While Bellator held two shows this weekend, Bellator 228 was clearly the bigger event. The show featured first round fights in the stacked Featherweight Grand Prix, and was also headlined by MMA stars Gegard Mousasi and Lyoto Machida in a rematch. Bellator as usual also had a very packed undercard.

Bout 1: James Barnes (11-4) vs. David Duran (8-5) (Catchweight 133 lbs)

The preliminary card started with a catchweight fight between James Barnes and David Duran. The first round was a good one for Barnes, landing good shots and keeping it in stand-up, where he wanted it. Barnes tried for a takedown and secured it with a minute and a half left in the round. Barnes opened the second round with another takedown. In the second minute of the round, Barnes put in a rear naked choke which gave him the victory. Dominant performance throughout for Barnes. 

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Barnes 9
Duran 10

Bout 2: Joshua Jones (8-4) vs. Dominic Clark (14-8) (Lightweight)

The next fight saw lightweights Joshua Jones and Dominic Clark clash. Clark went for a takedown in the second minute but Jones put in a guillotine. It stayed in for more than a minute, with Jones staying persistent and eventually getting the win from it.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Jones
Clark

Bout 3: Weber Almeida (2-0) vs. Castle Williams (4-2) (Featherweight)

The highly touted Weber Almeida faced Castle Williams in the next fight. Right off the bat in the first round, Almeida got a slam takedown. They stood back up and landed a left hook which dropped Williams. The commentary team likened Almeida to Lyoto Machida. A cut opened above the right eye of Williams. Williams tried for a takedown but couldn’t get it. Williams was dropped by a spinning back fist later. Williams showcased a great chin, eating tons of hard shots in the first round. He was dropped again with punches in the final minute. Almeida failed to finish the fight on the ground. Almeida dropped Williams early in the second round to get the W. It was impressive that Williams made it out of the first round. 

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Almeida 10
Williams 8

Bout 4: Shawn Bunch (9-3) vs. Leandro Higo (18-5) (Bantamweight)

Going down a weight class from the previous bout, the next fight saw the much more experienced pro Leandro Higo face Shawn Bunch. Both fighters had their moments in the first round, showcasing good hands. Bunch tried for a takedown as the round was concluding but couldn’t get it. Bunch’s hard fists continued in the second round. Higo chased a takedown, putting Bunch against the cage for quite some time. After they both got good punches in, Bunch put Higo against the cage. Higo put in a guillotine while standing which made Bunch tap out.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Bunch 10
Higo 9

Bout 5: Mike Jasper (13-5) vs. Johnny Cisneros (12-7) (Catchweight 175 lbs)

The next fight was a catchweight bout between Mike Jasper and Johnny “The Tattooed Terror” Cisneros. Cisneros got dropped in the first minute, putting Jasper in top position side control. Jasper stayed on the attack the whole round, staying in a dominant position and throwing strikes. It was clear early in the second round that Jasper had hurt one of his feet. Cisneros tried for a takedown but couldn’t get it. They took turns in control up against the cage. Cisneros became aware of the situation, targeting the feet of Jasper. Jasper was dropped by a leg kick and hit with a few more strikes before the referee stepped in. It was hard to watch afterwards as Jasper stayed on the ground in what looked like horrible pain. He stayed for the official result announcement but had to be helped out of the cage afterwards. 

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Jasper 10
Cisneros 8

Bout 6: Antonio McKee (29-6-2) vs. William Sriyapai (14-8) (Catchweight 167 lbs)

Making his return to MMA, Antonio McKee fought William Sriyapai on the prelims of a card which his son fights on later as well. McKee went into this fight at 49 years old, as Sriyapai was 47. McKee scored a takedown with a minute and a half left in the first round. McKee got a takedown in the second round and took the back of Sriyapai. He threw unanswered punches until the referee stepped in to give him his 30th professional victory.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
McKee 10
Sriyapai 9

Bout 7: Ava Knight (0-0) vs. Shannon Goughary (4-3) (Strawweight)

The next fight was a special one, as 18-2 boxer Ava Knight made her MMA debut against Shannon Goughary. She had a special walkout, being accompanied by O.T. Genasis. The rapper is most known for his 2014 song “Coco.” As expected, Knight was out-boxing Goughary from the start. Goughary went for a takedown in the second minute, but Knight was able to keep it on the feet. Upon second attempt, Goughary was able to get a takedown and top position. While Knight was able to get some ground and pound in, Goughary was the better fighter on the ground. Back on their feet in the second round, Knight was able to get more punches in. Goughary started to show that she was getting hurt by the punches. A right straight dropped Goughary, bringing the fight to the ground. They stood back up, with Knight continuing to show skills in the striking department. Knight dropped Goughary with punches in the first minute, then got up from the ground-game to force the fight back into stand-up. Knight landed a left jab to the mid-section which gave her the victory. In her MMA debut, Ava Knight passed with flying colours against Shannon Goughary.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Knight 9 10
Goughary 10 9

