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LIVE! Bellator 207 Results, Streaming Play-By-Play Updates

Bellator 207: “Mitrione vs. Bader” takes place TONIGHT (Oct. 12, 2018) at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Friends become rivals in the Paramount Network-televised main event as Matt Mitrione (13-5) and Ryan Bader (25-5) each seek to advance to the finals of the Heavyweight Grand Prix.

Bellator 207’s main card will start at 9 p.m. ET on Paramount Network. MMAmania.com will deliver results and play-by-play for the entirety of the Bellator MMA card, including the “Prelims” undercard that begins at 7 p.m. ET.

Many readers check in before, during and after the fights to share their thoughts on all of the action. Feel free to leave a comment (or 207) about the bouts and chat with all the other Maniacs during the show — it’s always a lot of fun!

BELLATOR 207 QUICK RESULTS:

Matt Mitrione vs. Ryan Bader —
Roy Nelson vs. Sergei KharitonovKharitonov TKO 4:58 R1.
Lorenz Larkin vs. Ion PascuLarkin UD 29-28 X3.
Kevin Ferguson Jr. vs. Corey BrowningBrowning TKO 2:08 R2.
Carrington Banks vs. Mandel NalloNallo KO 0:57 R2.
Kristi Lopez vs. Sarah ClickClick UD 30-27 X3.
Andre Fialho vs. Javier TorresFialho MD 28-28, 29-28 X2.
Mike Kimbel vs. Alex PottsKimbel KO 0:06 R1.
Sean Lally vs. Kemran Lachinov — unaired on DAZN.
Kastriot Xhema vs. Pat CaseyCasey UD 30-26 X3.
Sinead Kavanagh vs. Janay HardingHarding TKO (doctor) 5:00 R1.
Tim Caron vs. Vinicius de JesusVDJ UD 30-27, 29-28 X2.
Alexandra Ballou vs. Lisa BlaineBallou TKO 3:28 R3.

BELLATOR 207 PLAY-BY-PLAY:

Matt Mitrione vs. Ryan Bader

Round 1:

Round 2:

Round 3:

Final result:


Roy Nelson vs. Sergei Kharitonov

“Big Country” Roy Nelson is 23-15 in the red gloves and Sergei Kharitonov is 27-6 (1 NC) in the blue gloves. Both Nelson and Kharitonov have black trunks on. Kharitonov fights out of Plesestsk, Russia and Nelson out of Las Vegas, NV. Our ref is Dan Miragliotta.

Round 1: Both men touch a glove and we’re underway. Kharitonov is head hunting with his left and Nelson responds by driving him to the fence. They break at 37 seconds. Kharitonov backs off when he smells Nelson leaning in for an overhand right. Nelson shoots again and Kharitonov stuffs it and throws an illegal left knee while Nelson’s hands and knees are on the ground. Miragliotta calls time as the doctor checks on Nelson. Miragliotta signals a one point deduction to the judges as Nelson gets his time to recover. Nelson decides to continue and the fight is back on with just over 3:30 left in the round. Nelson keeps eating the left hand from Kharitonov while looking for the overhand right. One finally gets through and Kharitonov brings his left hand up to block another. Nelson backs him up with a flurry and drops levels but Kharitonov slips away. Nelson lands a left and Kharitonov just ducks under the right. Nelson eats a hard body shot and backs up. Kharitonov lands the right uppercut, then tries to grab the clinch for knees. Nelson throws the right and Kharitonov lands two more uppercuts that don’t drop “Big Country.” 40 seconds left. Kharitonov hurts Nelson at 4:45 with a right and he’s going for uppercuts and knees on the fence. Sergei gets the stoppage RIGHT before the bell as Nelson finally drops to his knees after one more uppercut followed by one big knee.

Final result: Sergei Kharitonov wins by technical knockout at 4:58 of round one.


Lorenz Larkin vs. Ion Pascu

Pascu enters first in the blue gloves and black trunks. The Romanian’s record to date is 18-8 and he’s a product of Conor McGregor’s camp at SBG Ireland and fighting out of Dublin (naturally). Larkin enters with the red gloves and trunks and a career record of 19-7 (1 NC), and he’s fighting out of Riverside, California. Our referee is Kevin MacDonald.

Round 1: Pascu is the aggressor at the start. Larkin circles him with leg kicks then throws a left high kick that’s checked. Pascu shoots at 0:41 and he’s trying hard to lift Larkin up off the ground and take him down. Larkin breaks free at 1:13. Larkin pops him with a right jab and may have hurt Pascu with a short left because he shoots again. Pascu gets pushed away and hit with a knee up the middle. He gets his hands up to avoid a crushing left hook and turns away from another, but can’t avoid a kick to the body. Larkin claims a cup shot, MacDonald says no and tells them to keep going. Good counter shots by Pascu at 4:08. He ducks under a shot looking for a single leg and ALMOST gets it… but doesn’t. 10-9 Larkin.

Round 2: Another potential groin shot is waved off by MacDonald early in the round but Pascu still took a big knee to the body no matter what. Larkin continues to circle and stick the jab and Pascu spends more time covering up than throwing strikes. When he does Larkin fires the leg kicks. Larkin goes for a jumping knee at 2:09. Larkin leads Pascu across the cage looking to land a counter shot and turns Pascu around into the cage on his takedown attempt. They break at 3:20. Pascu throw a right hand and a left, while Larkin misses with an uppercut. Pascu goes for a single leg but he gets popped with a hard right hand uppercut that stuns him and makes him lose his grip. 10-9 Larkin again.

