Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Homecoming and History, Bellator 186

Photos, Story, and Videos by Jose Cuevas
State College, Pa. — Bellator 186 was the first Bellator fight card held on a major Division 1 college campus. The fights emanated from Penn State University, a college campus well known for its football and top notch wrestling program. Former Penn State wrestlers Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis and Ed “Easy” Ruth made their return to their alma mater and the crowd was electric in support of them.
There were 14 fights total on the card, nine on the preliminary card and five on the main televised card. The following are the results of each fight in the order they took place the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State.
Joshua FremddefeatedRyan Parkervia Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), in the 2nd round, time: 1:25
Andrew SalasdefeatedEthan Gossvia Split Decision
Frank BuenafuentedefeatedFrancis Healyvia Unanimous Decision
Tywan ClaxtondefeatedJonny Bonilla-Bowmanvia KO (Flying Knee), in the 1st round, time: 1:29
Logan StorleydefeatedMatt Secorvia Unanimous Decision
Dominic MazzottadefeatedMatthew Lozanovia TKO (Doctor Stoppage)
Round 1, time: 2:37
Michael TrizanodefeatedMike Otwellvia Submission (Anaconda Choke)
Round 2, time: 2:07
Mike WilkinsdefeatedBrett Martinezvia Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
Round 2, time: 1:09
defeatedMichael Benjamin Putnamvia TKO (unanswered Punches) Round 1, time: 3:07
Saad AwaddefeatedZach Freemanvia TKO (unanswered Punches) Round 1, time 1:07
Ed RuthdefeatedChris Dempseyvia KO (punch) Round 2, time 0:27
Phil DavisdefeatedLeo Leitevia Unanimous Decision
Ilima-Lei MacfarlanedefeatedEmily Ducotevia Submission (Triangle Armbar), Round 5, time: 3:42

Ryan Bader

defeatedLinton Vasselvia TKO (unanswered Punches) Round 2, time 3:58
Tywan Claxton versus Jonny Bonilla-Bowman
Not all hard-hitting action occurs on the main card and this fight proves it. Tywan Claxton made his pro debut and he did not disappoint. In the 1st round he delivered a vicious flying knee that knocked out Jonny Bonilla-Bowman on contact. It was arguably the highlight of the night. To view the flying knee click here.
Dominic Mazzotta versus Matt Lozano
Mazzotta and Lozano meet in the center of the cage (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Dominic Mazzotta was coming off a loss to A.J. McKee at Bellator 178 and had something to prove. Mazzotta is also a native of New Kensington, Pa. which must have added to his motivation.
Mazzotta landing a viscous elbow (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Mazzotta easily controlled the first round taking down Lozano and executing brutal ground and pound. Mazzotta landed an elbow early on that littered the canvas with Lozano’s blood.
Mazzotta lands an elbow that literally makes Lozano gush blood (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Mazzotta continued to rack on the damage until the referee stopped the action to have a doctor examine the cut.
The doctor examines the cut on Lozano’s right eye (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
The fight was called off in the first round by the doctor and Mazzotta was declared the winner.
Mike Wilkins versus Brett Martinez
Wilkins’ supporters in full force (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Two local boys faced off in the penultimate prelim fight. Mike Wilkins brought his supporters with him who cheered him on voraciously in the Bryce Jordan Center. Wilkins showed his dominance early by putting on a striking clinic in the first round.
Wilkins lands an uppercut on Martinez (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
The first round was all Wilkins as he dictated the pace and used his striking to maintain the distance. Round one ended with Martinez’s right eye swollen and with a mouse developing under it.
A mouse forms under Martinez’s eye at the conclusion of the first round (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Heading into the second it was expected that Wilkins would use his striking to continue mounting damage, but this time it was his grappling as he was able to take down Martinez and gain rear control. He ultimately cinched in a rear naked choke and won via submission
Wilkins sinks in a rear naked choke (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Wilkins wasn’t the only one celebrating as his supporters were ecstatic as well.
Wilkins’ supporters celebrate the victory (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Saad Awad versus Zach Freeman
Tale of the tape for Awad versus Freeman (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Saad Awad is a veteran MMA fighter who has fought on Bellator cards multiple times. He came out with something to prove against Zach Freeman.
Awad with his game face on (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Awad made short work of Freeman with a vicious right hook that landed flush.
Awad K.O.s Freeman (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
In the post fight interview Awad said he felt overlooked.  He hopes to get a title shot, and after that performance you can be assured that Bellator President Scott Coker is considering it.
Awad is declared the victor (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Here is Saad Awad’s post event interview