Bout 8: AJ Agazarm (1-1) vs. Jonathan Quiroz (3-3) (Featherweight)

Finishing off the prelims was featherweights AJ Agazarm and Jonathan Quiroz competing. Agazarm got a takedown early in the first round. They got back up a minute later. Quiroz had some good combinations of punches in stand-up. In the second round, Agazarm tried for a rear naked choke on the ground on the back of Quiroz. They got back up with a minute left in the second round. It was easily a much better round for Agazarm. Back in stand-up in the final round, Quiroz was landing some good shots. Agazarm got a takedown and held the position until the final minute of the fight where they went back to stand-up. With 40 seconds left, Agazarm got another takedown, taking the back of Quiroz and trying again for the rear naked choke. When looking to the scorecards, it was AJ Agazarm who got his second Bellator victory (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Agazarm 9 10 10 29
Quiroz 10 9 9 28

Bout 9: Daniel Weichel (39-11) vs. Saul Rogers (13-2) (Featherweight Grand Prix First Round)

The main card kicked off with the final four fights in the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix. The first of four fights was Daniel Weichel and Saul Rogers. This was the 50th professional MMA fight for Weichel. Rogers had some good punch combinations early on. Weichel was able to block a takedown attempt in the second minute. Rogers was winning the round until he was rocked by a punch which made him wobble and go into a defensive mode for the final moments of the round. Rogers had good striking in the second round. Weichel made Rogers fall by tripping him with a leg kick. He got back up quickly and they stayed in stand-up. Weichel did a good job and defending a double leg takedown early in the third round. The final round was easily the best one for Weichel as he quickened his striking output. Before we saw the decision, we were shown Paul George, Mickey Rourke and others sitting in the crowd. All three judges chose Daniel Weichel to move on in the tournament (29-28, 30-27 & 29-28). This was Weichel’s 40th professional win.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Weichel 10 9 10 29
Rogers 9 10 9 28

Bout 10: Darrion Caldwell (13-3) vs. Henry Corrales (17-3) (Featherweight Grand Prix First Round)

The second of four Featherweight Grand Prix matches saw former Bellator Bantamweight Champion Darrion Caldwell face Henry Corrales. Caldwell looked to return to winning in this fight after losing twice to Kyoji Horiguchi, once in Bellator and once in RIZIN. Caldwell got a takedown in the second minute of the fight, getting side control. He eventually went into full guard and kept Corrales on the ground until the final 10 seconds of the fight. Corrales was cut open on the head while on the ground. Caldwell chased a takedown for a few minutes but never fully secured it. While Caldwell never got a solid takedown in the second round, he was on offense for the whole round. In the final round, Caldwell was given a warning for not engaging. Caldwell got a takedown in the final minute. Corrales was trying for a guillotine but couldn’t secure it. Caldwell was getting booed afterwards, though he seemingly adopted a heel character, egging on the booing. Via unanimous decision, it was Darrion Caldwell moving on (29-27, 30-27 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Caldwell 10 10 10 30
Corrales 9 9 9 27

Bout 11: A.J. McKee (14-0) vs. Georgi Karakhanyan (28-9-1) (Featherweight Grand Prix First Round)

After his father won his respective fight on the prelims, A.J. McKee fought Georgi Karakhanyan in the next Featherweight GP matchup. In the opening seconds, McKee landed and overhand left that dropped Karakhanyan. After a few more ground and pound punches, McKee got the victory and moved on to the second round. On the fence, he shouted “write me my check!” There was some incident in the crowd that caught McKee’s attention before the official result was announced.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
McKee
Karakhanyan

Bout 12: Patricio Pitbull (29-4) vs. Juan Archuleta (23-1) (Featherweight Grand Prix First Round)

Before the next fight it was announced that Cris Cyborg would face Julia Budd for the Bellator Featherweight Championship in January. The final Featherweight GP First Round matchup was the Featherweight Champion Patricio Pitbull facing Juan Archuleta. Unlike the other first round matches, this one was a five round fight. A low kick to Pitbull cause a pause in the first round. Archuleta slipped in the first round and found himself in a guillotine. He got out of the guillotine after a few minutes. Pitbull stayed on top position until the end of the round, letting punches go at the end. Archuleta tried for a takedown early in the second round, with Pitbull keeping the fight on the feet. Pitbull was able to flip the position and put Archuleta against the cage in a standing clinch until the round ended. Pitbull dropped Archuleta in the third round, trying for a guillotine on the ground afterwards. A cut opened on Archuleta’s head that was bleeding quite a bit. Pitbull showcased more good striking throughout the round. Pitbull tried for the guillotine again near the end of the round. Pitbull dropped Archuleta again in the fourth round. Archuleta was able to block a takedown near the end of the fourth round. Pitbull ended the fifth round with a takedown. Before the decision, Darrion Caldwell shouted at Pitbull, saying he will fight him any month. Patricio Pitbull’s dominant performance was validated by the scorecards, which read in favour of him (49-46, 50-45 & 49-46).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
Pitbull 10 9 10 10 10 49
Archuleta 9 10 8 9 9 45

