Jansen wasted no time getting the action started, opening up the fight with a push kick. He delivered leg kicks. From the clinch, Jansen landed a series of knees to the body. His aggression kept the champion on the defense. In the final minute of the frame Brooks settled in, but Jansen won the round.
Brooks made Jansen miss in the second round and landed counter strikes. He landed kicks to the challenger’s body as it appeared that Jansen’s pace slowed. It was an even fight after two rounds.
Brooks continued his body kick attack in the third. He secured a takedown midway through the stanza, but Jansen proved difficult to control and scrambled back to his feet. Jansen looked to get the fight to the ground a couple of times, but Brooks shook off the attempts. At the end of the third, Brooks looked like the fresher fighter.
Jansen’s output began to fade as the fight wore on. He tried to put Brooks on his back but was unsuccessful. Brooks opened up with his offense inside the clinch position, delivering knees to the body and uppercuts.
Jansen tried to mount an attack in the final frame, but fatigue had clearly set in. Brooks applied pressure and peppered Jansen with short shots along the cage. Jansen’s bloodied face told the story. Outside of the opening round, it was all Brooks. And the judges agreed, scoring Brooks the winner by unanimous decision.
“It feels amazing, especially to fight a guy like Dave Jansen,” said Brooks following his first title defense. “Dave Jansen showed his warrior spirit tonight. I hit him with some hard shorts. I felt like I was going to break my hand. That guy is tough as hell. I’m just excited.”
Schilling took the center of the cage and pressed forward. After Schilling landed a combination, Carvalho closed the distance and tied up the kickboxing standout. They separated and exchanged. Carvalho caught a body kick and took Schilling down, but Schilling immediately reversed the position. He stood up out of Carvalho’s guard, but Carvalho initiated the clinch.
Schilling danced and taunted Carvalho in the second frame with his hands down. Carvalho closed the distance and the two battled for position along the fence. Carvalho secured a takedown and delivered right hands. Schilling was active off his back, but Carvalho maintained top position. Schilling worked his way back to his feet, but was unable to free himself from Carvalho’s clinch. After two rounds, the fight was even heading into the final frame.
Schilling came out aggressive in the final round. He pressed forward and knocked Carvalho to a knee with a right hand. Carvalho clinched and let the cobwebs clear. He took Schilling down. Schilling isolated a leg and worked for a foot lock, but wasn’t in proper position to finish the submission attempt. Carvalho escaped and secured another takedown. He landed hammer fists. Schilling rolled, but Carvalho maintained dominant position. He finished the round in side control delivering knees to the body of Schilling. Two of the judges felt Carvalho did enough, and the scorecards revealed he won by split decision.
Held, a leg lock specialist, quickly isolated a leg in the opening round and worked to secure a heel hook. Sarnavskiy defended the submission attempt, but found himself on the bottom. He was able to sweep Held late in the round, but found himself defending another heel hook.
Sarnavskiy pressed forward in the second round, but Held closed the distance and secured a trip takedown. He mounted Sarnavskiy, but the Russian gained top position after a failed triangle choke attempt by Held. Sarnavskiy got back to his feet only to be taken down again. After two rounds, Held was in complete control of the fight.
Held’s submission tenacity paid off in the final frame. While the two were clinched along the cage, Held dropped down and rolled for a kneebar. Sarnavskiy let out a scream in pain and referee “Big” John McCarthy stopped the fight due to verbal submission. The end came at 1:11 of the final round.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Held following the win. “I was trying this (kneebar) in the first round, but he doesn’t tap. In the third he was pretty tough.”
With the win over Sarnavskiy, Held expects to fight for the title in his next outing.
“I’m sure I’ll be fighting for the title next,” he said.
Heavyweights kicked off the main card with former champion Alexander Volkov against Tony Johnson.
Johnson utilized his wrestling pedigree to pressure Volkov and eliminate the space the Russian needed to effectively strike. He controlled the positioning and kept the fight in close along the cage. When they were at distance, Volkov had success, but he was unable to defend Johnson’s grappling.
Volkov threatened with a kimura from his back in the second frame, but was unable to secure the submission. Through the first two rounds, Johnson’s ability to get on the inside and tie Volkov up was the story of the fight.
Volkov had his best round in the final frame. He delivered knees to the body from the clinch position and fended off Johnson’s takedown attempts. After a referee separation, Volkov delivered combinations. It was too little too late. After fifteen minutes of fighting, the judges scored the fight for Johnson via split decision.
Bellator 136 Results:
Will Brooks def. Dave Jansen by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
Rafael Carvalho def. Joe Schilling by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Marcin Held def. Alexander Sarnavskiy by submission (kneebar) at 1:11, R3
Tony Johnson def. Alexander Volkov by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
John Teixeira def. Fabricio Guerrero by split decision (29-28 28-29 29-28)
Saad Awad def. Rob Sinclair by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Joey Beltran def. Brian Rogers by majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-27)