The Fight Nerd The containment unit of combat sports

April 28, 2015

A Dozen Things You Did Not Know About Floyd Mayweather & Manny Pacquiao

Filed under: Features,News — Tags: , , — The Fight Nerd @ 1:03 PM

There is just over one week until Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao square off for their epic welterweight championship showdown taking place Saturday, May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena that will be co-produced and co-distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View® and SHOWTIME PPV® beginning at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT.

While fans have gotten glimpses into the lives of these fighters through preview shows and social media postings, there are still many aspects of their lives that the public knows nothing about. Before training camp ends and the fighters lace up for fight night, take a look at some interesting things that you might not know about Mayweather and Pacquiao.


1. Twizzlers are one of his go-to favorite snacks

2. Ramen noodle soup is one of his favorite meals and he doesn’t like 5 star restaurants

3. Averages over 1000 sit-ups a day during training camp

4. He doesn’t use ketchup or mustard on hotdogs but uses BBQ sauce

5. A guilty pleasure is playing Mega Touch and holding the highest scores in every game on there- his favorites are Spades, Dominos and word scrambles.

6. The movie Troy with Brad Pitt is one he likes to watch over and over again.

7. Every juice he drinks during training camp is made from scratch

8. When out to eat, He always orders a glass of hot water to let his silverware soak in the glass before using them.

9. The tree trunks he has been using to chop wood are brought in from Big Bear and weigh nearly 700 pounds each.

10. He gets a manicure and pedicure at home once a week during training camp

11. He doesn’t use a microwave, only eats food cooked and heated up on a stove and in an oven.

12. His morning routine includes brushing teeth for 10 straight minutes.


1 He eats steamed white rice and chicken or beef broth at almost every meal

2. Manny will only drink hot or room temperature water. Never cold water because he feels it is not healthy

3. Manny averages over 2,500 sit-ups daily during training camp

4. Manny eats five meals and consumes 8,000 calories daily to keep his weight and energy up

5. Manny regularly has 500 fans follow him on his morning runs in Los Angeles

6. He starts every morning with a Bible reading

7. He loves his Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups

8. Over the past 12 months Manny has met with President Obama, President Clinton and Prince Harry

9. Pacman, Manny’s nine-year-old Jack Russell terrier and beloved companion, accompanies Manny on all his morning runs and to his workouts at Wild Card. He even has his own frequent flier account

10. Manny is a Lt. Colonel in the reserve force of Philippine Army

11. Floyd Mayweather will be the third consecutive undefeated world champion Manny has faced in the past 13 months

12. Manny is a big photography buff. This week he purchased two Canon flagship cameras – the 1DX — complete with lenses and accessories.

* * *

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao is a 12-round welterweight world championship unification bout promoted by Mayweather Promotions and Top Rank Inc., and is sponsored by Tecate con caracter, Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions –Terminator Genisys, in theaters July 1st, Paramount Pictures & Skydance Productions present MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION, in theaters & IMAX July 31st, The Weinstein Company and the new movie Southpaw, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, in theaters everywhere July 24 and Mexico, Live it to Believe it.

Undercard announced for “Mayweather VS Pacquiao”

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 1:00 PM


A full lineup of present and future boxing stars is set to entertain the MGM Grand Garden Arena crowd in pay-per-view and non-televised action before the history-making welterweight showdown between Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao on Saturday, May 2.

The pay-per-view undercard is topped by a pair of fights featuring two of boxing’s most talented and exciting stars as WBC Super Bantamweight World Champion Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz (29-0-1, 17 KOs) faces Mexican brawler Jose Cayetano (17-3, 8 KOs) and WBO Featherweight World Champion Vasyl Lomachenko (3-1, 1 KO) takes on Puerto Rican contender Gamalier Rodriguez (25-2-3, 17 KOs).

The pay-per-view telecast will be co-produced and co-distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View® and SHOWTIME PPV® beginning at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT.

Exciting non-televised bouts round out the action in the arena as top undefeated prospects look to keep their perfect records intact.