Before the main event of the evening, Bellator presented a Featherweight World Grand Prix “Selection Show.” The show saw all eight of the second round fighters onstage, drawing their second opponents for the quarter-finals. Fighters were given cards to choose their picking order. Fighters were given four dates to pick their fight (December, January, February and March). After the picking, these were the matchups made:

  1. A.J. McKee vs. Derek Campos (December)
  2. Adam Borics vs. Darrion Caldwell (January)
  3. Daniel Weichel vs. Emmanuel Sanchez (February)
  4. Patricio Pitbull vs. Pedro Carvalho (March)

Bout 13: Lyoto Machida (26-8) vs. Gegard Mousasi (45-7-2) (Middleweight)

The main event of the evening was a rematch between Lyoto Machida and Gegard Mousasi. Machida prevailed in their first meeting back in 2014. Mousasi landed a counter-punch right in the second minute of the bout which rocked Machida. Mousasi was consistently the fighter who pushed forward and threw the better punches. The fight went to the ground for the first time in the final two minutes when Machida tripped and fell. Machida tried for a guillotine choke in the final moments of the fight. After fifteen minutes, the fight went to scorecards with Gegard Mousasi earning the split decision victory (29-28 Machida, 29-28 Mousasi & 30-27 Mousasi).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Machida 9 9 9 27
Mousasi 10 10 10 30

Bout 14: Emilio Williams (4-2) vs. Ian Butler (6-6) (Catchweight 165 lbs)

The postlims started with Emilio Williams and Ian Butler. In the first 10 seconds of the fight, Butler got a takedown. Williams got back up halfway through the round. Butler looked for another takedown but when they went down it was Williams taking the back of Butler. With a minute left in the first, the referee stepped in as Butler was kneed in the ground. The fight eventually resumed with both fighters landing hard shots. Butler tried for a single leg takedown but never fully got it. Williams landed lots of shots as the first round was ending. Butler was potentially saved by the bell. Butler got a takedown early in the second round, teeing off with strikes on the ground. After many unanswered strikes the referee eventually stepped in. With a past record of 0-5 in Bellator, Butler finally saw himself get his first promotional win. After the fight ended it looked like Williams injured a knee in the fight. Butler’s victory was announced while Butler was still on the ground.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Williams 10
Butler 9

Bout 15: Andre Walker (5-2) vs. Ozzy Diaz (3-1) (Middleweight)

The next fight saw middleweights Andre Walker and Ozzy Diaz battle. Diaz scored a takedown early on, although Walker was quick to get back up. When getting another takedown, Diaz was able to take the back of Walker and put in a rear naked choke to earn a tap out victory. Diaz moved to 2-0 in Bellator in his early career.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Walker
Diaz

Bout 16: Johnny Santa Maria (3-4) vs. Benji Gomez (8-13) (Catchweight 130 lbs)

The final catchweight bout on the show was Johnny Santa Maria and Benji Gomez facing off. Both fighters went into the bout with a negative record. The first round was a close one as both fighters showcased fast striking. Gomez got a takedown in the final seconds of the first round. Gomez had Santa Maria retreating early in the second round. Santa Maria failed at the rare imanari roll, staying on the ground until the referee forced him up. After Gomez caught a stomach kick, Santa Maria also tried for a rolling thunder kick. Gomez was clearly the better striker. Gomez got the fight to the floor in the final round for a few minutes. When looking at the scorecards, all three judges saw it as a win for Benji Gomez (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Santa Maria 9 9 9 27
Gomez 10 10 10 30

Bout 17: Adrian Najera (1-0) vs. Jason Edwards (2-0) (Bantamweight)

The evening wrapped up with two undefeated professionals colliding. Adrian Nejera faced Jason Edwards in a classic “Two O’s one’s got to go” matchup. Najera stubbornly landed numerous takedowns within the first few minutes of the bout. Edwards landed a good knee in the clinch late in the first round. He tried for a guillotine choke but let go eventually. While Najera continued to land takedowns, Edwards’ striking in the second half of the round worked well for him. Halfway through the second round, Najera had one of his better takedowns, taking the back of Edwards. Edwards was able to fight out of the predicament and take top position. When they got back up, Najera landed a knee which dropped Edwards and sent his mouthpiece flying. Najera put in an ambar in the final 10 seconds of the fight, with Edwards being able to endure until the bell. The fight went back to the ground in the final round when Edwards tried for a guillotine choke. Najera started to land tons of punches, getting a victory when he slipped in a rear naked choke. Adrian Najera added a second win to his career, capping off a widely successful night for the Body Shop MMA gym.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Najera 9 10
Edwards 10 9

Bellator will return this weekend with Bellator 229, headlined by Andrey Koreshkov and Lorenz Larkin, the show will take place from the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California, USA. Overall the card is 13 fights, with four of them being on the main card.