carvalho. Superman punch from Machida. Carvalho landed a punch that put Machida off balance and down briefly. Machida poked him in the eye backing up. Machida rushed in with some kicks at the end but didn’t land. 10-9 Machida 19-19
ROUND THREE: Carvalho with a big rush at the start. Machida dashed out of the way. Machida ducked some punches and took Carvalho down. Machida moved to half guard and then to mount. Machida waited and waited to posture up and once he did Carvalho bucked his way out. Low blow put a stop to the action for a bit. Machida took him down again with a minute to go, which could be huge. Machida landed some punches while posturing up. Carvalho escaped but Machida grabbed his neck for a guillotine but the round ended. 10-9 Machida, 29-28. This may be one of those fights where he wins on the cards but didn’t really win the fight.
Result: 29-28 Machida, 29-28 Carvalho, 29-28 Machida by split decision.
Analysis: Machida may not be as great as he once was but he can definitely still go, especially after having his nose busted up early in the fight. The second round really could have gone either way so any decision would have been OK. Carvalho is tough and if he could have avoided Machida’s takedowns he probably would have won the fight. Machida wants a title shot, and he may get it.
NEXT: IS MAX HOLLOWAY THE GREATEST FEATHERWEIGHT OF ALL-TIME?
(5) Ilima-Lei Macfarlane vs. Valerie Letourneau (Flyweight Championship Fight)
ROUND ONE: A feeling out process to start. Macfarlane went for a low takedown attempt but Letourneau defended. Macfarlane landed a left jab. Letourneau with a body kick. Lots of missed punches happening. Leg kick from Macfarlane. Not much happening but 10-9 Macfarlane.
ROUND TWO: Macfarlane took her down right away. She stood up and then pounced back on her and looked to get into mount. They got up and Letourneau was behind her landing punches. Leg kick from Macfarlane once back in the center of the cage. Macfarlane landed a couple right hands. Letourneau with lots of combinations but is missing most of them. 10-9 Macfarlane, 20-18
ROUND THREE: Macfarlane went in for a takedown but Letourneau defended. They were up against the cage with Macfarlane looking to get her down. She got her down and then took her back. The crowd was really into this. She threw some punches as they rolled and Macfarlane looked for the rear-naked choke. She transitioned to an armbar and then a triangle as Letourneau looked to escape. The triangle was pretty tight and Macfarlane was throwing elbows to the head and wouldn’t let go. Letourneau finally tapped, great finishing sequence.
Result: Macfarlane by submission at 3:19 of round three
Analysis: Cool finish to what was kind of a dull fight up until the third round. Macfarlane showed that her grappling is top notch and she came off as a star in front of her hometown crowd. Bellator’s women’s flyweight division has even less depth than UFC’s, but Macfarlane belongs among the top of any MMA wide women’s flyweight rankings.
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