The slick and undefeated Chris “Sweet” Pearson (11-0, 9 KOs) meets Said El Harrak (12-2, 7 KOs) in a 10-round middleweight bout and heavy-fisted Jesse Hart (16-0, 13 KOs) takes on fellow unbeaten Mike Jimenez (17-0, 11 KOs) in a 10-rounder or the NABO, USBA and NABF Super Middleweight titles.

An undefeated knockout artist looking to make it 10-for-10, Andrew “The Beast” Tabiti (9-0, 9 KOs) faces Anthony Caputo Smith (15-4, 10 KOs) in an eight- rounds cruiserweight match.

Kicking off the night of fights is undefeated contender Brad Solomon (24-0, 9 KOs), who’ll be opposed by Adrian Rene Granados (13-3, 9 KOs) in a 10-round super middleweight bout.

“Mayweather Promotions is looking forward to bringing some of boxing’s most exciting current and future stars to the fans on the biggest night in our sport’s history,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “Whether you are watching on pay-per-view or in the arena, you are in store for an electric night of fights.”

“Each undercard match could be a main event on another card,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank. “Fans can watch the exciting action as a warm-up to the most anticipated fight in decades.”

As previously announced, 26-year-old Santa Cruz will be making his second appearance on a Floyd Mayweather pay-per-view undercard. The fan-friendly two-division world champion has defended his super bantamweight title numerous times in impressive fashion on his way to earning a reputation as one of the most exciting fighters in the world. Born in Huetamo, Michoaca de Ocampo, Mexico but fighting out of Los Angeles, Santa Cruz won his first world title in 2012. In 2013 he won his super bantamweight title.

Fighting out of Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, Cayetano turned pro in 2009 and sprinted to a 10-0 record before dropping a narrow split decision to Ruben Tamayo in 2011. He most recently dropped a decision to Enrique Bernache in February after defeating Dennis Contreras and Eden Marquez in his previous two starts. He hopes to make a grand impression in his U.S. debut on May 2.

Arguably the greatest amateur boxer of all-time, with two Olympic gold medals and two Amateur National Championships, 27-year-old Lomachenko has already made a great impact in the professional ranks. He won his world title with a majority decision over Gary Russell Jr. last year. Making the second defense of his 126-pound title, the fighter out of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Ukraine will be going for his third straight win overall when he battles Rodriguez.

An accomplished veteran from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Rodriguez gets an opportunity on boxing’s biggest stage when he battles Lomachenko. The 28-year-old has not lost a fight since 2009 and has 17 consecutive victories since a technical draw in 2010. He won twice in 2014, picking up a unanimous decision victory over Orlando Cruz and a second round TKO over Martin Cardona.

Fighting out of Philadelphia, Hart was an accomplished amateur who was a 2012 U.S. Olympic alternate after earning a U.S. National Championship and a National Golden Gloves Championship. The 25-year-old will fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for the first time since his professional debut in 2005 when he stopped Manuel Eastman in the first round. This time, he will look to remain undefeated and catapult himself to contender status.

Undefeated and facing the biggest challenge of his career, the 27-year-old Jimenez will make his Las Vegas debut on May 2. Having already delivered a second round knockout over Kevin Engel in 2015 the fighter out of Chicago will look to impress on the biggest stage of his career against Hart.

A three-time National Golden Gloves Champion, Solomon fights out of Lafayette, Louisiana and is aiming to maintain his perfect record.. The 31-year-old picked up victories in 2014 over Eduardo Flores, Freddy Hernandez and Arman Ovsepyan. Solomon takes on the 25-year-old Granados out of Cicero, Illinois.

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao is a 12-round welterweight world championship unification bout promoted by Mayweather Promotions and Top Rank Inc., and is sponsored by Tecate con caracter, Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions –Terminator Genisys, in theaters July 1st, Paramount Pictures & Skydance Productions present MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION, in theaters & IMAX July 31st, The Weinstein Company and the new movie Southpaw, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, in theaters everywhere July 24 and Mexico, Live it to Believe it. The pay-per-view telecast will be co-produced and co-distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View® and SHOWTIME PPV® beginning at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT.

