It worked out perfect for MMA fans on Saturday, as Bellator 226 started just after the UFC 242 PPV had wrapped up. Broadcasted in full on DAZN, the card featured 20 bouts including the main event, featuring Ryan “Darth” Bader and Cheick Kongo. Bader attempted to defend his Bellator Heavyweight Championship in that fight. The show included some of the Featherweight Grand Prix first round fights, and it had mansy bouts with young MMA prospects in action. Live from the SAP Center in San Jose, California, USA, let’s look at how Bellator 226 went down.

Bout 1: Luis Vargas (2-3) vs. Chris Gonzalez (2-0) (Lightweight)

Starting off the evening was a battle between a fighter who was undefeated and a fighter who aimed to even his record. While eating punches, Gonzalez landed a takedown right off the bat. Gonzalez stayed in top position for quite some time, landing an elbow which cut Vargas open. Vargas was able to take top position for a moment before they stood back up. Gonzalez landed another takedown before the round ended. Gonzalez was able to put Vargas on the ground in the second round and land more strikes. Vargas actually had control earlier in the round, but it was less relevant. Gonzalez tried for a rear naked choke in the final round but couldn’t secure it. Vargas got in top position with a minute left and started to land shots in hopes to make an impact. After clinching up, they traded blows in the final moments. Gonzalez landed one last takedown before the fight ended. All three judges gave the fight to Chris Gonzalez (30-27, 30-26 & 30-25).

My Scorecard:

Fighting Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Vargas 9 9 9 27
Gonzalez 10 10 10 30

Bout 2: Hyder Amil (3-0) vs. Ignacio Ortiz (2-0-1) (Featherweight)

The second fight saw two undefeated athletes face off. Both fighters got busy with punches only seconds into the fight. Amil was landing combinations of strikes, including knees to the stomach. Amil landed a takedown in the second minute. He got off some ground and pound in the position before they stood up for the last minute. Early in the second round, Ortiz secured a takedown but had the position turned over by Amil eventually. They stood up later, with Amil getting another takedown, although they got up right after. In a fatigued final round, both fighters had their moments. Amil scored a couple of takedowns in the round. Ortiz tried for a kimura but couldn’t secure it. Another takedown was landed before the fight concluded. When going to decision, Hyder Amil extended his winning streak to four in a row after a split decision (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28)

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Amil 10 10 10 30
Ortiz 9 9 9 27

Bout 3: Abraham Vaesau (5-2) vs. Renato Valente Alves (5-4) (Catchweight 178 lbs)

In the first catchweight bout of the evening, Abraham Vaesau faced Renato Valente Alves. Alves was making his Bellator debut in this fight, while Vaesau was riding a two fight winning streak within the promotion. The first round had stand-up trades spaced out between five minutes. The second round was quite similar. While both of the rounds were slow paced, it was Alves who was landing the more important shots. Early in the third round, Vaesau was landing tons of kicks. Alves scored a takedown with two minutes left in the fight. He put in a rear naked choke which eventually got the victory due to it. Despite the new scenery of being in Bellator, some things never change for Renato Valente Alves who got his fourth career rear naked choke win.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Vaesau 9 9
Alves 10 10

Bout 4: James Terry (20-10) vs. Batsumberel Dagvadorj (5-0) (Welterweight)

The next fight saw the more experienced James Terry face a flawless Batsumberel Dagvadorj. Terry chased a single leg takedown after a minute of stand-up but had it successfully defended. Halfway through the round, Dagvadorj landed a left which dropped Terry. After some grounded strikes, Dagvadorj put in a bulldog choke which made Terry tap out. Batsumberel Dagvadorj had an impactful Bellator debut, beating promotional veteran via submission.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Terry
Dagvadorj

Bout 5: Cass Bell (3-0) vs. Isaiah Rocha (3-0) (Bantamweight)

Two undefeated bantamweights in Cass Bell and Isaiah Rocha faced off. Similar to the fight on the card before, Bell dropped Rocha with a left and then put in a choke, this time a guillotine choke to get the win. Rocha went out cold in the choke. All via finish, Cass Bell extended his record to 4-0.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Bell
Rocha

Bout 6: Amber Leibrock (3-3) vs. Jessica Borga (2-2) (Featherweight)

In the first (and only) female fight of the evening, Amber Leibrock faced Jessica Borga. Leibrock had a clear height advantage. Borga tried for a takedown early on but was stopped, staying clinched against the cage. With a minute and a half left in the first, they went back to stand-up. Leibrock landed some good punches. Borga got a takedown, throwing punches before putting in an armbar that made Leibrock tap out. Making her Bellator debut, Jessica Borga earned her first professional MMA submission victory.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Leibrock
Borga

Bout 7: Adam Piccolotti (11-3) vs. Jake Smith (7-2) (Lightweight)

Lightweights were up next, as American Top Team’s Jake Smith faced Adam Piccolotti. Both fighters had very sharp striking, having their moments. Piccolotti got a takedown halfway through the first round. In the second round, Piccolotti got a takedown. He took the back of Smith and put in a rear naked choke to win the fight. 

