Bellator 132 took place in Temecula, Calif., on Friday night, kicking off the promotion’s New Year and new format, shifting away from the old tournament driven structure to a more traditional feature-fight format.
Straus took the center of the cage from the opening bell, but it was soon evident that he was having trouble matching the speed of the champion. He did, however, utilize his size and reach advantage well in the opening frame, landing some heavy blows.
The early part of the second round was marred by Straus repeatedly landing unintentional low blows, which cost him a point; but the fight continued. After the point deduction, the two engaged in a tremendous ground battle for the remainder of the round, but Pitbull started to take the advantage with a couple solid knees to the body as the round closed.
Straus did a good job to take control in round three, using his reach to effectively attack with his striking, opening a cut over Pitbull’s right eye. The champion turned the tables for a portion of the round, getting Straus to the mat, keeping it close.
It didn’t need to be close, however, as Pitbull showed why he has the belt around his waist once the fight entered the championship rounds.
Straus kept attacking in the fourth frame, even sending Pitbull briefly to the canvas, courtesy of a sharp left hand. Pitbull kept trading and eventually sent Straus to the mat as well. Referee John McCarthy stepped in, Pitbull thinking he had won, only to find out the action was halted due to an unintentional low blow.
Once they restarted, Straus kept attacking, but there was now a fire burning in Pitbull, and the champion did what champions do, he found a way to win. He got Straus to the mat again, this time without the aid of a low blow, and took him out with a rear-naked choke to defend his belt.
“He’s one of the best fighters on the planet, but I stuck to my game plan, I had a better game plan… and still!” Pitbull declared after the fight.
Georgi Karakhanyan returned to Bellator following a stint with World Series of Fighting. He told MMAWeekly.com before the fight that he came back to “take care of unfinished business,” and he certainly didn’t leave anything unfinished on Friday night.
Bubba Jenkins quickly shot and slammed Karakhanyan to the mat, but Karakhanyan scrambled in the process and locked in a guillotine choke.
Jenkins escaped and returned the fight to the feet, but he again shot in, and again Karakhanyan sunk in the guillotine choke, this time putting Jenkins to sleep less than two minutes into the fight.
The victory earned Karakhanyan the next shot at Freire for the featherweight title sometime later this year.
Houston Alexander and Virgil Zwicker’s first fight ended in a majority draw when Alexander was deducted a point for repeated illegal headbutts. It didn’t come down to that in the rematch, although it was a very close fight.
The fight was back-and-forth for the majority of all three rounds, but Zwicker poured it on in the waning moments of the final round, and that was enough to get two of the three judges to see it in his favor. When all was said and done, Zwicker won a narrow split-decision.
Fernando Gonzalez and Marius Zaromskis was less a mixed martial arts bout than a kickboxing contest, as their fight went the duration. But after 15 minutes of back-and-forth striking, Gonzalez’s pace and overall output swayed all three judges in his favor for a unanimous decision victory.
Bellator 132 Results
Patricio Freire def. Daniel Straus by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 4:49, R4
Georgi Karakhanyan def. Bubba Jenkins by Technical Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 1:49, R1
Virgil Zwicker def. Houston Alexander by Split Decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
Fernando Gonzalez def. Marius Zaromskis by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Everett Cummings def. Jason Glaza by Technical Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 1:55, R2
John Salter def. Dustin Jacoby by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 3:33, R2
Steve Kozola def. Jonathan Rivera by Knockout (Punches) at 1:25, R2
Derek Anderson def. Danny Navarro by TKO (Punches) at 3:51, R3
Albert Morales def. Fabian Gonzalez by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 3:12, R2
Chris Herrera def. Luc Bondole by Knockout (Punches) at 3:21, R2