Round 3: Pascu goes for a head kick but Larkin gets the right arm up. Pascu comes forward swinging and Larkin eludes all the shots then throws a big hook. Larkin follows up with a body kick and a straight right, and another right, and another. Pascu can’t seem to get out of the way of the right hand and Larkin knows it. He’s starting to treat Pascu like a punching bag. Pascu throws a leg kick and Larkin a left hook. Pascu gets a takedown to side control with 2:10 left in the fight. Larkin moves him to half guard and he’s looking to sweep. He’s got Pascu in full guard with 90 seconds remaining. Pascu tries to posture up with a half minute left but Larkin was controlling the arms. Pascu goes for a leg lock late and lets Larkin on top. 10-9 Larkin for out striking Pascu and Pascu not doing any significant damage on the ground.

Final result: The judges score it unanimously 29-28 X3 for Lorenz Larkin.


Kevin Ferguson Jr. vs. Corey Browning

Ferguson Jr. a/k/a “Baby Slice” is 3-1 in the red gloves and blue trunks. Browning is 2-1 in the blue gloves and black trunks. Ferguson is 26, 5’11”, 72” reach. 5’11” and 74” reach for the 29 year old Browning. Ferguson fights out of Long Beach, California and Browning fights out of Knoxville, Tennessee. Our referee in charge is Bryan Miner.

Round 1: Browning throws the first punch but gets decked by a huge right and taken down ten seconds into the fight. Ferguson tries to get a choke but doesn’t have it so he lets it go then stands up looking for another takedown, and he’s got it at 56 seconds. He lands two knees to Browning as he gets up (no hand down) and looks for another takedown. Browning tries and fails to stuff it and take the back. It’s strength versus strength against the cage and Ferguson wins that battle at 2:22. He avoids a possible armbar attempt and settles back down. He tries to pass to half but Browning sweeps at 3:18. He’s got the back and he wants to get the hooks in but Ferguson sweeps right back. Browning is split open over his right eye, but despite that he traps one arm on Ferguson and lands some nice ground and pound and some elbows that force Ferguson to cover up to make it to R2. Close 10-9 to Ferguson.

Round 2: Browning ROCKS Ferguson early in the frame but he goes for a takedown to save himself. Ferguson moves to side control with an arm around Browning’s neck looking to get the submission, Browning rolls to escape but Ferguson gets the full mount and takes the back. Ferguson lets go out a rear naked choke and Browning sweeps on top and finishes the fight at 2:08.

Final result: Corey Browning wins via technical knockout at 2:08 of the second round.


Carrington Banks vs. Mandel Nallo

Banks is 7-1 in the red gloves, Nallo is 6-0 in the blue. Nallo fights out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada in black trunks with red trim. Banks fights out of Denver, Colorado in the black trunks. Our referee in charge is Bryan Miner.

Round 1: Nallo is trying to use his long legs early, making Banks back up to avoid a high kick then landing a leg kick. Banks shoots looking to negate that advantage but Nallo stuffs it easy. He throws another big kick and Banks eats it coming forward for another takedown attempt, pushing Nallo into the fence. Nallo pushes forward and he’s the one with the takedown, trapping the head as Banks stands back up and going to the ground with the anaconda. Banks is trying to scramble to get out of it and Miner is taking a close look. Banks escapes at 2:24. He tries to get Nallo down but he’s back up at 2:45. Banks with a takedown at 3:07. Banks is unable to pass but Nallo is unable to get back up so it stalls out here. 10-9 Banks.

Round 2: NALLO DROPS BANKS WITH A KNEE 57 SECONDS INTO ROUND TWO. He’s out cold. No follow up shot was necessary.

Final result: Mandel Nallo wins by knockout at 0:57 of the second round.


Kristi Lopez vs. Sarah Click

Blue gloves, black top, 1-0, fighting out of Bourne, Mass. is Click. Red gloves and trunks with a white top, 2-0-1, fighting out of Los Angeles, Calif. is Lopez. Our ref is Kevin MacDonald.

Round 1: Both fighters cautiously approach each other to open the bout. Lopez lands a right hand and Click responds by pushing her backward into the cage. Lopez turns her around but Click almost kicks her in the head from there. Lopez throws a right elbow over the top as they separate. Lopez is coming forward now throwing lefts and rights. Lopez catches a kick but Click avoids the takedown and pushes to the cage. Round and around they go. Where it will stop, only they know. Lopez lands a few elbows to the head but Click does as well. Lopez drags Click to the ground but she gets right up. Lopez throws a 1-2 but Click pops her in the chin. Lopez throws combos but gets rocked by a right hand and was wobbled at the bell. 10-9 Click.

Round 2: Lopez tries a spinning back kick but Click walks through it. Click with a hard left hand. Click is mixing in body kicks as she walks Lopez down. Lopez connects with a left hook. They clinch and go to the fence at 1:56. Click works knees to the body with double underhooks. Foot stomps by Click. Lopez gets the hooks and looks for a leg trip but it’s not there, but she does land a right elbow over the top a few times. Lopez drops levels with 40 seconds to go but gives up on the attempt and goes back to striking. 10-9 Lopez.

Round 3: Lopez circles on the outside as Click tries to cut the angle and land the right. Leg kick for Click. Click with a 1-2 and a low kick. Lopez circles and throws a double jab. Lopez’ corner urges her to be busier in the cage. Click is keeping Lopez guessing by changing her stance and shadowboxing with her hands. She pushes Lopez into the cage at 2:38. MacDonald warns her about knees to the groin. Click with hands to the body as Lopez pushes Click backward into the fence. Click responds with knees and turns Lopez back. Lopez turns Click again but Click is landing knees. MacDonald resets them to the center with 40 seconds to go. Click comes forward with combos and repeated body shots. She’s imposing her will at the end and will earn the decision as a result. 10-9 Click.

