Ricky Bandejas still not confident in hands despite KO win at Bellator 225

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – After suffering a two-fight skid against a pair of bantamweight contenders, Ricky Bandejas is back in the mix at 135 pounds.

The native of Brick, N.J., claimed a first-round knockout victory over Ahmet Kayretli in his Bellator 225 preliminary card bout to get him back into the win column after recent losses to Juan Archuleta and Patrick Mix. And the 27-year-old said that his recent losses meant the taste of victory was particularly sweet this time around.

“It felt good, man,” he told reporters backstage after his victory. “I trained really hard for this one and it meant a lot to get that win, especially in that fashion.

“I knew he came in wild like that and ducked his head, big punches, so I was looking for knees, teeps, quick right hand and it worked out right to gameplan.”

Bandejas (12-3 MMA, 2-2 BMMA) has been given no easy outs in his Bellator career to date. Thrust into the spotlight against James Gallagher on his promotional debut, Bandejas scored a highlight-reel knockout. But subsequent losses to Archuleta and Mix led to a change in approach and a change in camp. Bandejas admitted it was a big decision to make but, after his win over Kayretli (8-4 MMA, 0-2 BMMA), he said he is happy with the path he has chosen.

“Yeah. It was questionable, but now I did it, I’m very happy with the decision,” he said. And that was only a three-week camp down there. So I can’t wait to get down there and train months and potentially years and see where it takes me.

“(After) those two losses, that was just a decision I realized I had to make a change in my life, whether that’s train more or different gym, whatever it was. I sat down the family came to (the decision to) maybe going to a new gym.”

And the presence of Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal in his corner, and in his training camp, has been a real boost for the rising bantamweight prospect, who says he is already benefiting from the former Bellator champion’s input and experience.

“Since I’ve been there he’s been giving me a lot of help,” he said. “He’s a great guy (and) has a really good fight I.Q. And in the ring he was just straight away telling me what I need to do better and things I need to tighten up. I’m all about that. I want to become the best fighter I can.”

The victory saw Bandejas pick up another highlight-reel finish to sit alongside his finish of Gallagher, and he admitted his new-found penchant for eye-catching knockouts is something he is still getting used to, and even revealed that he isn’t confident and comfortable with his knockout power yet.

“It’s crazy. My first 10 fights, it was all wrestling, all takedowns,” he said. “It’s only recently, since I signed with Bellator, that I’ve been knocking guys out.

“(I) never had confidence (in my hands) you know? I probably still don’t have confidence,” he laughed. “So I can’t want to get confidence in my hands.”

With his two-fight losing skid now halted, Bandejas says he wants to return to the Bellator cage as compete under the lights as often as possible as he looks to build his resumé at 135 pounds and work his way to the top.

“I feel like I got the sour taste in my mouth (after the two losses), and I think this is definitely the beginning of multiple more wins and finishes,” he said.

“Anywhere, wherever Bellator wants, whoever. It doesn’t matter to me. The last three fights were just the best guys in the division. If Bellator lets me I would fight 10, 15 times a year. Every other week, as long as I can. I do like staying active.”

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Michael Johnson vs. Stevie Ray among fight additions to UFC Singapore

Gallery Photo: UFC 168 Weigh-In Photos

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

A slew of fights has officially been added to UFC Singapore.

On Sunday afternoon, UFC officials announced Michael Johnson would be making the jump back up lightweight to challenge fellow UFC veteran Stevie Ray.

Johnson (19-14), a finalist from Season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter, is looking to right the ship after suffering a violent knockout to Josh Emmett at UFC Philadelphia in March. This setback snapped his two-fight win streak, which included decision over Andre Fili and Artem Lobov.

This bout will also mark Johnson’s first bout at 155 pounds since his TKO loss to Justin Gaethje in July 2017

Ray (22-9), a former BAMA and Cage Warriors champion, is also looking to recover from his own KO loss, which came at the hands of Leonardo Santos at UFC Stockholm in June. Prior to this “Braveheart” earned a decision over Jessin Ayari last October.

Other additions to October card include a a pair of heavyweight scraps between Sergei Pavlovich vs. Maurice Greene and Ciryl Gane vs. Don’Tale Mayes.

The entire card is currently slated to go down on Oct. 26 at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore. With these latest additions, here is how the entire card stands:

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MMA’s week out of the cage: Daniel Cormier shares heartfelt message after father’s passing

Social media has become a significant part of the sporting landscape. But few, if any, professional sports match the level of interaction and personal access provided by MMA.