April 22, 2015


Filed under: News — Tags: — The Fight Nerd @ 12:54 PM


GLORY, the world’s premier kickboxing league, today announced the full fight card for its first visit to San Diego as Valley View Casino Center hosts GLORY 21 on Friday, May 8. The event airs live on Spike TV at 11/10c.

GLORY’s middleweight title is on the line in the headline bout as reigning champion Artem “The Lion” Levin (50-4-1, 33 KOs) of Russia defends his belt against Canadian muay thai world champion Simon “Bad Bwoy” Marcus (42-2-1, 24 KOs). The challenger Marcus earned his title shot in April at GLORY 20 by defeating Wayne Barrett and Jason Wilnis on the same night to win the Middleweight Contender Tournament. Having met once before under muay thai rules, Marcus earned a unanimous decision nod over Levin in March of 2013.

In the co-headline bout, American karate world champion and human highlight reel Raymond “The Real Deal” Daniels (26-2, 16 KOs) squares off with veteran MMA welterweight Justin “Raw Deal” Baesman (16-7, 4 KOs in MMA) under GLORY rules.

In association with Veteran Operation Wellness (VOW), GLORY will host its second armed forces exhibition bout featuring Devin Goodale of the US Navy competing against US Marine Corps veteran Kyle Stewart at middleweight.

VOW is a Spike campaign created to inspire veterans to make the same commitment to their health and wellness that they made to their country.

Originally announced as an All-American Heavyweight Qualification Tournament, GLORY’s one-night, four-man spectacle has received a British infusion as “Chopper” Chi Lewis-Parry (5-0, 1 KO) steps in for Cody East to face American Everett “Wolverine” Sims (0-1) in the first of two semi-final match-ups. On the other side of the bracket, heavy handed Xavier “X-Man” Vigney (6-1, 6 KOs) battles Maurice “The Gorilla” Jackson (31-0, 23 KOs).

After meeting and defeating two opponents in a single night, the tournament winner will be granted entry into GLORY’s Heavyweight Contender Tournament later this year.

The full fight card for GLORY 21 can be found below:

Middleweight Title Headline Bout: Artem Levin vs. Simon Marcus
Welterweight Co-Headline Bout: Raymond Daniels vs. Justin Baesman
Middleweight Armed Forces Exhibition Bout: Devin Goodale vs. Kyle Stewart
Heavyweight Qualification Tournament Bout: Chi Lewis-Parry vs. Everett Sims
Heavyweight Qualification Tournament Bout: Xavier Vigney vs. Maurice Jackson

March 31, 2015

Court Dismisses UFC’s lawsuit against NY

Filed under: News — The Fight Nerd @ 7:59 PM

Judge Kimba Wood of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled on UFC and other Plaintiffs’ claim that New York’s mixed martial arts (MMA) law is so vaguely written that reasonable people could not understand what it prohibited.

While avoiding ruling on the legality of New York’s MMA statute on technical grounds, the judge advised UFC to “consider filing new vagueness claims.” She said that the Attorney General’s “recent statements that the Ban prohibits sanctioned MMA” were made “despite [the law’s] plain language to the contrary.”

The Court’s decision confirms that New York law allows sanctioned professional MMA and that the AG is wrong in prohibiting it. UFC is a responsible corporate citizen and has chosen not to act contrary to the AG’s position, even though that position is legally unsustainable.

UFC, through the legislative process, has worked for years to have professional MMA legalized in New York, as it is in every other state in the nation. New York’s law was passed in 1997, when MMA was in its infancy and lacked the safety regulations that the UFC has introduced over the last decade.

The poorly written law, as interpreted by the State Athletic Commission, prohibits professional MMA, but allows (without State regulation) martial arts events that combine martial arts styles, like K-1 and Muay Thai. Also the law – which the AG conceded in this lawsuit does not prohibit amateur MMA – leaves amateur MMA wholly unregulated, a fact the Association Boxing Commissioners have condemned.

UFC and the Plaintiffs are considering all options, including an appeal of the decision and the Court’s suggestion that they file new claims challenging the law.

The plaintiffs are being represented in this action by Barry Friedman, the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, and Jamie A. Levitt of Morrison & Foerster LLP in New York.

