Some of the biggest names in Bellator’s lightest weight classes were on display on Friday, Aug. 26, as the title picture in both the featherweight and lightweight divisions became a little clearer. Bellator also unveiled its latest free agent signing in Rory MacDonald and announced the next fight for one of its biggest current stars, Michael “Venom” Page, as he will take on Fernando Gonzalez in November.
A.J. McKee def. Cody Walker by second-round submission (modified guillotine)
The preliminary card for Bellator 160 had its fair share of early finishes, and the main card followed suit. Featherweight prospect A.J. McKee went toe-to-toe with Cody Walker, a late replacement, early on, with both men exchanging hard shots early in the fight and going to the mat, where McKee established himself with some ground-and-pound.
They picked up right where they left off when Round 2 began, with McKee landing a huge takedown on Walker and quickly trapping him in a modified power guillotine before the round was barely half-a-minute old. McKee called out both Bellator featherweight champion Daniel Straus and Patricio “Pitbull” Freire after his victory, but it’s a safe bet the highly-touted prospect will need a few more victories under his belt before he’s awarded a fight with either of those two.
Georgi Karakhanyan def. Bubba Jenkins by first-round knockout (punch)
This was a rematch from last year, when Karakhanyan quickly secured a first-round submission victory. Their second meeting didn’t end much differently, although it ended much more quickly. Karakhanyan caught a front-kick attempt by Jenkins and unleashed a devastating right hand that crumpled Jenkins to the mat and gave Karakhanyan a first-round knockout victory in less than a minute. Karakhanyan’s only two wins in the last three years have come against Jenkins, so I’m sure he wouldn’t turn down a third meeting with his familiar foe as he tries to climb back into a crowded featherweight division.
Derek Anderson def. Saad Awad by unanimous decision
This was the only main card fight to go the distance, and it did not disappoint and likely stole the show. Both Anderson and Awad went at it early and afternoon, combining hard strikes with great grappling as both fighters attempted multiple submissions, including a triangle and the rarely-seen omoplata. Anderson outgrappled and outstruck his opponent and was given the decision victory by the judges in a highly entertaining fight that brought the crowd to its feet.
Benson Henderson def. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire by second-round TKO (injury)
But just as quickly as the crowd cheered the co-main event, they quickly turned on the heavily-promoted main event as Henderson and Freire spent the first round circling the cage, with “Pitbull” only landing a few strikes that awarded him the first round to raucous boos from fans. The second round began much the same way, but just as it looked Freire was ready to unload his arsenal on Henderson, he quickly made a verbal submission and walked away, and John McCarthy stopped the fight as it was determined that Freire suffered some kind of injury to his leg.
However, a win is a win, and since Henderson was declared the victor, he will face Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler in November. The two fighters posed in the cage to end the show, and as long as both Henderson and Chandler stay healthy, fans can hopefully expect a better showing from Henderson against Chandler than what he was displaying against Freire prior to “Pitbull’s” injury.