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Piccolotti 10
Smith 9

Bout 8: John Macapa (22-4-2) vs. Ashleigh Grimshaw (20-10-1) (Featherweight)

Finishing off the preliminary part of the card, two experienced featherweights in John Macapa and Ashleigh Grimshaw competed. The first round had explosive striking, with Macapa landing lots of hard combinations. Grimshaw developed a big cut above his left eye. Macapa had even more highlights in stand-up in the second round. After scoring a takedown, Macapa focused on ground and pound from top position. With many more cuts on his face, the doctor decided to stop the fight in-between rounds, giving a win to John Macapa.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Macapa 10 10
Grimshaw 9 8

Bout 9: Gaston Bolanos (5-1) vs. Daniel Carey (6-3) (Featherweight)

Starting off the main card was the first of many featherweight fights. In this bout, Gaston Bolanos faced Daniel Carey. In stand-up, it was Bolanos who was doing most of the work. Carey jumped in for a guillotine during the stand-up, bringing the fight to the ground. He kept the guillotine in until the referee stopped the fight, as Bolanos went out cold. While Daniel Carey was not a part of the featherweight grand prix, he made a good case to be in the next one with his victory.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Bolanos
Carey

Bout 10: Emmanuel Sanchez (18-4) vs. Tywan Claxton (5-0) (Featherweight Grand Prix First Round)

The first of four featherweight grand prix matches were up next. The undefeated Tywan Claxton faced the experienced Emmanuel Sanchez. Claxton earned a takedown early in the fight. They got back up shortly after with both fighters landing some decent punches. Claxton got another takedown, and while he didn’t do much he stayed in the dominant position on the ground. They got up with a minute left in the round. Sanchez got a takedown in the final moments, doing ground and pound to a seemingly defenseless Claxton. Claxton got a takedown halfway through the second round. In bottom position, Sanchez put in a triangle choke which Claxton endured for some time before tapping out. Emmanuel Sanchez became the first one to hand Tywan Claxton a loss, and advanced to the next round of the featherweight GP.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Overtime Total
Sanchez 10
Claxton 9

Bout 11: Sam Sicilia (17-9) vs. Pedro Carvalho (10-3) (Featherweight Grand Prix First Round)

The second of four Featherweight Grand Prix fights on the card was Sam Sicilia versus Pedro Carvalho. Sicilia got a takedown in the first minute of the bout. When they stood back up, Sicilia landed some shots against the cage. He went for a second takedown halfway through the round. Carvalho got in top position. As the round was nearing it’s finish, Carvalho tried for a choke but couldn’t get it. Both fighters traded clean punches early in the second round. Carvalho reversed a takedown and took the back of Sicilia. Carvalho put in a rear naked choke which made Sicilia tap out quickly. 24-year-old Pedro Carvalho advanced into the second round of the Grand Prix via submission.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Overtime Total
Sicilia 10
Carvalho 9

Bout 12: Pat Curran (23-8) vs. Adam Borics (13-0) (Featherweight Grand Prix First Round)

Before the next fight, Cris “Cyborg” Justino did an interview in the octagon, discussing her newly signed contract with Bellator. The third Featherweight Grand Prix fight saw undefeated Adam Boris faced Pat Curran. The first round included pretty even striking. Early in the second round the crowd started to boo. With a minute left in the second round, Boris landed a knee which dropped Curran. Boris landed hammerfist strikes on the ground, finally finishing the fight in the final seconds of the fight. Continuing his undefeated career, Adam Boris will be seen again in the next round of the Featherweight Grand Prix.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Overtime Total
Curran 9
Borics 10

Bout 13: Daniel Straus (26-8) vs. Derek Campos (19-9) (Featherweight Grand Prix First Round)

The final fight of the evening from the Featherweight Grand Prix was Daniel Straus versus Derek Campos. The fight went to the ground early after Straus slipped from throwing a kick. Campos was in half guard in top position for quite some time, attempting a head and arm choke at one point. Campos got another takedown in the first minute of the second round. The rest of the round was seemingly identical to the one before. On the ground in the final round, Campos really started to apply pressure with a choke. Straus was able to endure it somehow, despite how tight the choke became. Campos had a flurry of strikes on a helpless Straus until the fight came to a close. Going to the judges, all three had Derek Campos advancing to the next round (30-26, 30-25 & 30-25). The next four Featherweight World Grand Prix matchups will take place on September 28th.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Overtime Total
Straus 9 9 9 27
Campos 10 10 10 30

Bout 14: Ryan Bader © (27-5) vs. Cheick Kongo (30-10-2) (Bellator Heavyweight Championship)

The main event of the evening was Ryan Bader attempting to defend his Bellator Heavyweight Championship about Cheick Kongo. Bader was on a seven-fight winning streak, and Kongo went into this fight after eight-straight wins. Bader was working a jab early in the fight. Kongo shot for two takedowns but Bader stopped both of them. Bader scored a takedown in the second minute of the fight. Bader was smothering Kongo on the ground. With a minute or so left in the round, referee Mike Beltran paused the fight due to an eye poke. A doctor came into the cage to check on Kongo and ruled that he couldn’t compete. Due to it being an accidental poke, the fight was ruled a no contest. After Bader’s interview, he got into an altercation with Rampage Jackson. It didn’t look like there was any actual physical exchange between the two, as numerous people were there to separate them.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
Bader
Kongo