Via press release from the UFC

March 25, 2015

“WWE” and “Tapout” join forces with new strategic partnership

Filed under: News — The Fight Nerd @ 12:17 PM


WWE (NYSE: WWE) and Authentic Brands Group, LLC (ABG) today announced a joint venture for Tapout, a newly repositioned fitness lifestyle brand. Tapout is now the official fitness and training partner of WWE, and will be integrated across WWE’s global platforms including TV programming, WWE Network, pay-per-view broadcasts, live events, digital, and social media.

“Tapout was ABG’s first acquisition and it continues to be a global brand with strong sales and blue chip partners all over the world. We have a very strong commitment to the brand’s ongoing success,” said Jamie Salter, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ABG. “WWE is a media and entertainment force and we are excited to partner with them on Tapout’s future growth.”

“WWE is always looking for new opportunities to partner with best-in-class organizations, develop new products for our fans and drive shareholder value,” said WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. “This joint venture aligns with our strategic approach, and we look forward to building the Tapout brand.”

As part of this strategic partnership, WWE will create new content featuring its Superstars and Divas in Tapout apparel and market the brand across all platforms. Tapout branding will also be featured at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, and all performers, trainers, and staff will be outfitted in Tapout™ workout apparel.

“WWE’s expansive reach provides a global platform to broaden Tapout’s presence and consumer base,” said Nick Woodhouse, President and Chief Marketing Officer of ABG. “This is a powerhouse pairing given the synergy between Tapout’s brand promise to be the premiere hard-body fitness brand, and WWE’s commitment to training and fitness.”

“Combining ABG’s strengths in retail brand development, licensing and distribution with WWE’s marketing expertise, global reach and passionate fan base, makes for a powerful partnership,” said Michelle D. Wilson, WWE Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer. “The Tapout brand will enable us to expand into new product categories and further grow our current $1 billion consumer product retail business.”

The next generation of Tapout™ preserves the original brand essence and drives a hard-body, fitness-centric message positioned around motivation, discipline and determination. An all new line of men’s and women’s performance apparel and accessories will launch at retail in Spring 2016. New Tapout™ branding and packaging will roll out in key categories throughout 2015 starting with beverages, supplements and fitness centers.

Via Press Release

March 23, 2015

Two title fights headline UFC 189

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 7:40 PM

In one of the most anticipated matchups in UFC® history, reigning featherweight champion Jose Aldo goes head-to-head with Irish superstar Conor McGregor in the main event of UFC 189, Saturday, July 11 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Plus, newly crowned welterweight champion Robbie Lawler makes his first title defense against No. 2 Rory MacDonald in the co-main event. The two world title fights will be the signature events of UFC’s International Fight Week™, which kicks off July 7 in Las Vegas, the home of the UFC.

Aldo (25-1, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), second in the pound-for-pound rankings, looks to continue his historic reign and remain the only featherweight champion in UFC history. He will attempt an eighth straight successful title defense against polarizing Irish sensation McGregor (17-2, fighting out of Dublin, Ireland), a winner of 13 straight. After several heated exchanges through the press and social media, these adversaries will finally meet in the five-round main event. The talking ends July 11.


Plus, UFC welterweight champion Lawler (25-10, 1NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.) will make his first title defense in a rematch against a young and hungry MacDonald (18-2, fighting out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada). Lawler handed MacDonald his only loss in the last five years at UFC 167 in November 2013, and then went on to defeat top-ranked contenders Jake Ellenberger and Matt Brown before taking the 170-pound title from Johny Hendricks by decision. MacDonald has rattled off three straight wins over Demian Maia, Tyron Woodley and Tarec Saffiedine to secure his title shot and rematch with the champ.

Additional bouts will be announced soon.

March 21, 2015

Bellator MMA signs wrestling star Bobby Lashley to a long-term contract extension

Filed under: News — Tags: , — The Fight Nerd @ 7:30 PM

lashley bellator

Bellator MMA announced today that superstar heavyweight Bobby Lashley (12-2) has signed a long-term contract extension with the promotion. Lashley is a perfect 2-0 under the Bellator banner, and 10 of his 12 victories have come by way of stoppage.