In an individual competition in which nearly every athlete is chasing the same goal of financial success and championship glory, it’s important for fighters to provide insight into their lives in order to connect with fans and gain followings.

Although the life of a fighter often can be mundane and repetitive, there still are moments of interest that take place outside the cage, ring or training room. Here are some of the most interesting of those occurrences from the past week.

* * * *

A personal loss

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Today I lost my hero to cancer, my father was the bravest, strongest , hardest working and most caring person I’ve ever known. Always the life of the party and made everyone he ever came in contact with feel good. I never could have imagined we would be going through this right now. All the lessons I wanna try and pass along I learned from my dad. You know its about the legacy we leave behind and my dads legacy will be one of just a great person, loving husband and father and friend to everyone. If you’ve ever met Percy Benoit you’re better for it. We were able to see some amazing things pops and I hope you enjoyed the ride, I only wanted to make you proud. I love you pop, you were the strenght of this family , now you get to rest. No more pain. Love you Dad #rip #cancersucks

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Birthdays, anniversaries and engagements

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Today’s a real ones birthday 🙌🏾 #alhamdulillah

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She said yes!!!! ❤

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Children of MMA

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You're my right hand, you're my go to.

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Weekend mornings 💕

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Dad life…the best life 😎😎😎

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Weekly eats

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Balling On A Budget!

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Activities and adventures

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Hot mamas!!! 🔥 palanga beach-2019

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Such a good time in the desert , I love #UAE !

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Random leftovers

The Blue Corner is MMA Junkie’s blog space. We don’t take it overly serious, and neither should you. If you come complaining to us that something you read here is not hard-hitting news, expect to have the previous sentence repeated in ALL CAPS.

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Nasrat Haqprast: ‘Khabib Nurmagomedov will be a superstar in Abu Dhabi’ 

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Hamburg-Haqparast vs Diakiese

Nasrat Haqparast | Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Born in Germany to Afghan parents, Nasrat Haqparast is adamant that Khabib Nurmagomedov will treated like a superstar when he travels to Abu Dhabi to defend his lightweight title against Dustin Poirier on Sept. 7 at UFC 242.

Haqparast took a stoppage win over Joaquim Silva on the recent UFC Newark card, but underlined that he would have loved to compete on the Abu Dhabi card had it taken place earlier in the year.

“When they told me [UFC 242] was in September it was too long [to wait], my last fight was the end of October, my next fight was supposed to be in March but a small injury forced me out and I was waiting for a fight,” Haqparast told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast.

“Abu Dhabi sounds amazing, but for me, I just wanted to stay as active as possible… if I can fight two or three times this year it would be amazing. I always stay in shape, I’m always training and it’s not the last time the UFC will be coming to Abu Dhabi… I think the UFC signed a four- or five-year contract so they’re going to be back next year.”

“For me, it’s not so important where I fight, what card I’m on or how big the event is, for me I just love to fight; I love the competition and I want to stay as active as possible,” he added.

Nurmagomedov became a star through his highly publicized clash with Conor McGregor at UFC 229 last year. Citing the press conference in which the Irishman offered Nurmagomedov, a devout Muslim, a glass of whiskey, Haqparast highlighted why he believes family and religion should be left out of pre-fight trash talk.

“In my opinion, what Conor did there was not good. You should never attack family or religion. Of course trash talk promotes a fight, so it’s important. It’s Conor’s thing to trash talk, but family and religion is a line that you should not cross. Khabib stayed very calm, his reaction [to Conor offering him whiskey at the UFC 229 press conference] really impressed me. How many people can be calm in this situation? I am a really religious person too.”

Based on the growth of his celebrity over the last year, Haqparast believes Nurmagomedov will receive a hero’s welcome in Abu Dhabi next month.

“In Abu Dhabi, [Khabib] is going to be a superstar. We have a lot of support, it’s amazing, from these countries. The people there are really passionate. In Afghanistan for example, I represent Afghanistan when I fight because they don’t have many [people to support] in the UFC or in combat sports. I want to be a role model for our people, everybody. But especially for people who are poor and who don’t think they have a big chance in life. Even if I can just motivate five people out of millions I’m happy, I’ve done something good in this world,” he said.