Bout 15: Cornelius Savage (0-0) vs. Evan Gubera (0-1) (Middleweight)

For those who weren’t satisfied with the main event, Bellator had some postlims to showcase. The first of six fights was a pro debut for Cornelius Savage, facing Evan Gubera who aimed to get his first pro victory. The way Savage moved in the cage was very stiff, but not due to an injury or anything like that. Savage got a double leg takedown in the third minute. In the final minute of the round he got a single leg takedown too. The second round was a pretty slow one, with both fighters having their moments in stand-up. In the final round, Savage seemed to be the more fatigued fighter. Gubera tried for a triangle choke and an armbar in the final moments of the fight but failed to get Savage to tap out. The scorecards were split, but two of the three gave that fight to Cornelius Savage (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28). After the fight the crowd voices their displeasure, as did Mauro Ranallo and John McCarthy on the English commentary.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Savage 10 10 9 29
Gubera 9 9 10 28

Bout 16: Daniel Gonzalez (2-2) vs. Jon Adams (0-0-1) (Flyweight)

Flyweights took the octagon next, as Daniel Gonzalez and the winless Jon Adams faced off. The first round was pretty fast paced between the two, with both of them staying in stand-up throughout. In the second round it was Gonzalez who was the aggressor. He landed a knee at the end of the round which dropped Adams. The referee stepped in eventually to give Daniel Gonzalez his second Bellator win, leaving Adams winless.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Gonzalez 10
Adams 9

Bout 17: Peter Ishiguro (1-1) vs. Elias Anderson (0-1) (Catchweight 140 lbs)

The next fight was a catchweight bout between Peter Ishiguro and Elias Anderson, who was hunting for his first pro win. Both fighters had a good first round, being somewhat evenly matched in stand-up. Late in the round Anderson caught a kick and nearly got the fight to the ground because of it. Ishiguro had quite a vocal fanbase in the somewhat empty crowd, chanting his nickname “Wasabi.” Ishiguro’s left jab was utilized quite well in this fight. Late in the second round, Ishiguro was able to counter a takedown attempt, earning top position as the round concluded. Anderson had the better final round, keeping a fast tempo of punches while Ishiguro had clearly gotten fatigued. The fight went the distance with all three judges ruling it in favour of Peter Ishiguro (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Ishiguro 10 10 9 29
Anderson 9 9 10 28

Bout 18: Favian Gutierrez (2-2) vs. Alan Benson (0-1) (Middleweight)

The next post-lim fight saw Favian Gutierrez aim to snap a losing streak against Alan Benson, who was chasing his first pro victory. The first round was somewhat inactive, although Gutierrez was the one dictating the pace. In the second round, Benson was dropped by punches. He was able to recover on the ground, with Gutierrez in top position on the ground. They stayed in this position until the round ended. The final round was a pretty slow one. In a split decision, it was Alan Benson who was given the victory (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28). This was the second decision of the night that had people up in arms. Maybe the judges got tired as the broadcast was reaching the seventh hour.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Gutierrez 10 10 9 29
Benson 9 9 10 28

Bout 19: Albert Gonzales (1-1) vs. Tyson Miller (0-0) (Catchweight 180 lbs)

In the second last post-lim of the night, Albert Gonzales and Tyson Miller made their Bellator debut. After a minute or so of competition, Gonzalez broke his leg after a kick was checked, ending the fight. While it was through an unfortunate outcome, Tyson Miller made his professional debut. Gonzalez was stretchered off.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Gonzales
Miller

Bout 20: Ivan Batinich (3-1) vs. Daniel Compton (2-1) (Middleweight)

Concluding the evening was Ivan Batinich facing Daniel Compton in a middleweight fight. Compton immediately shot for a takedown in the first round. Batinich contested the takedown attempt, eventually being the one who scored a takedown and took top position. Batinich landed a suplex and then tried for a rear naked choke. He also attempted an armbar but it didn’t work. Before trying for a choke, a cut above the left eyebrow of Batinich appeared. Compton got some elbows in when clinched against the cage just before the first round ended. The second round had a hectic ground game from both fighters. Batinich took the back of Compton with a minute and some left in the round. He went after the rear naked choke, finally putting it in after Compton was fighting it for a minute or so. With 30 seconds left in the round, Compton tapped out, giving Ivan Batinich his fourth professional victory.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Batinich 10
Compton 9

Bellator has a hectic fall scheduled after a somewhat quiet summer. With eight shows scheduled over the next three months, Bellator has their hands full. Later this month, the promotion will put on a double header on September 27th and 28th. The first show, Bellator 227 will take place at the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland, including big names like James Gallagher, Michael “Venom” Page and Benson Henderson. The next day, Bellator will come back to The Forum in Inglewood, California, USA, for Bellator 228. The main event of that card will see Patricio Pitbull put his Bellator Featherweight Championship on the line against Juan Archuleta. The card will also include the second half of the Bellator Bantamweight GP First Round.