The 6’3 wrestling standout started training in the sport at age 12, and would go on to win several titles including three National Championships at Missouri Valley College, an NAIA National Championship, a CISM World Championship Silver Medal and a two-time Armed Forces Wrestling Championship when he served in the United States Army.

With his amazing wrestling pedigree, “The Dominator” signed a developmental contract with the WWE in 2004 and made his professional debut for the organization in 2005. Lashley would go on to fight for ECW and TNA as well, but wanted to prove himself in the world of MMA.

In 2008, Lashley began training in MMA full time with the American Top Team (ATT) gym in Coconut Creek Florida. He would later open his own ATT gym in Denver, CO, and trains between the two facilities with several respected athletes including Josh Barnett, Antonio “Big Foot Silva”, and Todd Duffee.

“I’ve had two fights with Bellator, and I’m happy to be calling the promotion my home,” said Lashley. “Scott Coker and the company have really reignited my desire to fight and I’m looking forward to a huge year with some dominant wins.”

March 20, 2015

Superhero “Phoenix Jones” makes WSOF debut at WSOF 20 on April 10

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 2:35 PM

A war hero versus a real-life superhero – both fast-rising stars in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Who do you root for?

That is the question that fans will be faced with when Emmanuel Walo (7-2-1) squares off with undefeated Ben Fodor (5-0-1), also known as costumed crime fighter “Phoenix Jones,” in a welterweight (170 pounds) contest at the much-anticipated WSOF 20: Branch vs. Markes event at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. on Friday, April 10, live on NBCSN.

“This is a matchup between two of the most prolific prospects in our great sport, and a fabulous addition to our first-ever event in Conn. that is already stacked with a tremendous lineup of talent,” said WSOF President, six-time world champion and two-time Hall of Famer Ray Sefo.

Another new addition to the WSOF 20 fight card will see Steve Mocco (4-1) of Coconut Creek, Fla. battle Juliano Coutinho (6-1) of West Yarmouth, Mass. in a heavyweight tilt.

In the midst of his fourth year as a professional fighter, the 28-year-old Walo of Jersey City, N.J. is also a member of the National Guard who saw action in Iraq during the war there. It was while he was stationed in Iraq that Walo was introduced to MMA through a fellow U.S. military operative and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt who offered to teach Walo

After returning home from combat, Walo followed what had become his passion, reeling off a 2-0 record in amateur MMA competition in 2011, before making the jump to the professional ranks.

Walo received a rude awakening in his professional debut on Dec. 10, 2011, losing a unanimous decision to Michael Wilcox, but rebounded and went unbeaten in his next eight starts.

The 26-year-old Fodor of Seattle, Wash. signed a multi-fight contract last week with WSOF after being covered in a compelling feature segment on ESPN SportsCenter that profiled his strenuous lifestyle as both a prize fighter and a costumed crime fighter dedicated to curbing street crimes and assisting people in distress in Seattle’s streets.

Fodor is coming off a third round (3:06) technical submission (rear-naked choke) victory over Jason Novelli on Feb. 21, 2015.

In the main event, reigning WSOF World Middleweight (185 pounds) Champion David Branch (15-3) will move up to light heavyweight (205 pounds) and face off with fellow Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Ronny Markes (15-3) in what represents the second bout of the multi-event WSOF tournament that will crown its winner the promotion’s inaugural world light heavyweight champion.

In the lightweight (155 pounds) co-main event, Melvin “The Young” Assassin Guillard (32-14-2, 2 NC) of New Orleans, La. will collide with fellow hard-hitting, KO artist Ozzy Dugulubgov (6-2) of Hackensack, N.J.

Leading off the live NBCSN telecast that will begin at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT, is another lightweight matchup between Nick Newell (11-1) of Springfield, Mass. and Joe Condon (12-7) of Victorville, Calif.

wsof 20 poster

March 18, 2015

WBC will present custom Emerald Belt to winner of Mayweather VS Pacquiao

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 1:44 PM

After an intense voting week, fans have ruled that the winner of MEGA-FIGHT between Mayweather vs. Pacquiao will triumphantly hold aloft … The Emerald Belt!

This exquisite masterpiece is especially designed by the World Boxing Council for a unique bout that is already gracing the pages of boxing history.