“For sure, Khabib is going to be a superstar in Abu Dhabi—it’s going to be an amazing atmosphere, I look forward to it.”

Check out the latest episode of Eurobash. The Nasrat Haqparast interview begins at 43:00.

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Bellator 225 winner Yaroslav Amosov hopes for dream title fight with Rory MacDonald

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Yaroslav Amosov handed David Rickels the first submission loss of his MMA career, then said he was ready to take on the winner of the upcoming title clash between Rory MacDonald and Douglas Lima, and admitted he was rooting for “The Red King” to prevail to set up a dream fight for the Bellator welterweight strap.

Amosov (22-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) turned in a hugely impressive performance to submit Rickels (21-6 MMA, 15-6 BMMA) with a second-round D’Arce choke in their 175-pound clash at Bellator 225 and announce himself as a legitimate threat to the division’s best at welterweight.

“I feel like I could be the next one for the champion. I want it. It’s my goal to be a champion,” he told reporters via a translator backstage at Webster Bank Arena after his victory. “I’m craving to fight Rory MacDonald, because when I just started training and just started fighting, Rory was already a top fighter in the world. So he motivates me, I like his style, I like how he moves. And I like the result (tonight), and one day soon I can fight with him, so that motivates me.”

His victory over Rickels, the man with the most appearances inside the Bellator cage, showed the undefeated Ukrainian’s grappling skills as he dominated proceedings with his takedowns and top position. And when the opportunity presented itself in the second round, Amosov locked up a tight D’Arce choke for the victory. It was a star-making performance, but it was nothing less than Amosov himself expected.

“There are no easy fights, so I always prepare for a tough fight and the worst-case scenario. It is what it is. We saw the result,” he said. “I wasn’t surprised that I could dominate him like that. I’m a four-time world champion in combat sambo. I prepared for a long time, for a couple of months. It was hard training. So I’m glad I got this victory.”

The nature of Amosov’s win led some fans and media to liken his performance to that of UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Amosov said he was happy to be compared to the all-conquering Russian world champion, and hoped to one day follow in his footsteps and reach the top of his profession.

“I’m very glad that fans are talking about me and Khabib in the same sentence,” he said. “I’m always looking for a championship fight and I’m trying to get the best from champions, taking notes and learning something from them. I’m looking forward to being a champion one day.”

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Dana White describes his working relationship with UFC owner Ari Emanuel 

UFC 202 Weigh-ins

Ari Emanuel (right) at the UFC 202 weigh-ins on Aug. 19, 2016, in Las Vegas | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

As Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta sought to find a buyer for the UFC, there was one condition laid out from every potential suitor looking to purchase the mixed martial arts promotion—Dana White had to be willing to stay on with the company.

According to the UFC president, that condition had him nervous about the buyers vying for a chance to run the organization because his bombastic, outspoken attitude might clash with a lot of business owners who weren’t his best friends.

White and the Fertitta brothers teamed up to purchase the UFC in 2001 and the three of them built the business from a $4 million failing promotion to an organization worth selling for over $4 billion just 15 years later.

In the end, Endeavor—a powerhouse Hollywood agency ran by Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell—placed the winning bid to buy the UFC but White says the Fertitta brothers sold to them despite having higher offers on the table because the chemistry was the right fit for the UFC.

“The scariest part during the sale was everybody that came in that was making offers to buy the UFC, the one stipulation was that I had to stay. So then I’m like holy s—t,” White told the “Short Story Long” podcast. “The Fertitta brothers were like ‘listen man, you’ve got to stay’ and it’s not that I didn’t want to stay, who am I staying with is the question? Again a testament to the Fertittas, there were higher bidders than Ari. There was a company that was bidding $5 billion.

“I said I don’t give a f—k about the money but at the end of the day everybody gives a f—k about the money and the Fertitta’s absolutely cared about the money but they were cool enough and smart enough to realize that we need to match him up with somebody that it’s actually going to work with and Ari was the guy. Ari was absolutely the guy.”

Emanuel had already been in business with the UFC previously when he helped negotiate the seven-year, multi-million dollar broadcast rights deal with FOX.

While he typically works behind the scenes when representing his famous clients, Emanuel became a household name after the HBO series “Entourage” based one of the lead characters on him.

On the television series, Ari Gold (played by Jeremy Piven) was loud, brash, unapologetic and more often than not rather offensive and rude to get what he wanted for his clients but White says that caricature doesn’t come close to the real Ari Emanuel, who now owns the UFC.

