The Bellator MMA cage was in San Jose, Calif. on Saturday as the SAP Center hosted Bellator 183: Henderson vs. Pitbull. Lightweights Benson Henderson and Patricky “Pitbull” Freire headlined the fight card and the three judges couldn’t agree on the winner resulting in a split decision.
Henderson, the former UFC 155-pound champion, utilized a kicking heavy offense mixed with takedown attempts. Freire showed that he can defend a takedown and land big counter shots.
The opening round was competitive. Almost all of the second round was consumed with Henderson working to get “Pitbull” to the ground. As Henderson looked for a single-leg takedown, Freire jumped into the air with a knee that landed. In the closing seconds of the frame, Freire took Henderson down.
“Pitbull” shook off three takedown attempts in the final round and landed power shots. It was enough to sway two of the judges in his favor. After the split decision win, “Pitbull” called out current lightweight champion Brent Primus.
“I eat former champions for breakfast. I want Brent Primus,” said Freire. “You have my gold. You have my belt. Stop running from Pitbull. You know you’ve run two times. Two times! I come for you.”
In the co-main event, welterweight strikers Paul Daley and Lorenz Larkin met in a grudge match after nearly coming to blows at the official weigh-ins on Friday. They did not touch gloves before the fight.
Daley scored his 30th knockout win midway through the second frame in a fight that saw him look for takedowns. The two clinched and as they separated Daley missed with a spinning back fist but landed with a left hook. Larkin was left stiff in his stance and Daley put him down with a follow-up combination. Larkin crashed to the canvas. After Larkin absorbed two hammer fists, the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
“Like I said building up to this, the only people that stood with my successfully are Nick Diaz and Douglas Lima. Anybody else in the welterweight division that stands with me is getting knocked the (expletive) out,” said Daley after his 40th career win. “That’s how every fight goes. Everybody wants to take it to the ground after a little while. You stay standing with me, you get knocked out. It’s as simple as that.”
“Back home (in England) you’ve got a very similar character to me: a little young boy called MVP over in the U.K. that keeps talking on social media. Get that little punk in here with me and he’s getting knocked out as well,” he said.
TRENDING > Dana White Rips the Gökhan Saki Doubters
19- fight UFC heavyweight veteran Roy “Big Country” Nelson made his promotional debut on the main card and showed off his ground game against Javy Ayala. Nelson secured takedowns in each of the three rounds on his way to a unanimous decision.
“It feels good. Viacom and Spike TV were talking about they needed some film footage, so I had to give it to them,” said Nelson following the win. “I had to give a little up and down. Just kind of give what the fans wanted to see.”
Both fighters landed big shots throughout the fight. Nelson ate a front kick to the face in the second round and landed several uppercuts on Ayala. Their chins held up.
“The plan was to just go out there and get the W,” said Nelson. “Javy put up a great fight. He’s a good, strong opponent, so my hat’s off to him.”
Bellator 183: Henderson vs. Pitbull Results:
- Patricky “Pitbull” Freire def. Benson Henderson by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Paul Daley def. Lorenz Larkin by KO (punches) at 2:40, R2
- Roy Nelson def. Javy Ayala by unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-28)
- Aaron Pico def. Justin Linn by KO (punch) at 3:45, R1
- Goiti Yamauchi def. Adam Piccolotti by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:19, R1
Preliminary Card Results:
- Tony Johnson def. Mike Ortega by KO (punch) at 1:49, R2
- Kaytlin Neil def. Brooke Mayo by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Brandon Laroco def. Gaston Bolanos by submission (triangle choke) at 2:16, R2
- Jaymee Nievara def. Corina Herrera by unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-27)
- Fernando Gonzalez def. Alex Lopez by spit decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Ricardo Vasquez def. Justin Tenedora by (guillotine choke) at 2:39, R1
- JJ Okanovich def. Luis Jauregui by submission (armbar) at 0:42, R1
- Daniel Gonzalez def. Anthony Castrejon by KO (punches) at 4:03, R1