Final result: The judges score it 30-27 X3 for Sarah Click.


Andre Fialho vs. Javier Torres

Red trunks and blue gloves for Torres, 10-4, fighting out of Obregon, Sonora, Mexico. Green trunks/red gloves for Fialho, 9-1, fighting out of Lisbon, Portugal. Todd Anderson is the ref.

Round 1: Fialho is the aggressor early and lands a leg kick before throwing a head kick. Fialho takes the center and forces Torres to circle to his left and right on the outside. Torres stops claiming an eye poke but Todd Anderson tells them to keep fighting and Fialho almost gives him a dirt nap. Fialho continues to work the leg kicks as Torres circles. Fialho slips throwing a head kick but quickly jumps back to his feet before Torres can take advantage. Jump knee for Fialho. 10-9 Fialho.

Round 2: Fialho continues to impose his will and lands a nice combo at 40 seconds. Torres suddenly comes forward with left hands. Fialho responds with a low kick and Torres backs up. Torres eats a big right at 1:28 and another comes seconds later. Torres gets another left hand off but then backs up from Fialho’s power again. Torres claims an eye poke a second time and Anderson says no, keep fighting. Left hook by Fialho. Another clean left. Right uppercut and right hook by Fialho. They clinch and Torres puts FIalho on the cage briefly but gets the worse of the dirty boxing and lets it go. Fialho goes for a late takedown and doesn’t get it. 10-9 Fialho.

Round 3: Fialho continues to push Torres backward and make him fight defensively. Torres attempts a takedown just to slow Fialho down a bit even though he’s not going to get it. He goes for a leg trip multiple times but it’s not there. Fialho finally backs him up with a hook with 90 seconds to go. The fact he’s negated Fialho’s offense and been the one attempting to take the back or get the takedowns probably edges the round narrowly to Torres 10-9 but Fialho will take the decision either way.

Final result: The judges score it 28-28 draw, 29-28 and 29-28 for Fialho by majority decision.


Mike Kimbel vs. Alex Potts

Blue gloves, black trunks for Potts, 1-0 out of Syracuse, N.Y. Red gloves, black trunks for Kimbel, 1-0 out of Waterbury, Conn. Our referee in charge is Todd Anderson.

Round 1: Kimbel rocks Potts six seconds into the fight with a right hand and IT IS ALL OVER. He landed one hammer fist on the ground but Anderson was already stepping in as he did.

Final result: Mike Kimbel wins via knockout at 0:06 of round one.


Sean Lally vs. Kemran Lachinov

Round 1: Unaired on DAZN.

Final result: To be determined.


Kastriot Xhema vs. Pat Casey

Blue gloves, black trunks, 3-0, fighting out of Springfield, Mass. is Casey. Red gloves, pink trunks, 2-1, fighting out of Greenwich, Conn. is Xhema. Our referee is Dan Miragliotta.

Round 1: Touch of gloves and Xhema quickly lands a kick that stumbles Casey. Casey shoots for a couple of takedowns unsuccessfully. Third attempt at 31 seconds he gets Xhema to the ground and moves to half guard. Xhema gets him back to full guard as they inch closer to the cage and is trying to throw elbows and right hands off his back. Xhema gives up full mount at 2:07 but is quickly able to escape and get back to his feet. Casey single legs Xhema but he pops up instantly. Casey goes for a leg trip but Xhema keeps his balance. They break and stare each other down at 3:10. Casey throws Xhema down into side control 20 seconds later. Casey tries to headlock the neck as Xhema stands up and he may have the guillotine choke, but he lets it go and then swings hands instead. 10-9 Casey.

Round 2: A hard high-five starts this round. Both men are throwing heavy hands but it’s Casey who knocks Xhema down with a left, diving on top into side control. Casey is looking to pass to full mount and throwing knees to the ribs as he does. He’s also landing right hands and elbows to Xhema’s head as he starts hunting for an americana. Xhema is completely overwhelmed this round. More knees to the body. Xhema’s forehead is getting sliced up. Casey even makes an armbar attempt late. 10-8 Casey.

Round 3: They hug it out to start the final round. Xhema is going for flying knees but Casey avoids the damage and pushes Xhema into the fence. Xhema widens his stance to avoid a quick takedown but Casey grinds his way to it at 55 seconds anyway. We get a call for more work as Xhema manages to trap Casey in the guard and once again throw a few elbows off his back. Casey is trying to posture up and throw hands to the body. Time ekes away. Miragliotta warns them to get busy with 24 second to go but doesn’t stand them up. 10-9 Casey and he should easily take the UD.

Final result: Pat Casey wins by 30-26 X3 unanimous decision.


Sinead Kavanagh vs. Janay Harding

Harding is 3-4, blue gloves, black trunks and top, fighting out of Sydney, Australia. Kavanagh is 5-2 with red gloves, gray top and black trunks, fighting out of Dublin, Ireland. Our referee is Kevin MacDonald.

Round 1: Kavanagh pushes Harding toward the outside circle quickly and is letting her hands go. Harding weathers the storm and circles to her right. Harding is getting her hands up to block a lock of the shots and is throwing some nice elbows. In fact she’s opened up a cut on Kavanagh’s face, who has to keep wiping the blood out of her eyes. Now Harding is the aggressor as the blood continues to pour over Kavanagh’s right eye. Kavanagh looks to clinch and drop levels. Harding breaks free at 3:28 with a knee on the exit. Left hand flush for Harding. Kavanagh lands a clean shot as Harding went for a spin kick. Crisp right hand by Kavanagh. Kavanagh with a left. That’s a super close first round but it’s not going to a second — the cut man can’t stem the flow of blood and the doctor is calling it off.