“Now with Ari [Emanuel], he and I end up being perfect partners together. It’s really cool,” White said. “You think of a guy like Ari, if you watch “Entourage”—Ari Emanuel has no ego when he deals in business and he’s a f—king killer and I love that about him, too.

“For me to be able to have two perfect marriages in business is pretty crazy.”

White says he’s never clashed with Emanuel in the past few years that they’ve been at the head of decision making for the UFC.

“Ari is f—king awesome. He’s awesome. He couldn’t have been a better guy to be the guy to come in with me again,” White said. “You know how many arguments me and Ari have had in f—king almost the last four years? Zero. We’ve had zero. Zero arguments whatsoever.

“All the s—t with the banks, dealing with all the banks and all the s—t that’s involved now, Ari does all that. Cause that’s what Ari does and that’s what Ari is really good at. You know what him and the banks do? They let me do my thing. They stay out of the way and they let me run the business. It’s f—king great. It’s perfect.”

White just recently inked a new multi-year contract to stay on board as the UFC president and he’s said openly that he has no desire to ever leave the promotion as long as they’ll have him, especially now that he’s built such an incredible working relationship with the new owners at Endeavor.

“The transition was completely smooth,” White said. “For two massive companies to merge like this, and have it run as good as it does now, it’s almost unheard of.”

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Sabah Homasi wants bonus after 17-second KO in promotional return at Bellator 225

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Sabah Homasi doesn’t care about records. All he wants a bonus.

At Saturday’s Bellator 225, the former UFC welterweight returned to promotion’s cage for the first time since 2014. In just 17 seconds, Homasi (13-8 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) devastated opponent Micah Terrill (14-8 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) with a brutal series of fight-ending punches.

“The Punisher” has won back-to-back fights since his UFC departure in 2018. Uninterested in focusing on his past defeats, Homasi isn’t concerned about how his record looks on paper. For Homasi, it’s about turning hard work into results.

“I always say records are for DJs,” Homasi said. “Whether it’s boxing, MMA, or any combat sport, your record doesn’t really reset. It sticks with you throughout your whole career.

“In this competition, (it’s) just like professional teams. Let’s say they have a bad season. They regroup and they see the things they need to work on to get better. Then they can come back and come back stronger.”

A giant right hook was the blow which initiated the finishing sequence. While Terrill may have been out when he hit the canvas, Homasi was only focused on feeling the referee stop the fight.

“I’m not going to stop until the ref pulls me off,” Homasi said. “I threw the left hook behind it, but I threw the first one and saw him drop and I was following through with the left hook. If the right hand didn’t put him out, the left hook would have caught him.”

The only thing that could have made the win sweeter for Homasi? A post-fight bonus – which he’d have been eligible for if it was a UFC show. Bellator doesn’t hand out official fight-night bonuses.

“I just want a bonus, man,” Homasi said. “Where’s my bonus for that? That’s a $50,000 bonus right there. Don’t you think?”

Following his victory, Homasi took to the microphone to call out fellow Bellator 225 participant Austin Vanderford, who competed (and won) in the bout directly after his. In an ideal situation, Homasi hopes to return in October at Bellator’s return to Mohegan Sun.

“I’d like to fight again Oct. 26,” Homasi said. “That works for me. That’s a good date. Let me take a week off or something – not even. I’ll just get back in the gym and drill and pick it up. Then get back to work. I’m healthy and injury free, so I’m ready to go. If you need me to fight again tonight, I’ll do it.”

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ONE Championship releases finalized card for ‘Century’ event, including four title fights, Grand Prix finals

Demetrious Johnson | ONE Championship

ONE Championship isn’t playing around with its “Century” event this fall.

On Sunday, ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong announced the finalized event lineup for the promotion’s upcoming return to Tokyo on Oct. 13, a two-part event featuring a bevy of world championship fights and Grand Prix finals.

Part 1 will be headlined by Angela Lee (9-2) defending her atomweight (115-pound) title against Jingnan Xiong (14-1). This will be Lee’s return to ONE’s atomweight division after losing back-to-back fights at 125 pounds. One of those losses was to Xiong, the ONE strawweight (125-pound) champion who is now dropping down for her shot at Lee’s belt.

