Welcome to WrestlingObserver.com’s live coverage of Bellator 145: Vengeance from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The event is highlighted by two title fights as Bellator Featherweight Champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire defends in a trilogy bout against former champion Daniel Straus, and Bellator Lightweight Champion Will Brooks defends his championship against lightweight tournament winner Marcin Held. The card airs on Spike TV at 9 PM eastern time. Preliminary card bouts will air for free on Spike.com with action kicking off at 7 PM eastern time.
Chel Erwin-Davis (3-1) over Adam Cella (3rd round TKO/punches)
Garrett Gross (7-4) over Jeff Crotty (unan. dec.)
Kyle Kurtz (5-1) over Steven Mann (1st round sub/triangle)
Adam Mereditch (5-1) over Jordan Dowdy (1st round sub/rear naked choke)
Augusto Sakai (9-0) over Alex Huddleston (unan. dec.)
Kain Royer (2-2) over Clay Mitchell (1st round sub/kneebar
Fazlo Mulabitinovic (3-1) over Scott Ettling (1st round sub/armbar)
Rashard Lovelace (2-0) over Brandon Lowe (1st round TKO/ground and pound)
Bellator 145: Vengeance Preview
Sean Grande channelling his inner Tony Schiavone 2 minutes into this show, claiming that it could be “the most important night in Bellator MMA history”. Despite this being an “A” show, from the opening it looks and feels like a normal show. In that vein, we get no walk-outs for the opening match and they’re in the cage waiting to fight after a commercial.
FEATHERWEIGHTS- EMMANUEL SANCHEZ (11-2, 3-1 BMMA) VS. JUSTIN LAWRENCE (8-2, 1-0 BMMA)
Big John is the ref for the opener. Sanchez pushing forward in the early-going but Lawrence landing a lot of shots while backing up. Lawrence barely taking any punishment through 3:45 and Sanchez’ face already starting to show damage. Cage clinch with a minute to go initiated by Sanchez. Lawrence breaks free wiht punches with 10 seconds left. 10-9 Lawrence
More of the same in Round 2 although Sanchez goes for the clinch earlier, at about 1:30. Sanchez cut over his left eye, from a Lawrence punch according to John McCarthy. Sanchez does connect with some knees from the clinch. McCarthy broke it up at 4:00 and Lawrence started connecting with punches and kicks right away. Sanchez rocked Lawrence with a head kick with about 15 seconds left but probably not enough. 10-9 Lawrence
Sanchez right to the clinch after eating a couple Lawrence punches. Sanchez has landed 18 kicks to 0 for Lawrence. Not sure about those stats as it sure looked like Lawrence has landed several. Sanchez gets a takedown at 1:45 but loses position when he tries to take the back and Lawrence ends up on top. Sanchez more active from teh bottom but not really doing any damage and Lawrence just holding him down from the top, not advancing position. Sanchez trying for a kneebar and then a Kimura but loses both. Both to their feet at 4:30 and Sanchez is the agressor. Sanchez with a takedown attempt stuffed right before the closing bell. 10-9 Sanchez, but Lawrence should take it. Round 2 was close tho.
WINNER – EMMANUEL SANCHEZ (12-2) by split decision (28-29, 29-28 x 2)
Sanchez put over Lawrence in his post-fight promo but didn’t really have much else to say. In a pretaped sitdown interview with Jimmy Smith, Lashley promised to take the judges out of the equation tonight. Thompson said that he’s been Lashley’s toughest test and his six fight win streak has been against jobbers. Sean Grande promises a special guest after the break….IT’S TRUE….IT’S DAMNED TRUE
HEAVYWEIGHTS- BOBBY LASHLEY (13-2, 3-0 BMMA) VS. JAMES THOMPSON (20-14 1 NC, 1-0 BMMA)
They showed clips from the Bellator fanfest and Angle put it over as a lot of fun. Angle said that he would’ve gone into MMA in 1998 if it were as big as it is now. He has no regrets. Sean Grande asked him flat-out if he would fight in the Bellator cage. He said that it is a possibility. We do get the big walkouts for this fight. Thompson is like the male Eva….All Red Everything. Very very red. Except for his gloves, ironically enough. Lashley’s entrance is nothing special although the American flag does feature prominently in the display. Thompson’s notable wins include Don Frye and Dan Severn, in addition to Lashley.
Mike England is the ref and makes sure to pass on God’s blessings to both guys, as per usual. Lashley with a takedown right away. Lashley takes his back and landing punches from behind. Thompson’s done.
WINNER – BOBBY LASHLEY (14-2) by TKO at 54 seconds (ground and pound)
On the replay it looks like Thompson may have torn his hamstring during the takedown. Lashley says he heard Thompson’s knee pop during the takedown. He didn’t have much to say in terms of future plans. He did come up and hug Angle after the fight.