Final result: Janay Harding wins by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 5:00 of round one.


Tim Caron vs. Vinicius de Jesus

Round 1: Unaired on DAZN.

Final result: VDJ wins via unanimous decision 30-27 and 29-28 X2.


Alexandra Ballou vs. Lisa Blaine

Ballou is making her pro debut in the blue gloves and black top out of Bethlehem, Conn. Lisa Blaine is 2-0 in the red gloves and blue trunks, and she fights out of North Haven, Conn. Our referee in charge is Kevin MacDonald.

Round 1: Both fighters take the center with no glove tap. Blaine paws with the left and keeps the right hand up high, letting it spring out when she can find the range. She pushes Ballou backward toward the fence but Ballou turns her around when they clinch. Blaine does some dirty boxing as they spin back and forth. Blaine tries to avoid a takedown and ends up balancing on one leg with the other pushed against the cage — legal because she didn’t link her toes into the fence. Ballou gets the double underhooks but lets go at 2:50 and Blaine immediately lands the right hand and gives chase. Ballou responds with a knee and a high kick. Blaine goes for the clinch on the cage at 3:27 and Ballou turns her around again. Ballou throws knees to the body and Blaine throws rights and uppercuts. She punches her way out of being on the fence with 24 seconds left and avoids a single leg. 10-9 Blaine.

Round 2: Blaine goes for an over the top hook immediately. Ballou throws a right high kick Blaine easily avoids. Ballou throws an uppercut that’s also far from the mark. Blaine keeps pressing forward with the left jab and right hook. Blaine is having trouble seeing out of her left eye, the same place Blaine is targeting her power shots. Ballou has a takedown attempt cut off with a punch but she gets a muay thai plum and throws a knee. MacDonald tells the fighters to get busy as they spin around on the cage looking for control. He resets them to center at 3:17. Blaine continues to connect with the right hand. Blaine gets a hand up to check a head kick and continues to connect with her shots. 10-9 Blaine.

Round 3: Blaine inexplicably goes for a clinch again even though her corner has told her repeatedly to stand and throw and not give Ballou the one position she’s able to control in this fight — and that’s exactly what Ballou does with knees to the body and legs. They break with just over three minutes left. Ballou finally gets the takedown she was looking for at 3:10, takes full mount and starts hammering away hard and heavy until the ref steps in to save Lisa Blaine, making Mike Goldberg erupt with joy on commentary.

Final result: Alexandra Ballou wins via technical knockout at 3:28 in the third round.


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Face Off! Fedor Stares Down Sonnen In New York

Bellator MMA is less than 24 hours away from its Bellator 208: “Fedor vs. Sonnen” mixed martial arts (MMA) event on Paramount Network, locked and loaded for this Saturday night (Oct. 13, 2018) inside Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. Prior to this weekend’s big show, which also features “Prelims” bouts on DAZN, the promotion sent all 30 fighters to the scale for the official Bellator 208 weigh ins.

Crunch the numbers here.

Of course, no weigh-in event is complete without the corresponding staredowns, and Bellator 208 is no exception. Watch Fedor Emelianenko come nose-to-nose with heavyweight opponent Chael Sonnen, along with all the other fighters, in the embedded video player above.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire Bellator 208 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with DAZN “Prelims” matches before the main card start time at 9 p.m. ET, live on Paramount Network.

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

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Midnight Mania! Four Reasons Khabib’s Stand Is Coolest Moment to Date

Bringing you the weird and wild from the world of MMA each and every weeknight

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Khabib Nurmagomedov once wore a shirt into Brazil that said “If Sambo were easy, it would be called [Brazilian] Jiu Jitsu”, walked out into an arena of people chanting his death, and knocked his Brazilian opponent out cold. The man grew up wrestling bears. He learned to walk on a wrestling mat. While beating down Michael Johnson at UFC 205, he calmly informed Johnson, “I need to fight for the title. You know this. I deserve it” while dropping elbows on Johnson’s face. The Dagestani is a serious guy.

Yet, of all the unbelievable things Khabib has ever done, declaring solidarity with his teammate after he was cut during a brawl Nurmagomedov started in the aftermath of UFC 229 is his best ever, for four big reasons.

Firstly, Nurmagomedov told the UFC if they were going to cut Zubaira Tukhogov, “don’t forget to send me my broken contract, otherwise I’ll break it myself.” That willingness to walk away from the Ultimate Fighting Championship comes off as completely genuine. Khabib is not kidding. He doesn’t need the American-based promotion. Russia is its’ own market and Khabib is a national star there. The UFC, though, definitely stand to lose if Khabib walks. He just headlined the biggest UFC Pay-Per-View of all time, just under 2.5 million buys, and choked out the biggest draw in MMA history. That puts him in a position of unprecedented leverage.

Secondly, he told the UFC to keep their money. Who scoffs at millions of dollars? Khabib’s entire purse is currently being held by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), unlike McGregor’s. “I hope it doesn’t get stuck in your throat” is also a ridiculously cool line. This is the part that really lets us know, Khabib isn’t playing games. If he is leaving that much money on the table, he is truly willing to walk away. That is a terrifying man to sit across a bargaining table from, because it means the UFC have no leverage over him. Nurmagomedov does not care about the money.

Thirdly, this is the first time I can recall where a fighter of Khabib’s stature threw his entire weight behind a teammate in solidarity. That’s not a small thing. Fellow AKA fighter Josh Thomson wondered if this could be a dawning of a new collective consciousness in fighters’ minds. Despite the team format of MMA gyms, most fighters have an extremely individualistic approach to fighting. When Aljamain Sterling tried to get a better deal from the UFC and the company decided they would rather let him go than pay him more, it never occured to Chris Weidman to put his own position in the company at risk to support his gym mate. Project Spearhead, the anonymous card-collecting effort to unionize the UFC, just had another of their most public supporters- Kajan Johnson- leave the promotion. It may be too much to hope that this display galvanizes a collective identity among fighters, but it sets a bold precedent.