In order to appropriately recognize the winner of this titanic and epic event on May 2nd, emeralds have triumphed. It was a very close decision, as the emerald belt won by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent for the onyx belt. The emerald-studded belt cost $1 million to make and will only be given to the winner of the May 2 fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Read more:
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

The World Boxing Council is very grateful to the multitude of fans who participated in this process by voting on our web page to choose the historic belt Mayweather or Pacquiao will proudly possess.

Via press release

March 1, 2015

Liam McGeary becomes Bellator MMA’s first British champion at “British Invasion” – Bellator MMA 134 Results

bellator134 newton liam

Englishman Liam McGeary (10-0) kept his professional record unblemished, capping off a successful “British Invasion” and claiming the Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight title with a five-round decision win over former champion Emanuel Newton (25-8-1). The contest served as the headlining bout of Friday’s “Bellator MMA: British Invasion” event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

McGeary attacked from the start, as he used his lanky frame and incredible grappling to move from submission attempt to submission attempt in entertaining fashion. From triangle choke to kimura to armbar, McGeary was constantly on the move, but Newton showed capable defense and pulled free from each hold. Despite the obvious danger on the ground, Newton continued to take the fight to the floor in the second round, working from his opponent’s extremely active guard. Once again, McGeary’s submission attempts were relentless, but Newton pulled free from each hold.

The remainder of the fight played out in similar fashion, with Newton able to take the fight to the floor with ease but forced to defend constant grappling attacks from McGeary. Both fighters could make arguments for the win, with Newton enjoying extended stretches in the dominant position. However, McGeary’s constant offense set the tone for the action. In the end, judges sided with McGeary, awarding him the win with scores of 48-46, 48-47 and 48-47.

McGeary remains perfect through the first 10 fights of his career. Meanwhile, Newton sees a seven-fight winning streak come to an end. “It was a close fight,” Newton said. “I was on the ground. I didn’t stop hitting and moving with triangle hits. That guy is so slippery and tough.”

In the night’s co-feature, light heavyweight contender Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal (15-4) moved up to the heavyweight division and earned an impressive decision win over Cheick Kongo (22-10-2). Facing a massive size differential, Lawal turned to his wrestling base rather than try and trade with the bigger man. The plan worked, as Lawal controlled the action in the clinch and racked up points with takedowns. While the crowd tried to entice Lawal to take a more risky approach, “King Mo” remained disciplined in his approach and cruised to what looked like a clear-cut decision win, though he had to settle for a split result, 30-27, 28-29 and 29-28.

“I don’t agree with the split decision at all,” Lawal said after the fight. “I won all three rounds. He knows he lost that fight. I got the victory and that’s all that matters. Wrestling works and it showed in this fight. “I have a great coaching staff at American Top Team. I could’ve gone another two rounds. At the end of the third round, I knew he was gassed, so I just walked him off. I hope to get the chance to fight for a title next.”

In welterweight action, Brazilian veteran Andre “Chatuba” Santos (37-10) proved himself a game opponent against Paul “Semtex” Daley (36-13-2), but the British slugger ultimately cruised to a decision win.

In typical Daley fashion, he fired heavy punches on the feet, looking for the knockout. However, Santos proved resilient, answering with strikes of his own while also looking to work from the clinch. The action went back and forth for the opening two rounds before Daley took over in the third.

An early Daley knockdown set the tone for the final frame, and Daley worked hard for the finish. Santos, however, simply wouldn’t quit, and despite being dominated in the final round, he did survive until the final bell, where Daley was awarded a decision win.

“It feels good to be back in MMA; I was a little rusty,” Daley, who had been focusing on his kickboxing career, admitted after the win. “This guy was so tough. I caught him with heavy, wild shots, and normally I would’ve taken my opponent out in the second or third round, but he didn’t quit; he has a ton of heart. It was a great fight.”

Fighting for the first time since a failed bid for the Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight World Title, Linton “The Swarm” Vassell (15-4) scored a second-round TKO over Rameau “The African Assassin” Sokoudjou (16-13). Vassell controlled the action from the start, taking Sokoudjou to the floor and scoring with ground-and-pound blows while hunting out opportunities to end the fight with a submission. That opening would come in the second round.