Co-headlining will be a pair of Grand Prix finals. Former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson (29-3-1) faces Danny Kingad (13-1) in the finals of a 135-pound tournament, while former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez (30-7, 1 NC) faces Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev (8-1) in the finals of a 170-pound tournament.

Yuya Wakamatsu, Yushin Okami, and Senzo Ikeda will also be in action on the Part 1 portion of the event.

Part 2 sees Aung La N Sang (25-10, 1 NC) defending his 225-pound championship against Brandon Vera (16-7, 1 NC) in the main event. N Sang also holds a ONE title at 205 pounds, while Vera brings the ONE heavyweight title into this contest.

Bibiano Fernandes (23-4) defends his bantamweight (135-pound) title against longtime rival Kevin Belingon (20-6). This will be the third straight fight between the two and their fourth meeting overall, with Fernandes holding a 2-1 lead in the series so far. Their last outing ended in controversial fashion with Belingon dropping the bantamweight championship back to Fernandes after he was disqualified for illegal elbows to the back of the head. Their two previous meetings saw Belingon win one by split decision and Fernandes the other by first-round submission.

Also on the Part 2 main card, Rodtang Jitmuangnon defends his 135-pound Muay Thai championship against Walter Goncalves, Giorgio Petrosyan meets Samy Sana in the featherweight (155-pound) Grand Prix kickboxing finals with a $1 million prize on the line, plus Arjan Bhullar makes his ONE debut and veteran Shinya Aoki takes on Honorio Banario in a 170-pound bout.

See below for the full event lineup (bout order and broadcast information still to be finalized):

Part 1

Angela Lee vs. Jingnan Xiong

Demetrious Johnson vs. Danny Kingad

Eddie Alvarez vs. Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev

Janet Todd vs. Ekaterina Vandaryeva — Muay Thai

Yuya Wakamatsu vs. Dae Hwan Kim

Sam-a Gaiyanghadao vs. Darren Roland — Muay Thai

Yushi Okami vs. Agilan Thani

Itsuki Harata vs. Rika Ishige

Senzo Ikeda vs. Lito Adiwang

Phoe Thaw vs. Yoon Chang Min

Sunoto vs. Kwon Won Il

Part 2

Aung La N Sang vs. Brandon Vera

Bibiano Fernandes vs. Kevin Belingon

Rodtang Jitmuangnon vs. Walter Goncalves — Muay Thai Championship Bout

Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Samy Sana — Kickboxing Grand Prix Final

Mauro Cerilli vs. Arjan Bhullar

Shinya Aoki vs. Honorio Banario

Mei Yamaguchi vs. Jenny Huang

Yosuke Saruta vs. Daichi Kitakata

Shoko Sato vs. Rafael Silva

Hernani Perpetuo vs. Hiroyuki Tetsuka

Koshi Matsumoto vs. Takasuke Kume

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Veteran Sergei Kharitonov has one last MMA motivation: a Bellator title fight

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Less than seven months after Matt Mitrione stood over the crumpled body of Sergei Kharitonov at Bellator 215, their roles reversed.

Saturday, at Bellator 225 at Webster Arena in Bridgeport, Conn., Kharitonov (30-7 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) took one step closer to erasing the memory of the fight-ending low blow against Mitrione (13-7 MMA, 4-2 BMMA) in February.

Unlike their fist outing, this bout had a definitive winner. After absorbing frequent Mitrione kicks in the opening minutes, Kharitonov scored a vicious uppercut-to-knee combination for the TKO win.

Despite the potential for nightmarish flashbacks, Kharitonov indicated he wasn’t phased by the kick-heavy offense. The Russian explained he realizes accidents happen in MMA.

“It’s just a sport,” Kharitonov told reporters, including MMA Junkie, through an interpreter post-fight at Bellator 225. “Everything is fair. So no emotions or anything. Just sport.”

As reporters fielded questions to the heavyweight contender, a common theme emerged. Almost all of Kharitonov’s answers, whether related to the question or not, contained the same two words “title fight.”

The 39-fight veteran has competed all of the world for numerous top-level organizations, but a Bellator title fight has eluded him. The Russian heavyweight kept it short and sweet when speaking about the title.

“I only have one motivation,” Kharitonov said. “It’s a title fight.”

While he did not elect to give his prediction for the heavyweight title clash between Ryan Bader and Cheick Kongo at Bellator 226 on Sept. 7, Kharitonov said he’d be willing and ready to step in if either fighter fell off the card.