Lastly, Khabib set out his case in a way that made sense to people. “We never give up on our brothers in Russia and I will go to the end for my brother” is the kind of stirring line that people instantly connect with. From what I can tell in the comments sections, Khabib’s stand is wildly popular with fans. It was Khabib, after all, that started the brawl. Everything flowed from his actions, and from that perspective his ‘brothers’ were just backing him up. It makes sense for Khabib to take all the blame on his shoulders and not let his teammate suffer for something he started. He also pointed out that in his mind, he defended his honor. That “realness” is a quality people have an appetite for. In a world known for it’s bluster and promotion, Khabib doesn’t play.


Insomnia

Artem Lobov doesn’t want Tukhugov cut, he wants to fight the guy.

Daniel Cormier might be reaching a little bit with this one. Lobov didn’t hurt anyone personally. Zub jumped into the cage and punched McGregor.

Breaking news: nothing has happened yet in regard to suspensions.

This story shared by MMA legend Frank Shamrock is so sad. The United States doesn’t do a good job caring for people with mental health issues.

UFC 230 is still a great fight card, especially if you forget the fights that could have been.

Well… this might be one more good thing to come from the incident

Stipe Miocic is miffed Cormier openly took the Lewis fight because he considered it easier on short notice.

Daniel Cormier was not taking prisoners online today

The best of Khabib and DC

Chael Sonnen wants Bellator to re-sign Eddie Alvarez

That’s a very big check for a regional show.

DC defends his stance on Zubaira

Fedor is also very cool, the original Russian GOAT.

Dillon Danis denies using an Islamaphobic slur

Derrick Lewis and DC’s backstage conversation is very funny.

Combat sports this weekend include Derrick Crawford and not one but two Bellator events

Stay woke, Maniacs! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

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Bellator 207’s Kimbel Leaves Rowdy Youth Behind

Bellator 207: “Mitrione vs. Bader” takes place this Friday night (Oct. 12, 2018) at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., featuring a semifinal match in the promotion’s Heavyweight Grand Prix between reigning Light Heavyweight champion, Ryan Bader (25-5), taking on Matt Mitrione (13-5) in the Paramount Network-televised main event.

Earlier in the night two up-and-coming Bantamweight hopefuls — Mike Kimbel (1-0) and Alex Potts (1-0) — will be on the hunt for the second win of their professional mixed martial arts (MMA) careers. However, only one of them has so far been given a “blue chip” designation by the Bellator MMA — Kimbel got the promotional push by performing a powerbomb on Bellator 194’s “Prelims” undercard and then pounding out the hapless Geoffrey Then with heavy hammerfists. The powerful performance was so impressive that Bellator immediately offered Kimbel a multi-fight deal.

That victory may have caught a few people by surprise because Kimbel was just 1-2 as an amateur, but he’ll have the chance to prove it wasn’t a fluke at the expense of Potts, who like his opponent earned a return date by winning his promotional debut. It’s early in both of their respective careers, but “somebody’s OH has got to go.”

MMAmania.com recently chatted with Kimbel about the attention he’s received since his professional debut, and how he’s coming to grips with people wanting to know so much about him.

“Well, I’m glad there’s not too much on the Internet about me! I mean yeah, I have a family and things like that, brothers and sisters and stuff, but you know the world doesn’t need to know everything, you know?”

His desire to separate his personal and professional life is understandable, but the personal details are often what connect fight fans to the fighters they like most. Once I asked Kimbel the reason (s) he got into the sport he started to open up a little more.

“I got into mixed martial arts because I kept getting in trouble for fighting. My mom finally had enough of it, and thought she was putting me into a Kung Fu or like a karate type of school, but it ended up being a mixed martial arts gym. Yeah, I loved to fight, I always had something in me that was drawn to combat.”

Jim Brown once famously opined that, “fighting isn’t what we thought it was” and that was a lesson young Kimbel learned once he started to go one on one with true professionals.

“I was getting taken down and they were doing all these moves that I saw Georges St-Pierre doing and Chuck Liddell, how he was doing the kickboxing stuff, I just fell in love with it and I haven’t looked back.”

From that point Kimbel wanted to excel in the sport and live out the dream of becoming a world class athlete. School yard fights had become a thing of the past.

“I always had a feeling inside of me like I wanted to be bigger than myself. I wanted something greater than myself. I would get these rushes, like tingles, butterflies through me just randomly thinking about greatness.”

Like so many other young men who turned to martial arts for discipline and guidance, Kimbel credits it for saving his life and putting him on the right path.

“I’m pretty sure if I wasn’t fighting, I don’t know where I would be. Hopefully I would be in the military serving my country, in special operations or something like that. I don’t know. I went into the gym, I figured, ‘Okay. I can do this, I can be good at this, I can be great at this’ and I just kept showing up every day. Here I am, 21 years old, doing it.”

And as evidenced by his performance at Bellator 194, he’s doing it in a really big way.

I asked Kimbel what surprised him more — seeing his pro debut being shared all over social media, or getting a multi-fight deal from Bellator immediately after his win.