Again working hard to take the fight to the floor, Vassell refused to give Sokoudjou any room to work, scoring top position and utilizing superior grappling skills. Sokoudjou was unable to get back to his feet, and Vassell eventually unleashed a flurry of strikes that earned the stoppage at the 3:18 mark of the second. “I wanted to finish him in the first round,” Vassell said after the win. “He held my arms and stopped me from taking him down. “It feels great representing my country and to come here and fight in front of all the American fans is a great honor.”

In the night’s first main-card contest, welterweight Brennan “The Irish Bad Boy” Ward (10-3) made quick work of “Courteous” Curtis Millender (7-1), needing just 64 seconds to score a submission win. The two went toe-to-toe on the feet to open, and it appeared Millender was getting the best of the initial exchanges. But after coming up short on a takedown, Ward scored a crisp two-punch combination that sent his opponent to the floor. Ward took advantage of the opening, hopping on his opponent’s back and sinking in a rear-naked choke, ending the fight at the 1:37 mark of the first round. “You know me, man,” Ward said after the quick win. “I come straight at guys like always.”

In bouts shown on Spike TV, around the world on, hometown fighters did not disappoint here at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT as Blair Tugman (North Haven), Matt Bessette (Hartford) and Dean Hancock (Danbury) all won their bouts in impressive fashion. Tugman (7-5) started off the night with a dominating performance over Marvin Maldonado (2-4) of Latham, N.Y, scored 30-26, 30-27 twice, all in favor of Tugman.

“Felt great to get another win in Bellator against a tough opponent in Marvin,” said Tugman. “I was excited to fight in front of my home crowd. I have a great coach (Andrew Calandrelli) and training partners at Ultimate MMA Training Center in North Haven, CT. And was confident that if I implemented my game plan I would come out with the victory. I’m upset I didn’t finish Marvin but he’s a tough guy to finish. I hope my dominant performance shows Bellator I am ready for bigger fights.

Bessette (14-6), who was able to break free of Josh Laberge’s (9-5) attack by striking him with power punches and stuns to the jaw. “Everything went right tonight, I won,” said an ecstatic Bessette.” I was able to throw my power shots and did to him what he does to other people. “I got the win, which is the most important thing. Josh [Laberge] gave me an awesome fight and I couldn’t be happier.”

In a swing bout, Hancock looked poised in his professional debut against Mike Mangan (0-3), despite early jitters. “It felt great coming out of the cage, the first few seconds were like a blur to me,” said Hancock. “Once I got my bearings I was able to go to work and do what I do best. It was a huge moment for me.

“I feel like I belong in Bellator, it was great to get my first professional win. I need to just keep moving forward.”

New York transplant Neiman Gracie did what Gracie’s do best: win via rear naked choke at 2:36 of round 1 over Massachusetts’s Bobby Flynn (4-3). With the win, Gracie keeps his unbeaten streak intact at 3-0.

Also from New York, Binghamton’s Tamdan McCrory (13-3) scored an armbar victory over Jason Butcher (8-2) at 1:06 of the first frame.

Emergency! Raphael Butler is now 9-1-1 after scoring a guillotine choke victory over Josh Diekmann (15-6) at 1:04 of round 1.

Main Card Results

Liam McGeary def Emanuel Newton by unanimous decision (48-46, 48-47, 48-47) to win Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight title

Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal def. Cheick Kongo by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)

Paul Daley def. Andre Santos by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Linton Vassell def. Rameau Sokoudjou by TKO (punches) – Round 2, 3:18

Brennan Ward def. Curtis Millender by submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 1:37

Preliminary Card Results

Dean Hancock def. Mike Mangan by submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 1:33

Matt Bessette def. Josh LaBerge by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) – Round 2, 5:00

Raphael Butler def. Josh Diekmann by submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 1:04

Tamdan McCrory def. Jason Butcher by submission (armbar) – Round 1, 1:06

Neiman Gracie def. Bobby Flynn by submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:36

Blair Tugman def. Marvin Maldonado by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)

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