“No predictions,” Kharitonov said. “But if someone signs out, I’m ready to fill in.

With the victory, Kharitonov has now won three out of his five outings with the promotion, including the no-contest with Mitrione in Feb. 2019. His last loss came to Javy Ayala in his promotional debut at Bellator 163 in Nov. 2016.

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Bellator 225 was the most violent night in major MMA history

MMA: AUG 24 Bellator MMA Mitrione v Kharitonov 2

Timothy Johnson and Vitaly Minakov | Photo by Williams Paul/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — This city along the eastern seaboard can be a dangerous place. Indeed, at various times in the 1980s and ‘90s, it had murder rates that far exceeded the national average. To this day, it is ranked among the nation’s worst cities to live in, a list that is in part created through input from crime statistics. It is not all bad here, however. There are beautiful areas by the Long Island Sound, some amazing restaurants, and occasionally, world-class entertainment. It is downtrodden yet filled with potential. Bridgeport is complicated.

That’s always how it is here. Take Bellator 225, for example. By the time it finished, this was perhaps one of the greatest Bellator live shows of all time. Every single fight was a finish. There was the fastest submission in promotional history. There were highlight-reel knockouts. It was a violent and electrifying night. No one left wanting a refund. On the other hand, it would have been nice if there was a bigger crowd on hand to witness the action in the first place. Attendance figures were not available but there were plenty of good seats to be had, some in every section, some in group-size clusters. If you needed a whole row, that could probably be had as well.

For those who missed it, it’s their loss.

It was a bonkers evening. Here’s how it broke down:

  • 14 fights, 14 finishes
  • 7 knockouts, 7 submissions
  • 9 first-round stoppages
  • 3 second-round stoppages
  • 2 third-round stoppages
  • 4 fights that lasted less than two minutes
  • Fastest submission in Bellator history (11 seconds – Aviv Gozali)

So how rare is a major MMA fight card that ends in all finishes? It’s pretty damn rare. There is no central record-keeper in MMA to spit out such information, but best we can tell, it’s only happened a handful of times in the modern-day era. Regardless, Bellator 225 holds the distinction as the event with the most fights on a card to all be finished.

The only UFC card to even approach that record came in 2014, when a UFC Fight Night event highlighted by the first Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping bout went 11-for-11 in stoppages. Strikeforce back in 2011 also had an event go 11-for-11.

That is amazing, but Saturday night was next level. While the cage side judges could have taken the night off and enjoyed some authentic linguine and clam sauce at nearby downtown staple Ralph-n-Rich’s, the EMTs had a serious night of non-stop action. Only two fights into the event, Eduard Muravitskiy needed help after getting heel hooked in 11 seconds by Gozali, who admitted afterward that yes, he heard Muravitskiy’s right knee pop. Muravitskiy traveled all the way from Belarus for the honor of getting tapped faster than a round break, and by an 18-year-old to boot. Worse, that’s the kind of submission that usually causes significant damage to the tendons and ligaments. That, folks, is a brutal business trip.

In the very next fight, Sabah Homasi absolutely starched Micah Terrill with a thundering right hand that seemed to echo in the moment. Total time? Seventeen seconds. Next up, Austin Vanderford painted the sponsorship section of the canvas red with Joseph Creer’s blood. The Burger King marketing team could not have been happy that their logo ended up looking like a CSI crime scene until the ringside doctor stepped in to remind Vanderford that Creer was going to need the rest of the plasma in his body, and that enough was enough.

These were just the prelims!

Later, Ricky Bandejas face-planted Ahmet Kayretli, Timothy Johnson got smashed up by Vitaly Minakov (and needed assistance to leave the cage), and Sergei Kharitonov blasted Matt Mitrione with a doomsday uppercut and a knee to close out the show.

This only scratches the surface of the punching and kicking, squeezing and strangling that was going on. If you’re an MMA fan, it was the kind of night you live for. If you’re on the fence, it was the kind of night that could make you realize that this sport is not for you.

There was a lot of oohing and ahhing, there were a lot of eyebrows raised, there were a lot of expletives flying around at all the hell that was unleashed. After six hours and 14 fights of relentless batterings one after the next, it’s safe to say that Saturday night in this city delivered the most violent night in major MMA history.