Josh Thomson was interviewed at cageside about his fight on December 4th. He is completely overlooking his next fight, saying that once he beats him, it’s all title shots from there on out. Sean Grande said “the fall of Bellator continues”. Yes, he said that. Another pretaped sitdown interview with both Rickells and Chandler previewed the next fight. Rickells says he was “an ape” that didn’t understand the fight game in their last fight (he was knocked out in the first round). Chandler says if he were Rickells’ manager he wouldn’t have allowed him anywhere near this fight.
LIGHTWEIGHTS- MICHAEL CHANDLER (13-3, 10-3 BMMA) VS. DAVID RICKELS (16-3 1 NC, 10-3 1 NC BMMA)
David Rickels’ entrance was spectacular as usual. He wore a wolf’s head and carried a caveman club. Chandler is a local so over huge with the live crowd. He came out to “Comin’ Home” by P. Diddy, the song that the Rock used at the Miami Wrestlemania but it quickly transitioned into something else. Mike England is the ref and passed on God’s blessing to both gentleman. They both hope for the same blessing that Lashley got and not James Thompson.
Chandler all over Rickels early and Rickels gets a quick takedown but Chandler sweeps and ends up on top. Neither guy doing much on the ground although Chandler does land a few elbows to the head. Chandler to his feet at 3:00 and Rickels has to follow. Chandler with a takedown at 4:00 after dominating the standup. Chandler working for an armbar from the top but gives it up quickly. 10-9 Chandler
Chandler outstruck Rickels 40-16 in Round 1. Chandler with a takedown 45 seconds in. Rickels up fairly quickly. Rickels coming on with punches but Chandler drops him with a punch and applies a guillotine on the way down. Rickels out but he’s bleeding from the nose and mouth. Chandler all over him with ground and pound. Rickels tries to get to his feet and Chandler with another guillotine. Rickels face is a bloody mess and Chandler all over him. Ref finally stops it, maybe a little late.
WINNER – MICHAEL CHANDLER (14-3) by TKO (ground and pound)
Chandler gave all the credit to his coaches after the fight. He pleaded with Scott Coker to keep booking St. Louis. He wants the winner of the Brooks/Held fight and thinks that he’s the best lightweight in the world. Ken Shamrock, Kurt Angle and Scott Coker were shown talking at cageside and they promised a “major Bellator announcement” after the break.
They announced two fights for Rizin on New Year’s Eve. Gaby Garcia and Le’D Tapa and King Mo in a Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. And it will air on New Year’s Day at 10 am eastern, not New Year’s Eve, as previously announced.
BELLATOR LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP- (C) WILL BROOKS (16-1, 8-1 BMMA) VS. MARCIN HELD (21-3, 10-2 BMMA)
Marcin Held’s entrance started with clips of Jimmy Smith talking about how dangerous he is. Kind of cool. Brooks had a sampling of the Beastie Boys at the start of his entrance, winning my favor. He’s looked great in Bellator so far but this nonsense with the Pitbulls can’t be helping things. Big John gets the dukes here.
Held with a takedown 30 seconds in an complete it 15 seconds later. Brooks sitting on the canvas with his back against the cage and landing punches. Held not doing much but is always seconds away from a sub when they’re on teh ground. Brooks to his feet at 3:00 but Held still in control of a clinch. Brooks with a takedown at 3:15 but Held with an armbar attempt from the bottom. Gives that up but working for a kneebar. Held has the kneebar and it looks pretty tight. Brooks escapes but still in trouble at 4:30. 10-9 Held
Brooks with a takedown 15 seconds in. Quickly into side control. Held works him back to guard. Held working for a triangle but Brooks powers out. Held with an Oma Plata attempt but Brooks powers out of that. Held with a toe hold/knee bar combo but gives it up. Brooks manages to maintain top control the whole time. Brooks into mount at 2:30. Brooks landing punches to the body and head and gets a head triangle. Held works him back to half-guard but still in trouble. Brooks back into mount at 3:30 but gives up the choke. Brooks with a body triangle at 4:00 and landing elbows to the head. Held gives up his back with 15 seconds left. 10-9 Brooks
Held shoots for a takedown at the start and just stays on the ground when he misses and Brooks follows into top position. Brooks up 35-5 in ground and pound strikes through 2 rounds. Not a lot happening on the ground through 2:30 and the crowd losing patience. Brooks landing elbows to the head and punches to the body while Held continuing to look for submissions from the bottom. Held with a kneebar attempt but Brooks powers out with punches to the head. Held with a heel hook attempt at 4:30. 10-9 Brooks
Held to the ground right away and locks in an inverted heel hook. Brooks works out of it and ends up in top position by 1:30. Brooks continuing to do damage from the top and opens up a cut to the side of Held’s eye. Sean Grande promises a MAJOR announcement still to come. Brooks continuing to do damage from the top and Held has almost nothing left from the bottom. Held with a kneebar attempt and transitions to a toehold at 4:15. Brooks powers out but that was actually pretty close. Brooks with a head and arm choke with 15 seconds left and Held gets out. 10-9 Brooks
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Ground and pound strikes are 86-9 for Brooks through 4 and Brooks with a takedown 45 seconds in. McCarthy stands them up at 3:00 after nothing much happened. Brooks lands a few shots standing and goes right to a clinch. Held with a takedown attempt but Brooks ends up on top at 3:30. Brooks just holding him down, landing occasional shots and Held doing nothing from the bottom. 10-9 Brooks, almost a 10-8 really.