“I was actually very surprised at the six-fight deal. Every fight I’ve had, every finish I’ve had its always been, ‘Wow! I didn’t expect it to be like that. Did you see what Mike just did?’ So it’s just the fact that a worldwide platform had caught eyes of it, you know what I mean? I wasn’t surprised that it went viral, because I knew the world would be watching. The world had seen many great great athletes and many great great mixed martial artists, and I know every time I step in there, everything I do is going to be, ‘Wow! Look at this kid!’ So I wasn’t surprised at that, but I was very surprised and I was grateful for the six fight opportunity. It’s a blessing. I’m grateful to be a part of this organization. I mean, that doesn’t happen! You don’t make your professional debut for the top organization in the world and then get signed.”

MMA promotions aren’t ranked like fighters so we can’t say who is (or isn’t) on top, but we can say that Mike Kimbel wants to get on top of Potts and dominate him at Bellator 207.

“Yeah, Alex Potts, the match-up for me … I’m ready for ALL of him. I’m ready for wrestlers, I’m ready for strikers, I’m ready for jiu-jitsu artists. I’m in the gym every day with no ego, constantly trying to learn something, constantly trying to apply something. I’m ready for him.”

If you weren’t already tempted to compare him to another young Bellator prospect, Kimbel just wants you to know this: He won’t fight scrubs and only tough opponents get love.

“I’ve seen (Potts) fight. He’s well rounded. Not for nothing, I might be the only fighter in the organization on the early come up who’s not fighting bums. I’ve never fought a bum in my life. Geoffrey Then had never been finished, and he was actually 1-1, I don’t know why they said he was 0-1, and he only lost in (Bellator) by a decision. I never fought a bum in my life and I’m not gonna start. Alex Potts is another good competitor, he comes to fight, he’s a natural wrestler but he likes to strike — he’s just an overall good fighter.”

Now at last you can say you know who Mike Kimbel is and why you want to see him fight at Bellator 207. He has that unique dichotomy of being both humble and cocky, exuding the aura of a star in the making. Let’s see if that star shines on Friday night.

Complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “Mitrione vs. Bader” resides here at MMA Mania all week long.

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

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NO ESCAPE

Following the UFC 229 post-fight brawl, a “sad” and “disgusted” Dana White promised to release the goons who jumped former lightweight champion Conor McGregor, despite the fact “Notorious” had a hand (literally) in drawing their fire.

That includes featherweight Zubaira Tukhugov, who was previously scheduled to collide with Artem Lobov in the UFC Fight Night 138 co-main event later this month inside Moncton Events Centre in New Brunswick, Canada (more on that fight card here).

Sure, cutting Tukhugov would also rid UFC of Khabib Nurmagomedov (says “The Eagle”), who clowned Lobov earlier this year and sparked the now-infamous Brooklyn bus attack (watch it), but the “Russian Hammer” wants “Warrior” to pay for his transgressions.

Lobov (13-14-1, 1 NC) is just 2-4 under the UFC banner but likely gets special consideration because of his affiliation with McGregor, who just so happens to hold the record for the top three highest-grossing pay-per-view (PPV) events of all time.

And since McGregor can get away with pretty much anything he wants, Lobov has remained safely tucked under his wing. That is just one of many reasons why Nurmagomedov is threatening to quit the promotion (more on that here).

As of now, Tukhugov, who was previously suspended by United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), is still listed on UFC.com and the bout order remains unchanged. Expect an announcement — one way or the other — in the coming days.

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Midnight Mania! McGregor ‘Disappointed’ Khabib Dropped Him

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Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Conor McGregor’s head coach, John Kavanagh, told Joe Rogan that McGregor felt he let himself down when Khabib Nurmagomedov was able to drop him for the first time in McGregor’s career. Via BloodyElbow.com:

“He (Conor) hates technical mistakes. So that right hand, you know… he was very disappointed he got caught with a shot like that,” Kavanagh said on a recent episode of the Joe Rogan Experience, per BJPenn.com’s Chris Taylor. “But it is actually funny, I was just thinking about this, you know that right hand, if you showed it to a boxing coach he would say ‘That’s horrible. Your head is down and you’re swinging’. But again, I don’t really care about people’s opinions on things. I just care about the strikes effectiveness. It was a damn effective technique. You know it’s one of the hardest clean shots Conor has been caught with in his MMA career.”

“He (Conor) hates technical mistakes. So that right hand, you know… he was very disappointed he got caught with a shot like that,” Kavanagh said on a recent episode of the Joe Rogan Experience, per BJPenn.com’s Chris Taylor. “But it is actually funny, I was just thinking about this, you know that right hand, if you showed it to a boxing coach he would say ‘That’s horrible. Your head is down and you’re swinging’. But again, I don’t really care about people’s opinions on things. I just care about the strikes effectiveness. It was a damn effective technique. You know it’s one of the hardest clean shots Conor has been caught with in his MMA career.”

Khabib was able to neutralize ‘The Notorious’ offense throughout the fight, with McGregor mostly failing to land the punches he has against every other opponent. Clearly, while Khabib’s striking is far from textbook, it is very effective for him. McGregor has called for a rematch with the Russian champion.


Insomnia

The rematch between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson is years overdue. It will be good to see Jones against someone his own size again.

Derrick Lewis’ legend is homegrown by himself and the people cooking up the memes he resposts.

Fedor Emelianenko and Chael Sonnen faced off for their first fight week staredown.

This made more sense once I realized John Wayne Parr was imitating Johny Hendricks

It’s a shame Sean O’Malley didn’t get to showcase his talents at UFC 229- hopefully the USADA results show his failed test was just a tainted supplement.

Al Iaquinta Realty is the best fighter parody account going. This rematch with Kevin Lee will tell us a lot about both fighters. Kevin Lee continues his pursuit of Khabib Nurmagomedov by fighting someone that just faced the Dagestani in their last bout.

Will Nate Diaz disappear into the ether again?

