Saturday night’s Bellator 131 in San Diego was built around the tumultuous bout between Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar. While the two went toe-to-toe for three rounds, it didn’t seem to provide the fireworks that the hype generated.
The two traded blows throughout the fight, but mostly with Ortiz getting the better of most of the exchanges, doing much more damage.
Ortiz also scored takedowns in rounds two and three. He particularly landed some solid ground and pound towards the end of the second frame.
Somewhat surprisingly, the judges saw the fight as a split decision, albeit in Ortiz’s favor. Two judges scored the fight 30-27 for Ortiz, while the other scored it 29-28 for Bonnar.
“They talk about getting the rust out. I got the rust out,” said Ortiz after having to go the full three rounds, and even gave Bonnar a modicum of respect for having gone the distance.
“The only little respect for Stephan Bonnar I’ll give is that he came here and fought.”
Will Brooks is no longer the interim champion after his rematch with Michael Chandler. He is now simply: Will Brooks, Bellator lightweight champion.
The two battled into the fourth round, but when the end came, it came suddenly, courtesy of Brooks’ relentless pursuit of the former champion.
Brooks landed a right hand to Chandler’s left eye in the fourth round. Chandler looked towards the referee, as if he thought he had gotten poked in the eye, but the ref let the fight continue.
Brooks then rocked him with a right hand, and then unloaded with several more punches and a knee. Chandler, obviously hurt, turned to the fence, trying to get away from Brooks’ attack. His actions forced the referee to step in and stop the fight since Chandler was no longer defending himself.
“I did exactly what I thought I was going to do,” Brooks said after the fight. “I knew I could finish him. I’m a steam train and I am going to run over everyone.”
Joe Schilling surprised many with his upset of Melvin Manhoef. Not surprisingly, however, the fight ended in the stand-up arena. Manhoef dropped Schilling with a heavy blow in the opening round, but he recovered and then returned the favor early in round two, knocking Manhoef out with a right hand.
Mike Richman made quick work of Nam Phan, scoring a TKO stoppage just 46 seconds into their fight.
After losing to Rampage Jackson, King Mo Lawal appears to be back on the horse. He stopped Dustin Jacoby back in September, and on Saturday night, he manhandled Joe Vedepo throughout the fight, en route to a merciful stoppage in the first minute of round three.
Bellator 131 Results
Tito Ortiz def. Stephan Bonnar by Split Decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
Will Brooks def. Michael Chandler by TKO (Strikes) at 3:48, R4
Joe Schilling def. Melvin Manhoef by Knockout (Punch) at 0:32, R2
Mike Richman def. Nam Phan by TKO (Strikes) at 0:46, R1
Muhammed Lawal def. Joe Vedepo by TKO (Strikes) at 0:39, R3
A.J. Matthews def. Kyle Bolt by TKO (Strikes) at 1:39, R1
Jonathan Santa Maria def. Ron Henderson by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Jordan Bailey def. Alex Higley by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 3:27, R1
Nick Garcia def. Matthew Ramirez by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 0:56, R2
Andy Murad def. Bubba Pugh by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Rolando Perez vs. Mark Vorgeas is a Split Draw (29-27, 26-30, 28-28)
Joao Faria def. Ian Bulter by Submission (Arm Triangle Choke) at 1:58, R3