Rumours are that the big announcement is Shamrock-Gracie 3 in February in Houston.
WINNER – WILL BROOKS (17-1) by unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46 x 2)
Brooks popped his knee in the first round, which is why he kept going to the ground. That’s pretty amazing that he went 4 more rounds against a guy with the submission skills of Held. MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT……after the break.
As rumoured, Shamrock-Gracie 3 will take place February 19th in Houston. Both were there for the announcement, which was made by Kurt Angle. Scott Coker also announced the return of Kimbo Slice on that show, to face Dada 5000.
BELLATOR FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP- (C) PATRICIO FREIRE (24-2, 12-2 BMMA) VS. DANIEL STRAUS (24-6, 10-3 BMMA)
Big John’s the ref for this one. Tentative standup early and Pitbull initiated a cage clinch at 1:15. Quick separation. Pitbull back to the clinch but Strauss punches out of it. Straus with a takedown attempt but stuffed. Brooks gets a takedown at 3:45 but Friere right up. Brooks connects with a jumping knee that stuns him but he shakes it off. Close round, 10-9 Straus for the takedown and the knee.
Pitbull with a cage clinch and lands some knees at 1:00. Separation at 1:45. Straus knocked Pitbull down with a punch and follows him to the ground. Friere grabs an armbar and almost gets a sub but Straus powers out and laying in elbows and punches from the top. Pitbull weathers it and working for a Kimura but his eyes are glazed. Straus working for a guillotine but gives it up quickly. Straus with light punches to the body and going for the guillotine again. Friere just covering up at 4:00 and trying to last out the round. Pitbull back to his feet and landing elbows and punches. Straus firing back. Incredible action for a few seconds there. Straus stalking him as the round closes. 10-8 Straus
Pitbull’s corner between rounds – “You’re aware you got knocked out, right?”. Straus stalking him to start again and stuns him with a hard left. Pitbull still standing. He’s eating hard shots and not even close to defending them. Straus went for a takedown but stuffed and ate a couple hard punches at 1:15. Straus continually landing hard straight lefts. Pitbull with a nice right hook that lands hard at 3:00. Straus with a takedown attempt but stuffed at 3:45. Pitbull drives him into the cage but backs off. Pitbull poked in the eye at 4:15. He only takes about 30 seconds of his allotted 5 minutes. Pitbull starting to dodge some of the punches now. Nice punch exchange to close the round. 10-9 Straus
Straus with a takedown attempt 30 seconds in but stuffed by Pitbull. Straus seems to be slowing down a bit. Accidental headbutt causes a break but McCarthy didn’t see it at first and Straus almost got a free shot in when Pitbull backed off. Nice punch combo by Straus at 2:15. Pitbull backs up Straus with a punch combo at 3:30. Straus with a takedown attempt and Pitbull stuffs it. Straus may have hurt his left hand as he’s not throwing it anymore. Pitbull backs up Straus with a punch combo at 4:15. Straus with a nice punch/kick combo at 4:30. Pitbull with a punch combo at 4:45, backing Straus up to the cage. 10-9 Friere
Nice punch exchange at 45 seconds. Pitbull with a takedown attempt at 1:00 but stuffed by Straus. Pitbull with a takedown at 2:15 and takes his back. Pitbull with a body triangle and Straus turtling up a bit. Pitbull landing punches from behind. Pitbull loses the body triangle at 3:15. Straus to his feet at 3:30 but Pitbull with a neck crank. Gives it up quickly. Both guys firing at each other at 3:45. Pitbull with a nice combo at 4:15. Pitbull just peppering him with punches with 30 seconds left. Straus almost down at the end. 10-9 Pitbull. Straus should take it but it all depends on how Round 1 was scored.
WINNER AND NEW FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPION – DANIEL STRAUS (25-6) by unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47 x 2)