Was this the best picture Khabib could get with Putin? They couldn’t snap one where he was smiling? The caption reads (according to Google Translate)

Thank you very much Vladimir Vladimirovich for the warm welcome and for the congratulations.

And I am very pleased that my victory brought so much joy to our multinational Country.

This is our common victory.

Weird animation time.

Justin Gaethje has a policy against taking short-notice fights.

Derrick Lewis vs. Daniel Cormier has genuine heat thanks to Popeyes chicken.

Who did this?

This may well have been the peak of combat sports.

Brock Lesnar better hope Derrick Lewis lands that big right hand, because he’s not beating Daniel Cormier.

Credit to Curtis Blaydes for taking the hard, thankless fight but he deserves a title shot far more than the Black Beast. (Sorry, Derrick)

Dominick Reyes landed the single cleanest shot at UFC 229 in the last second of his fight with Ovince St. Preux

Max Holloway talks about dealing with depression on World Mental Health Day.


Random Land

I love weird goals. This should have been allowed to stand.

In real life this is literally a green bubble.

Work until you can afford a giraffe.

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Odd but also a legendary flex.

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Stay woke, Maniacs! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

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Johnson May Be Headed To Jail After What He Does To Kongo At Bellator 208

Bellator 208: “Fedor vs. Sonnen” takes place this Saturday night (Oct. 13, 2018) at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. The other half of the promotion’s Heavyweight Grand Prix final bracket comes down to “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (37-5, 1 NC) and “The American Gangster” Chael Sonnen (31-15-1) in the Paramount Network-televised main event.

They’re not the only Heavyweights with something to prove in Uniondale this weekend, though. And, interestingly enough, both men have a Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) history ahead of their Bellator bout.

Cheick Kongo (28-10-2) owns a six-fight promotional win streak that probably should have earned him a slot in the Grand Prix … yet somehow didn’t. Perhaps knocking out Javy Ayala in May reminded both the promotion and fight fans that “The Darkness” can fall on any opponent he faces at any time — the 13th knockout to date of his lengthy career. Meanwhile, the hard-hitting Timothy Johnson (12-4) also departed UFC for the sunny shores of Bellator, but unlike Kongo, this is bout marks his promotional debut. With four wins by submission and five via knockout, Johnson is a dual threat who is well met by the seasoned Kongo as he looks to be just as impressive and stamp his claim to challenge the tournament winner.

MMAmania.com recently spoke with Johnson about his decision to join Bellator and how excited he is to take a fight with Kongo on a key card for the Heavyweight division.

“Yeah, I don’t think anyone could ask for a better debut than to be on this card, so I’m pretty happy about it. No it’s not (an easy fight), but I more than welcome the challenge. I’ve been waiting a long time to fight some kind of big time name, and just kind of give it a shot and see if I’m there or not.”

One reason Johnson feels that way is that he thinks UFC was unwilling to match him up with the top Heavyweights of the division during his three years in the promotion.

“The only thing I’ve really been vocal about exiting UFC has been that after my third UFC fight, I cracked the top 15, got as high as 12 and never dropped out (before I was released). After every one of my wins I’d be asking for big names like Stefan Struve, Alexey Oleynik — apparently they offered me to him and he declined it. I asked for Derrick Lewis multiple times and they’d never give me the opportunity to fight any of the guys that were in (or) around like that Top 10 area, so that kind of sucked.”

What makes it worse for Johnson was that he would end up fighting unranked fighters in their promotional debuts, which offered him zero chance at upward momentum.

“So, I finally just got sick of hearing it because they’d tell me, ‘No no, those guys aren’t available, but we’ve got this debuting Heavyweight, that’s all that’s available right now,’ so I’d have to always get stuck fighting debuts, and never got a chance to get the opportunity to crack the Top 10.”

It’s also a little bit strange that UFC didn’t renew his deal after a win in February when it seems to prefer to cut contracts or grant releases off of losses. It could be related to him turning down a short notice fight, though.

“The only opportunity I got was a missed opportunity. It was a short notice fight. They did offer me Andrei Arlovski, but I was laying in bed with the flu, and it was like four weeks away in Denver. I was like, ‘Guys, I’m not going to be ready for that fight.’ So they did offer me one (big fight) if I’m being honest.”

That would, of course, be the infamous fight in Denver, Colo., during which Francis Ngannou gave Arlovski a monster uppercut that left fans wondering if his head (and shoulders) were still connected to his body.

Johnson is not bitter about his missed opportunities … or lack thereof. He sees a whole new world of opportunities opening up for him with this Cheick Kongo fight — possibly even a world title shot after the Grand Prix.

“You know I wouldn’t shy away from that. It’s definitely something that is a possibility because Cheick is an alternate in the tournament, so he’s right there right now. You know when I was thinking about it for either one of us, we’d probably be fighting when the tournament comes to a completion and probably one of us would be fighting on that card as well and get the winner of whoever wins it all.”

The good news is the date and place for the finals has already been set — Jan. 26, 2019, at The Forum in Inglewood, California. The bad news is after Kongo’s first round finish in May, Johnson knows his size and power isn’t to be slept on early in a fight.

“Oh yeah, no for sure. You’re going to have that at Heavyweight no matter what. You’ve definitely got to be ready to go the first [five minutes]. The first round is always dangerous at Heavyweight no matter what.”

So where does Johnson feel he has the most advantage in the fight and the best chance to negate Kongo’s strength and power?

“Probably the clinch. Probably my clinch game, my dirty boxing type stuff. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I overpower them but it’s a gritty mentality area, and that’s an area where I like to be, because if you can impose your will on somebody there, you can impose it anywhere.”

Even though Johnson isn’t a fan of predictions (and he explains why) he did offer a little bit of a preview for the Kongo fight.

