Bellator 160: Henderson vs. Pitbull took place on Friday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California and the main event ended in bizarre fashion.
Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson took on Patricio “Pitbull” Freire in the fight card’s featured bout. After a lackluster opening round, Freire suffered a foot injury that forced the end of the fight.
Henderson started slow and never got out of first gear. Freire landed several leg kicks, but suffered the injury when one was checked by Henderson. Freire turned away from the action and halted the fight. It was the first time in his career that he’s been stopped.
“I knew for sure when I checked two of his kicks. If you watch the replay, he backed away right away,” said Henderson about the injury stoppage. “We’ve worked on checking kicks after the Anderson Silva whole thing. Everyone was kind of working on checking kicks. I didn’t ever think I would end a fight by checking a kick, but I guess I’ll take a W any way I can get it.”
With the win, Henderson solidified himself a shot at the lightweight title held by Michael Chandler. The two will meet on Nov. 19.
“He’s a tough dude. I’ve looked forward to fighting him for a really long time,” said Chandler, who watched the fight ringside.
They wasted no time before going on the offensive. Anderson dropped Awad with a right hand early, but Awad quickly got back to his feet. A combination by Awad hurt Anderson seconds later. Awad secured a takedown and applied a guillotine choke, but Anderson defended the submission attempt and got to his feet. Awad changed levels and took Anderson down. Anderson applied a triangle choke but Awad escaped to end a back-and-forth opening frame.
Anderson was the aggressor in the second round. He landed combinations, and was the busier man. They stood toe-to-toe in the final frame. Anderson had a higher output and landed his jab often. After fifteen minutes of fighting, the judges scored it for Anderson by unanimous decision.
Georgi Karakhanyan made quick work of Bubba Jenkins in a 145-pound rematch. Karakhanyan caught a kick by Jenkins and fired a right hand that left Jenkins face-first on the canvas 53 seconds into the fight.
“I went through a lot,” said an emotional Karakhanyan following the knockout win. “I’m a fighter. I like winning, and it feels good.
“I was listening to my corner. He was like, be patient. As a real fighter, I wanted to get there and bang with him a little bit. When I take my time, I have really, really heavy hands. That just proved it today. I’m so happy,” he added.
McKee dominated Walker on the ground, but was taken out of the first round for the first time in his short career. McKee secured an early takedown in the second frame. He applied a guillotine choke and forced Walker to tap out.
“I’m kind of upset that I couldn’t get the first-round finish, but I ended up getting a second-round finish. Next time I won’t be out partying the night before,” said McKee following the fight.
McKee has had an ongoing war of words going with Patricio “Pitbull” Freire for months and address the rivalry in his post-fight comments.
“This little Pitbull beef everybody’s been talking about, it’s not really a beef. He’s taking it personal talking about he’s the man. He’s not the man. Daniel Straus is the man I want. He’s got the belt, so that’s why I want him,” said McKee.
“Don’t take it personal Pitbull. You’re getting ahead of yourself man. It’s nothing personal, but I’ve got a leash and a kennel waiting for you. I’m ready to take you to the pound whenever you want it.”
Bellator 160: Henderson vs. Pitbull Results:
Benson Henderson def. Patricio Freire by TKO (leg injury) at 2:26, R2
Derek Anderson def. Saad Awad by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Georgi Karakhanyan def. Bubba Jenkins by KO (punch) at 0:53, R1
A.J. McKee def. Cody Walker by submission (guillotine choke) at 0:32. R2
Joey Davis def. Keith Cutrone by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Gabriel Green def. Alex Trinidad by TKO (punches) at 2:01, R2
Andy Murad def. Johnny Cisneros by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Jacob Rosales def. Mike Segura by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Chinzo Machida def. Mario Navarro by TKO (punches) at 2:57, R1
Jake Robers def. Stephen Martinez by TKO (punches) at 4:24, R1