Vitaly Minakov defeated Cheick Kongo to defend the Bellator heavyweight championship and more! Check out 411's Bellator 115 report for all the details!
Reno Events Center
Live on Spike TV, we are taken to the Reno Events Center in Nevada for Bellator 115. Tonight, we will see the heavyweight championship up for grabs along with three random fights thanks to last-minute changes yesterday at the weigh-ins. The planned middleweight tournament semifinal was scratched because Jeremy Kimball could not make weight while the Bellator welterweight tournament semifinal has been postponed because Andrey Koreshkov is ill with the flu.
But, before the main card coverage, here's a quick look at what went down earlier during the prelims.
Rudy Morales def. Jimmy Jones via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Rick Reeves def. James Terry via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Sinjen Smith def. Jason Powell via submission (armbar), 1:52 of Round 1
Benito Lopez def. Oscar Ramirez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
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INTRO: Sean Wheelock and Jimmy Smith bring us the action live from ringside and we're thrown right to the first fight of the evening.
CATCHWEIGHT BOUT (195 LBS): Johnny Cisneros (8-2) vs. Mikkel Parlo (11-2)
You should recognize Parlo out of Denmark as he has participated in two Bellator tournaments at middleweight. Over a year ago, he lost in the quarterfinals to Sultan Aliev before losing in the fall in the season nine finals to Brennan Ward. This will be his first fight since that loss and he is considered the favorite. His opponent is covered in tattoos, Johnny "Tattooed Terror" Cisneros, a mainstay in the King of the Cage group. He won his last fight on Halloween by unanimous decision.
ROUND ONE: Jason Herzog is the referee. They touch gloves, Parlo follows with a kick as Cisneros looks for a takedown and they end up clinched against the cage. Now Parlo shoots for a double-leg and gets it. Cisneros gets up but Parlo maintains a grip in the clinch. Back against the cage, Cisneros fights him off with a combination, but they end up back on the ground following a Parlo takedown, and he ends up in half guard. Back standing, Parlo throws a pair of uppercuts but Cisneros fires back with body shots. Mikkel desperately wants to maintain the clinch, and turns it into his third takedown of the round. Cisneros rises again and eats a couple of punches on the way up. Separated, Cisneros fires with more punches and Parlo throws a head kick before shooting in for ANOTHER takedown and end up in the open guard. Back standing, Cisneros lands a few body shots and an uppercut. Parlo throws a long overhand but doesn't land it flush, back in the clinch against the cage and Parlo lands a knee to the body.
SCORECARD:Mikkel Parlo 10-9. Easy to see as he pushed the pace and succeeded with a series of takedowns although neither man did much in the way of damage.
ROUND TWO: Parlo is moving forward with strikes while Cisneros throws a combination nfo his own. Cisneros throws Parlo to the ground but cannot do much with the move and ends up on his back, Parlo moves to half guard. Cisneros is eating punches on the cage. Trying to get up, Cisneros ends up mounted as Parlo is patient before unloading with strikes. Cisneros turns to his back and is eating more shots, Parlo looks for a rear naked choke but Johnny is defending as best he can. Cisneros turns again and is still mounted as Parlo is feeding him a steady dose of punches and elbows. Parlo may not be hurting him but he's landing punches in bunches.
SCORECARD: Parlo 10-9. (Parlo 20-18) I wouldn't even mind a 10-8 score but in fairness, Parlo never truly came close to stopping the fight.
ROUND 3: Cisneros definitely needs to finish this to pick up the win. They trade takedown attempts before Parlo ends up on top, in half guard. Parlo rides him and Cisneros cannot do anything to get back to his feet. Parlo takes his back, locks in his hooks and lands more ground strikes. The rest of the round is much of the same as Parlo closes it out from the mount position.
SCORECARD: Parlo 10-9. (Parlo 30-27)
OFFICIAL RESULT: Mikkel Parlo def. Johnny Cisneros via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Not the most exciting fight but Parlo was clearly the better fighter in the cage. Cisneros had no answer for the takedowns or anything once the fight went to the ground.
Airing during the break is an ad for Glory Kickboxing next Saturday on Spike TV with Tyrone Spong in action.
LIGHT HEVYWEIGHT BOUT: Volkan Oezdemir (10-0) vs. Kelly Anundson (6-2)
Undefeated Swiss prospect Volkan "Cousin" Oezdemir debuted in America in October when he defeated Josh Lanier in the Bellator cage. All but one of his wins have come inside the first round. Kelly Anundson fights out of American Top Team and makes his Bellator debut 17 months after his last fight, a win in November 2012. He fought Francis Carmont in 2011 and was submitted via armbar, for those humongous Francis Carmont fans.