“I don’t like making predictions because then it makes you look like an idiot if you’re wrong {*laughing*}. But, it’s either going to go to a decision or — if things go very well for me — you may see me in jail.”

Now that’s an epic cliffhanger. To find out which way the pendulum will swing this weekend be sure to watch Bellator 208 live on Paramount Network this Saturday night.

Complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “Sonnen vs. Fedor” resides here at MMA Mania all week long.

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

MMAmania.com – All Posts

Khabib, Putin On The Ritz

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, has a lot to celebrate after submitting former 155-pound kingpin, Conor McGregor, in the UFC 229 pay-per-view (PPV) main event last Saturday night (Oct. 6, 2018) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Not only did “The Eagle” defend his division title, he got some payback for all the shit McGregor was talking before their fight, which included barbs toward his family, his politics, and even his religion (sample it here).

I guess Putin wasn’t too upset about the post-fight antics, which saw Nurmagomedov leap into the crowd to throw hands with SBG Ireland coach Dillon Danis (video). It was a decision that is likely to cost the Dagestani fighter a large sum of money, as well as some extra time on the bench.

Once “The Eagle” is permitted to fly back into the Octagon, expect him to put his lightweight title on the line against former interim champion Tony Ferguson, who reestablished his place among the division elite by stopping Anthony Pettis, also at UFC 229.

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Midnight Mania! Nate Diaz ‘Definitely Off’ UFC 230

Bringing you the weird and wild from the world of MMA each and every weeknight …

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

The vengeful MMA gods have struck again. Dustin Poirier vs. Nate Diaz, a sure contender for action fight of the year, has fallen through, Poirier having to withdraw due to injury.

The offers to replace Poirier at UFC 230 (which now, bizarrely, features a heavyweight title fight between Daniel Cormier and Derrick Lewis as the main event) have already begun rolling in, but Dana White confirmed that Diaz is officially off the card.

Now that Diaz is not fighting in November, there is one fight that would no doubt interest him more than anyone: Conor McGregor, fresh off his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, is first on many people’s lists to step up and face Diaz for a third time.

The first question is, would McGregor do it? His coach indicated he has been fixated on getting a rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov, which my informal poll yesterday indicated was considered a good idea by 1 in 5 people. It’s not a good idea.

McGregor looked off against Nurmagomedov in a way that didn’t seem completely explained by Khabib’s wrestling control for two rounds. His coach John Kavanagh expressed this sentiment, saying that perhaps they trained too defensively in preparation for Nurmagomedov. A rematch against a known opponent would reveal definitively whether McGregor is the same fighter who departed MMA in 2016- although if the answer is not the one he likes, McGregor could see his career at an interesting juncture.


Insomnia

For better or worse, the Diaz brothers always show up. That was true of Poirier as well up until today.

Sijara Eubanks doesn’t appreciate her career being jerked around like this

Why is this accurate??

Here’s footage that almost shows what happened…

Wow, shots fired from Mike Perry

Why is this the reality we live in? If Donald Trump Jr. fights with the same form he deadlifts with, he would be in trouble.

Not a bad idea from light welterweight Michael Chiesa

Derrick Lewis says Daniel Cormier disrespected Popeyes with his funny music video.

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Title shot Vs DC November 3rd #newyorkcity

A post shared by Derrick Lewis (@thebeastufc) on

I hate this fight because it’s going to be all DC unless Lewis knocks him out, which seems like a pointless matchup. Fun matchups are where both fighters can potentially do their thing. This fight will either be all one way or the other. The odds reflect that.

Derrick Lewis was at the doctor’s office when he found out about the bout.

Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic are going back and forth on social media.

UFC 229 Pay-Per-View numbers are shaping up to be far and away the best in the company’s history.

This sport has always been this way

It still amazes me there are ways to twist the human body into pretzels that I hadn’t seen before.

Stephen Thompson and his team doing backflips

I don’t know why I found this funny, but I did.

I’m mad at this promo for Derrick Lewis underwear.

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@beard_and_thebeast lol

A post shared by Derrick Lewis (@thebeastufc) on

It had to be memed

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Khabib in his element #ufc229

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Extremely realistic combat scenarios here…

Lando Vannata hitting the bag

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Late night. Light work.

A post shared by Lando Vannata® (@groovylando) on

Tony Ferguson is the right kind of crazy, not this kind… we think.


Random Land

You gotta be kidding me.

Stay woke, Maniacs! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

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‘Sakara Vs. Kauppinen’ Headlines Bellator 211 In Genoa, Italy

Sakara vs. Kauppinen

Bellator MMA will run Genoa, Italy, for the first time with Bellator 211: “Sakara vs. Kauppinen” at RDS Stadium on Dec. 1, 2018. The international card will be broadcast at a special start time on Paramount Network of 4 p.m. ET so that it airs live both stateside and abroad.

As one might guess from the title of the event, Italy’s own Alessio Sakara (20-12, 2 NC) will compete in the main event. To date, Sakara is 3-1 in Bellator with his only loss coming in a world title shot at Bellator 190 in 2017. All three wins have come by knockout, including his most recent win via technical knockout at Bellator 203 in Rome.

Kent Kauppinen (10-4), meanwhile, will not just roll over for the home town hero. The English fighter is a fearsome striker with 80 percent of his wins coming by knockout, although he’ll be looking to bounce back from a submission loss in his Bellator debut.

In addition to Bellator 211’s mixed martial arts (MMA) bouts, a Bellator Kickboxing card will also take place the same night in the same venue, with the only bout announced so far being a Featherweight title fight between Gabriel Varga (16-6) and Shan Cangelosi (10-6).

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

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