Press Release courtesy of Bellator Fighting Championships
Bellator Fighting Championships returned to its backyard on Thursday night at the historic Chicago Theatre with Bellator 25, featuring Season 3 heavyweight and women’s tournament fights.
Owning the fireworks of the night was Season 2 welterweight tournament finalist Dan Hornbuckle and UFC vet Brad Blackburn in a special feature fight. Blackburn showed crisp striking early, connecting with an uppercut that knocked Hornbuckle to the ground. Hornbuckle found his range in the second round, landing brutal body kicks followed by quick jabs that eventually scored a knockdown late in the round. In third and final round, each fighter was content to stand and bang, leaving it all in the cage. Hornbuckle’s quickness proved to be a deciding factor, allowing him to pick Blackburn apart with precise strikes. The judges saw the fight in Hornbuckle’s favor with a 29-28 unanimous decision, improving his record to 22-3.
“Dan Hornbuckle wanted the toughest fight we could provide him as soon as possible after his loss to Ben,” said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Brad stepped up and these two gave us a back and forth war that was undeniably the fight of the night.”
In an opening round heavyweight tournament fight, undefeated Polish sensation Damian “The Polish Pitbull” Grabowski took on the ever-powerful Scott Barrett. Barrett scored an early takedown in the first round, but Grabowski eventually reversed and punished Barrett from the top position. In second round action, Barrett put Grabowski on his back again, which was reversed yet again by Grabowski. In the third round Grabowski proved to be fresher, wearing down Barrett with dynamic strikes from every angle. Barrett made a late third round takedown by Barrett, but that was not enough in the judges’ eyes who saw the fight unanimously 30-27 for the still-undefeated Grabowski.
Turning to the women’s tournament, Zoila “Warrior Princess” Frausto, whose knockout of Rosi Sexton gained her entry into the Season 3 women’s tournament, met submission ace Jessica Pene in a quarterfinal fight. Frausto proved to be too powerful for Pene, who was unable to take Frausto to the ground. After 15 minutes of action, it was Frausto who progressed to the semi-final round with a unanimous decision victory, improving her record to 8-1.
In a much-anticipated international heavyweight tournament match-up, two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion Cole Konrad took on dangerous Spanish submission fighter Rogent Lloret. Konrad showed he was comfortable standing with Lloret, showing improved striking throughout the second round. However, Konrad overpowered the Spaniard, taking him down in the third round where he imposed his will until the bell. Konrad advanced to the Season 3 heavyweight semi-final round with a unanimous decision victory, improving his perfect record to 5-0.