Chris Dempsey versus Ed Ruth
Ed Ruth makes his way to the cage (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Undefeated Ed Ruth returned to his Alma Mater with a thunderous ovation.
Penn State students root on Ruth (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
The three time All American wrestler was expected to use his wrestling skills to dominate Chris Dempsey and Ruth did not disappoint as he maintained control in the first round using his wrestling skills.
Ruth in control of Dempsey (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Dempsey attempts to gain control, Ruth using his neck strength to escape (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Dempsey could not overcome Ruth’s superb wrestling skills and tried to keep the fight in the center of the cage. However, it turned out to be a mistake as Ruth is also a magnificent striker.
Ruth lands a hard right hook that knocks Dempsey out cold (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Dempsey is knocked unconscious (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Ruth was declared the victor in the second round via K.O. Penn State was electric as he celebrated his victory.
Penn State faithful applaud Ruth (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Ed Ruth’s post fight interview can be viewed here
Leo Leite versus Phil Davis
Cael Sanderson joins the Bellator 186 commentary team for Davis’ fight (c) 2016 Jose Cuevas
Penn State wrestling coach and legend Cael Sanderson was in attendance at Bellator 186. He was asked by the broadcast team to join them for the next fight, Davis vs. Leite.
Phil Davis’ entrance video as he prepared to walk to the cage (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
The Penn State mascot (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Davis makes his way to the cage (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Mr. Wonderful like Ruth was a very accomplished wrestler during his time at Penn State and many believed he would use his wrestling to beat Leite. It wasn’t his wrestling that Leite would have to worry about but Davis’ kicks.
Davis throws a strong roundhouse kick (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
In round one Davis and Leite were feeling each other out not committing too much to attacking. Leite is a former Jui-Jitsu World Champion which gave Davis problems in terms of using his wrestling to bring Leite to the mat.
Davis attempting a takedown as Leite keeps him off (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
In round 2 the action perked up as Davis became more aggressive throwing more punches. However he accidentally poked Leite in the eye.
The ref  checks Leite’s eye after he complains about an eye poke (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Once the referee called time in, Davis went back to applying pressure and forcing Leite on his backfoot.
Davis applying pressure to Leite (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Heading into the third round it seemed Davis was winning on the cards due to his consistent pressure. Davis continued throwing punches and kicks hoping to sway the judges. The crowd began chanting “We are Penn State!” and “Davis!” to motivate Davis.
Davis lands a right hand (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Davis won a unanimous decision as his consistent pressure and role as the aggressor swayed the judges in his favor. He said that he was glad to be back at Penn State and wants a title fight next and that he wouldn’t mind fighting both Ryan Bader and Linton Vassell.
Davis declared the winner (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Davis exiting the cage carrying a Penn State Jersey (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
The crows reacts to Davis’ victory (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Phil Davis’ post event interview can be viewed here
Free Shirts
The Bellator ring girls launch free shirts prior to Ducote vs. Macfarlane (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Ducote versus Macfarlane
The co-main event (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
History would be made as the winner of Ducote versus Macfarlane would be the inaugural Bellator Women’s Flyweight champion.
Emily Ducote makes her way to the cage (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane makes her way to the cage (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
From Round one Macfarlane showed why she is a feared striker with effective punches. Not only was her striking efficient, but she was able to defend well against Ducote’s strikes.
Macfarlane lands a jab while slipping Ducote’s jab (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Macfarlane was also very comfortable on the ground as she continually tried to lock in a submission hold, whether it be a triangle choke, armbar, kimura, or rear-naked choke.
Macfarlane trying to lock in a rear-naked choke (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
In round two both fighters stayed on their feet and exchanged strikes. Ducote threw solid leg kicks hoping to weaken Macfarlane’s base. Macfarlane continued to strike effectively and caused Ducote to begin bleeding from her nose.
Ducote begins bleeding (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
In the third round Macfarlane began attacking Ducote’s body. Her attack included a savage knee from a clinch. Ducote tried to take Macfarlane down in hopes of getting in control but it was reversed.
Macfarlane lands a strong knee to the body (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Ducote’s attempt at taking Macfarlane is reversed (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
In round four both combatants took each-other to the limit as they exchanged blows in the middle of the cage. Both were showing signs of fatigue, but they did not back off.
Both fighters slip each-others punches (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
In round five Ducote worked hard to turn the tide of the fight. She was the aggressor hoping to land something solid on Macfarlane. Macfarlane went for a throw however Ducote reversed it and gained control.
Ducote on top, but Macfarlane is looking for a submission (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Macfarlane remained poised to find an opening and lock in a submission. She finally found her opening as she was able to secure Ducote’s arm and lock in a makeshoft armbar for the win.
Macfarlane hyper-extending Ducote’s arm in the armbar (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Ducote verbally submitted and Macfarlane was crowned the inaugural Bellator Women’s Flyweight champion.
Macfarlane’s family celebrate the victory (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Bellator President Scott Coker presents the belt to Macfarlane (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Macfarlane’s team hoist her up in celebration (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane’s post event interview can be seen here
Bader versus Vassell
Ryan Bader makes his way to the cage (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Bader and Vassell square off in the cage (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
In the main even Ryan Bader and Linton Vassell faced off for Bader’s Bellator Light Heavyweight championship. Vassell was not an easy opponent for Bader as he was very strong and had excellent range.
Vassell dodging a body punch from Bader (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
As was the theme for most of the night, wrestlers dominated, and Bader used his wrestling skills to gain control of the fight.
Bader in control (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Heading into the second round Bader resumed wrestling and was able to corner Vassell at the edge of the cage.
Bader successfully exposes Vassell’s guard (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Bader began to throw heavy strikes after gaining wrist control and exposing Vassell’s guard. The referee stopped the fight shortly thereafter as Vassell was taking heavy punches to his face by Bader.
Bader delivering strikes as the referee calls off the fight (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
The referee stopped the fight in the second round via TKO and Ryan Bader retained his Light Heavyweight championship.
Bader says he’s ready for anyone after his TKO victory (c) 2017 Jose Cuevas
Ryan Bader’s post event press conference can be found here.