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Twitter reacts to Sergei Kharitonov’s bizarre TKO of Matt Mitrione in Bellator 225 rematch

Sergei Kharitonov got the better of Matt Mitrione in their rematch at Bellator 225, but like the first fight, it didn’t come without a hint of strangeness.

After Mitrione’s (13-7 MAM, 4-2 BMMA) mouthpiece fell out multiple times through the course of the action, Kharitonov (29-6 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) finally took advantage when he scored a second-round TKO in the headlining bout, which took place at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn.

Check below for the top Twitter reactions to Kharitonov’s victory over Mitrione at Bellator 225.

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Bellator 225 Results: Sergei Kharitonov knocks out distracted Matt Mitrione

Bellator

It was a night of finishes at Bellator 225, with all 14 bouts ending without the use of the judges. But despite the great night of action, all the talk coming out of Bridgeport, Connecticut, will be about a mouthpiece.

In the main event of Bellator 225, Sergei Kharitonov and Matt Mitrione finally ran back their fight from February which ended in a no-contest following a low blow from Mitrione that rendered Kharitonov unable to continue. This time around, Kharitonov stopped Mitrione with strikes in the second round but while there was a clear resolution to the fight, the circumstances surrounding the finish still left something to be desired, as a dysfunctional mouthpiece played a pivotal role in the ending.

Mitrione was having success in the first round of the fight, pushing Kharitonov backwards and just generally dictating the action of the fight. But midway through the round, Mitrione began having issues with his mouthpiece, which kept falling out. After the third time his mouthpiece fell out, referee Dan Miragliotta warned Mitrione that if it happened again he would have to take a point. Mittrione tried to argue that this was a new mouthpiece but Miragliotta wasn’t having any of that. During the break between rounds, Miragliotta again told Mitrione and his corner that he needed to keep his mouthpiece in and Mitrione even told his cornermen that he had another one in his bag but Mitrione’s corner was more concerned about trying to get their fighter to refocus on the bout. Turns out, that may have been a mistake.

Not too long into the second round, Mitrione was grazed by a check right hook from Kharitonov that knocked his mouthpiece out again, but before Miragliotta could intervene, the visibly frustrated Mitrione stepped in on Kharitonov, who dropped him with an uppercut. A few follow-up shots later and Mitrione’s mouthpiece troubles, and the fight, were over. Kharitonov is noe unbeaten over his last eight bouts and has prime position for the next heavyweight title fight.

In the co-main event, Vitaly Minakov successfully rebounded off the first loss of his career by turning in a highlight reel knockout of Timothy Johnson. Minakov stunned Johnson with a right hand that had the American reeling and then Minakov turned out the lights with a combination that left Johnson slumped unconscious against the cage. The win moved Johnson to 22-1 and has him right back in the thick of the heavyweight title picture.

In the only women’s fight of the evening, Alejandra Lara got back on the winning track, stopping Taylor Turner with ground and pound in the first round. It was a pretty formulaic victory for Lara who was able to get top position against Lara without issue. From there Lara postured up and started raining punches that hurt Turner and eventually caused the referee to step in for the first-round stp[[age. The win moves Lara to 2-2 in the Bellator cage while the loss drops Turner to 1-1 in Bellator and 4-6 overall.

In a 175-pound catchweight bout, Yaroslav Amosov kept his undefeated record in tact by becoming the first person so submit David Rickels. Though Amosov had plenty of success on the feet, he continually took Rickels down and worked Bellator’s most prolific fighter over from top position. In the second round he was finally able to end the fight by locking up a D’Arce choke. The win moved Amosov to 22-0 and announced his arrival to the very top of the Bellator welterweight division.

In the main card opener, Tyrell Fortune kept rolling with a rear-naked choked submission over Rudy Schaffroth. Schaffroth and Fortune actually had a history together, having been high school wrestling teammates, and Schaffroth is even currently a training partner of Fortune’s twin brother but all that insight didn’t seem to help as Fortune hurt Schaffroth on the feet before submitting him in the second round.

The preliminary bouts for Bellator 225 were especially exciting, featuring a number of slick submissions and sensational knockouts. Key highlights from the undercard includef Khonry Gracie and Austin Vanderford both picking up wins, and hot prospect Mike Kimbel getting upset by Chris Disonell. Also, Aviv Gozali set a Bellator record with an 11-second heel hook submission. Then in the final prelim bout, Nick Newell made a triumphant Bellator debut picking up a first-round submission win over Corey Browning.