ROUND ONE: Herb Dean is the referee. Noted prior to the fight is the fact that these two fighters are buddies and training partners. They trade kicks and Anundson slips, eats a punch but returns to his feet. A left hand from Anundson doesn't do much damage. Anundson has a body lock and gets the fight to the ground. Oezdemir is trying to get back to his feet and does, but Anundson maintains hold. Oezdemir holds the fence to avoid the takedown and receives a warning from Herb Dean. Clinched against the cage, Anundson scores another takedown, pure power. And a third takedown, this one is a slam from Anundson. Oezdemir gives up his back and returns to his feet. Anundson, of course, won't let go but Oezdemir grabs hold of his neck and STILL gets put on his butt. Anundson is trying to pass to the half guard but the fight returns to the feet. Two additional takedowns over next minute and ANOTHER one. This is getting comical. Thirty seconds left, Oezdemir gets back up and they stand against the cage.
SCORECARD Kelly Anundson 10-9
ROUND TWO: Anundson ducks under a punch and scores another takedown. He takes Oezdemir's back, lands a few punches and it's abundantly clear that Anundson is the stronger of the two. Another takedown and Anundson goes for a Kimura as Oezdemir is trying to roll out of it and he does. Anundson rides him to the cage grabs hold of a neck crank and Oezdemir taps out.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Kelly Anundson def. Volkan Oezdemir via submission (neck crank) at 3:19 of Round 2
Anundson talks to Jimmy Smith and is pumped, letting out a "WOOOOO!" and "LET'S GO PARTY!!!" After a dominant performance like that, why the hell not?
WELTERWEIGHT BOUT: Herman Terrado (11-3) vs. Justin Baesman (14-4)
Terrado will look to bounce back from his decision loss to Rick Hawn in the fall's welterweight tournament opener. Prior to that, he had won seven consecutive fights, all finishes. Baesman is in the same boat, coming off a loss in the fall to Brent Weedman in the tournament.
ROUND ONE: Jason Herzog is the referee. Terrado begins as the aggressor and they are clinched against the cage. A few strikes from both men before they separate. Terrade goes for a single-leg and takes Baesman down. Baesman wants a guillotine but can't get it and returns to his feet. Terrado goes for another single-leg takedown but cannot get it and now it's Baesman who is in control of the clinch against the cage. He may have a guillotine choke but Terrado gets out of any predicament. Terrado scores a takedown and ends up in the mount. He takes Baesman's back with both hooks. 90 seconds left, Terrado may have had a rear naked choke but Baesman looks to escape from the back. Terrado throws punches to the side of his head, flattens him out and throws more strikes including elbows. Baesman continues rolling around, but cannot lose Terrado. Finally, Baesman ends up on top and in Terrado's closed guard. Baesman now throws elbows as the round ends.
SCORECARD Herman Terrado 10-9
ROUND TWO: Terrado's hands are low, but I'm not sure if that his normal style or if he's at all tired. He lands a left hand but Baesman comes forward with a front kick and a punching combination. Baesman tries to take it to the ground and lands a knee to the body and now is trying for a guillotine choke again. Terrado kneels down to avoid eating a knee to the head. They switch and trade positioning but ends with Baesman on top and landing punches to Terrado on the ground. Terrado spins out of it with a kneebar attempt as Baesman lands a couple of punches. The referee warns Baesman for grabbing the cage, and both men return to their feet. Terrado is clearly tired and Baesman senses it, but goes for yet ANOTHER guillotine choke. He powers Terrado to the ground and is in his guard. From the guard, Baesman lands elbows and punches to Terrado's face, which is developing a mouse under one eye. 60 seconds left as Baesman continues dropping ground and pound. Terrado tries for an armbar but Baesman closes the distance and continues dropping punches and forearms. Terrado is completely gassed and eating a continue barrage of punches. He's still going for the armbar and Terrado's eye is now a bloody mess. Before the referee can stop the fight, the round is over!
SCORECARD: Justin Baesman 10-8, Baesman 19-18
ROUND THREE: They're swinging at each other, Terrado lands a few hooks and an overhand. Terrado is the aggressor again, seemingly gained a second wind between rounds. Baesman lands a pair of leg kicks and a jumping front kick. They trade jabs but Baesman takes him down. Terrado sweeps him and goes for the armbar. Baesman is trying to keep control of his right arm while Terrado seemingly has the position locked up. 130 seconds left as Terrado pulls the arm, BUT CANNOT FINISH. Baesman escapes and rises to the feet. Wonder if he had more energy if the fight would have been finished there. Standing, both men are noticeably tired. Spinning backfist attempt from Baesman whiffs. 60 seconds left and Terrado is going for a single-leg takedown and gets it. Terrado drops strikes on Baesman as the round ends.
SCORECARD: Herman Terrado, 10-9 (I have it a DRAW)
OFFICIAL RESULT: Herman Terrado and Justin Baesman fought to a split decision draw (29-28, 28-28, 28-28).
This was a heck of a fight as both men came close to scoring finishes. It resulted in a draw as two judges scored it as I did, a 10-8 2nd round. Terrado clearly won the odd numbered rounds but Baesman would have finished the fight if he had 10 more seconds at the end of the second, hence the 10-8 score.
Baesman was convinced he won, though I am not sure how he reached that conclusion.
HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT: Vitaly Minakov [c] (13-0) vs. Cheick Kongo (20-8-2)
Will this be Cheick Kongo's night and see him become a heavyweight champion for the first time since 2005 in Croatia? The Frenchman came to Bellator last year and won the shortened two-round heavyweight tournament, picking up wins against Mark Godbeer and Peter Graham. Aside from championship gold, a win tonight would bring him his first three-fight win streak since 2009. But first, he'll have to overcome the undefeated Russian champion in Vitaly Minakov. The Judo black belt and Sambo world champion has run through practically everyone in his four-year pro career (he actually debuted on April 10 in the Ukraine). Since moving to the United States (reppin' New Jersey), he has finished four fighters in the Bellator cage. Last summer's tournament saw him stop Ron Sparks in about thirty seconds before finishing Ryan Martinez in three rounds. Then, in November, he stopped champion Alex Volkov in under three minutes.
ROUND ONE: Herb Dean is the referee. Minakov accidentally kicked Kongo in the cup and the referee pauses the fight (Eric Prindle & Thiago Silva say what's up?!). Kongo takes a couple minutes as Dean warns Minakov for the kick. They resume and Minakov takes center cage, leaving Kongo to circle on the outside. Minakov grabs hold of Kongo and trips him, ending up in open guard. Kongo looking for a stand-up but the champion lands a series of strikes. Cheick trying to get back up and does, but he eats a knee to the groin in the process. The referee pauses the fight again. Kongo is on the mat, taking a breather. He has five minutes by rule before he's forced to make a decision to fight or stop.
The referee deducts one point from Vitaly Minakov, telling him to be careful in the future. The fight resumes. Kongo comes forward and lands punches but Minakov drops Kongo with a punch. On the ground, Minakov has a foot lock and Kongo tries to defend it. Minakov lost the foot lock and moves to half guard and the round ends soon after.
SCORECARD: 9-9 (due to the point deduction)
ROUND TWO: In the clinch, Kongo scores a takedown. The champion returns to his feet against the cage. Kongo and Minakov trade positioning and Minakov lands a knee to the body. Kongo acts like it was a groin shot and walks away but the referee tells him it was a clean shot and does not pause the fight. However, Kongo acts like he was hit in the groin while the referee continues to tell him that it was a legal strike. Unfortunately, Minakov does not speak English so he does not continue fighting either. Finally, after that brief awkward turn of events, the fight continues. Kongo lands a kick to the body. Kongo works the jab and follows up with another kick. Minakov throws a kick of his own and a punch as they clinch. Minakov hits him in the body with a knee and separate. Another right hand from Minakov rocks Kongo for a moment but the champion is not attacking. Minakov finally hits him with a straight but Kongo lands a punch of his own. Back in the clinch, the champion scores a takedown and ends up in the mount. Kongo turns and now must defend his back. Minakov throws strikes to the head with under 20 seconds left. Kongo turns out of the position and the round ends.
SCORECARD: Minakov 10-9 (Minakov 19-18)
ROUND THREE: They're swinging bombs. Kongo attacks and has the champion backpedalling. Clinched against the cage, Minakov takes Kongo down and is in half guard. Minakov spends two minutes working Kongo over on the ground with short punches. Kongo is now on his knees trying to get up and scores a double-leg takedown with two minutes left. Minakov is visibly tired. Kongo is warned twice for grabbing his opponent's shorts. Back standing, Kongo shoots for another takedown, perhaps the slowest takedown you will see all year. Minakov sweeps and is on top, landing punches to the body from side control. Big punches to Kongo's body with 30 seconds left. More punches to the body as Kongo cannot do much to defend them as the round ends.
SCORECARD: Minakov 10-9 (Minakov 29-27)
ROUND FOUR: It's the first time either man have been in the championship rounds. Kongo starts with a right hand but Minakov clinches and Kongo ends up on top against the cage. Back standing, Kongo tries for a double-leg and scores. Kongo maintains the position, trying to pull him away from the cage. No big strikes are being thrown from either man. Minakov stands back up but is taken down again. Under two minutes remain. Kongo throws elbows to the thigh of the champion. Finally, with about 10 seconds left, the referee stands them up. Kongo lands a knee but is taken down by Minakov as the round ends.
SCORECARD: Kongo 10-9 (Minakov 38-37)
If Kongo takes the final round, it's a draw in my book.
The referee warns Kongo between rounds against grabbing the shorts.
ROUND FIVE: Minakov shoots right in and scores the takedown. In half guard, Minakov is looking to smother Kongo. Some left punches are landed by the champion to Kongo's head. A minute goes by in this position. Kongo's only defense appears to be looking for a stand-up from the referee. Minakov continues dropping punches to avoid the stand-up at the 3:00 mark. This continues until Minakov takes the mount position with 2:00 left. Minakov dropping punches and Kongo trying to cover up. 70 seconds remaining in the final round. Minakov drops more punches and Kongo has no answer for this at all. The round ends after a minute of this.
SCORECARD: Minakov 10-9 (Minakov 48-46)
OFFICIAL RESULT: Vitaly Minakov, retaining the Bellator Heavyweight Championship, def. Cheick Kongo via unanimous decision (48-46, 48-46, 48-46)