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Bellator 232 video: Rory MacDonald, Douglas Lima face off for tournament final

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Rory MacDonald and Douglas Lima will run back one of the most brutal battles in Bellator history at Bellator 232 in October.

Shortly after the welterweight title rematch, which also doubles as a $1,000,000 welterweight grand prix final, was made official, MacDonald (21-5-1 MMA, 3-1-1 BMMA) and Lima (31-7 MMA, 13-3 BMMA) had a staredown in front of media members.

Both men were all class before and after the first fight, which MacDonald won by unanimous decision at Bellator 192 in January 2018, and it appears things will be the same as they prepare to go at it again at Bellator 232.

Watch the video above to see 170-pound champ MacDonald and ex-champ Lima face off.

Bellator 231 takes place Oct. 26 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The card streams on DAZN following prelims on MMA Junkie.

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Bellator 225 highlights

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With Bellator 225 in the books, watch Sergei Kharitonov defeat Matt Mitrione as well as all the other main card finishes Saturday night.

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Sergei Kharitonov Bounces Matt Mitrione in Second Round of Bellator 225 Rematch

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Bellator 225 results: Sergei Kharitonov takes out mouthepiece-less Matt Mitrione

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Matt Mitrione struggled with his mouthpiece in the first round. In the second, that struggle cost him.

Sergei Kharitonov (30-7 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) stopped Mitrione (13-7 MMA, 4-2 BMMA) with a second-round TKO after Mitrione lost his mouthpiece for a fourth time in the fight. Kharitonov put Mitrione away with an uppercut, knee and a pair of hammerfists in their rematch from a February bout that was a no contest after 15 seconds due to an accidental groin strike from Mitrione.

The heavyweight bout was the Bellator 225 main event at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. It aired on Paramount and streamed on DAZN following prelims on MMA Junkie.

Mitrione landed a left immediately, then a kick up the middle. He charged forward seconds later for another combo, then kicked up high. Thirty seconds in, he wasn’t afraid to kick toward Kharitonov’s midsection, either. After a brief clinch 90 seconds in, they went bcak to the middle and Kharitonov tried to get his jab woking.

He narrowly ducked away from another high kick, but found himself being backed up by the American. Kharitonov got a couple jabs off, then threw a left hook and a body shot. But Mitrione stayed right on him. With 90 seconds left, they clinched and Mitrione lost his mouthpiece. It fell out again a few seconds later. Kharitonov tried to take advantage immediately after Mitrione put it back in and landed his best punch of the fight. When Mitrione lost his mouthpiece a third time, referee Dan Miragliotta gave him a stern warning to make sure it stayed in.

Mitrione kicked to the body to open the second, then tried to find a home for his jab. Kharitonov kept after him with his jabs and body kicks, and a minute in both landed hard punches.

When Mitrione’s mouthpiece fell out a fourth time, it was a bad omen. While Miragliotta was bending down to retrieve the mouthpiece and almost certainly preparing to take a point, Kharitonov landed a right uppercut, then a perfectly placed right knee that put Mitrione on the canvas. Kharitonov dropped down and landed two massive hammerfists to put Mitrione out.

Up-to-the-minute Bellator 225 results include:

  • Sergei Kharitonov def. Matt Mitrione via TKO (knee, punches) – Round 2, 1:24
  • Vitaly Minakov def. Tim Johnson via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 1:45
  • Alejandra Lara def. Taylor Turner via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 3:44
  • Yaroslav Amosov def. David Rickels – via submission (D’Arce choke) – Round 2, 4:05
  • Tyrell Fortune def. Rudy Schaffroth via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:08
  • Nick Newell def. Corey Browning via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 1, 3:15
  • Connor Dixon def. Kastriot Xhema via submission (armbar) – Round 3, 2:08
  • Jon Manley def. Thiago Rela via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 4:47
  • Chris Disonell def. Mike Kimbel via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:54
  • Ricky Bandejas def. Ahmet Kayretli via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 1:21
  • Austin Vanderford def. Joseph Creer via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) – Round 2, 5:00
  • Sabah Homasi def. Micah Terrill via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:17
  • Aviv Gozali def. Eduard Muravitskiy via submission (heel hook) – Round 1, 0:11
  • Khonry Gracie def. Oscar Vera via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 2:50

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