Friday night’s Bellator 231 event was their first of two consecutive nights at the Mohegan Sun Arena and saw Frank Mir secure his first victory with the promotion.
Walking into his rematch with Roy Nelson, Mir had been the losing end of his previous four fights while Nelson had the albatross of three losses that preceded the fight. The two fought previously in May 2011 at UFC 130 with Mir winning by unanimous decision that night.
Mir was open about the fact the fight may not be the most exciting as he had a strict strategy of breaking down Nelson’s lead leg and forcing ‘Big Country’ to limit his powerful right hand. The strategy worked throughout the first two rounds as Mir destroyed Nelson’s lead leg and knocked him off balance at times. Mir utilized his punches when necessary, but the kicks provided significant damage. Nelson had a burst in the third round as he moved Mir back against the cage and was throwing big strikes that varied in their success. It was a late takedown on the fight and elbows on top that gave Nelson final round on two judges’ cards but not the fight.
Mir was the unanimous victory on scores of 30-27, 29-28, and 29-28. This was Mir’s first victory since his stoppage of Todd Duffee in July 2015. Nelson’s losing streak increases to four.
In a light heavyweight fight, former champion Phil Davis stopped Karl Abrektsson as the Swedish fighter was overwhelmed in the last round.
Davis, who was called out on the broadcast for his lack of dependence on his superior wrestling in many of his fights, won the first two rounds with his striking. Aside from a takedown late in the first round, Davis worked his game plan around jabs, kicks, and a dropped Abrektsson with a right hand in the second round. Davis combined his output in the third round, taking Abrektsson down and then annihilating him with strikes against the fence. Albrektsson was warned to fight back and the closing moments featured Davis’ elbows ending the fight.
Davis is now 8-2 with Bellator and won four of his last five fights.
In welterweight action, Ed Ruth narrowly earned a decision over Jason Jackson in a fight that could have gone either way.
Jackson stunned Ruth in the first round with a series of big right hands. Ruth got a brief takedown but Jackson stood up and proceeded to connect with a counter uppercut and took the first round.
Ruth rebounded in the second round and found success with his jabs while walking Jackson down.
The third round was the round to determine the victor. Jackson had the most significant strike of the round when he dropped Ruth with a right hand but Ruth recovered quickly. Ruth got the takedown and continued to take Jackson down several times and control the pressure for most of the round.
I scored the fight for Jackson 29-28 due to the knockdown in the third round, but two judges went the opposite way.
Ruth won by split decision with two 29-28 scores in his favor and one for Jackson. This was a very competitive fight as Ruth improves to 8-1.
Bec Rawlings had her Bellator debut spoiled by Ilara Joanne in their flyweight contest.
Joanne controlled the first round with a takedown and working on top until they were stood up by referee Dan Miragliotta. Then, Joanne attacked her with strikes to seal the round.
Joanne swept Rawlings with a leg kick and later got to her back. Rawlings escaped but Joanne was quick to roll for a kneebar and secured the submission for the victory at 3:35 of the second round.
Joanne was joined by her coach Eric Albarracin and presented a “Hit List” where they crossed off Rawlings’ name and the next ones are Valerie Letourneau followed by Ilima-Lei Macfarlane.
The main card opened with Jake Hager and Anthony Garrett going to a no-contest after 1:56. Hager landed a pair of knees from the Thai clinch that hit Garrett low. After the first one, time was called, Garrett resumed and was immediately hit with another and could not continue. It was a disappointing end, although Hager was in firm control for the limited time the fight lasted.
*Jake Hager and Anthony Garrett fought to a no-contest (accidental groin strike) at 1:56 of Round 1
*Ilara Joanne def. Bec Rawlings by kneebar at 3:35 of Round 2
*Ed Ruth def. Jason Jackson by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
*Phil Davis def. Karl Abrektsson by TKO at 3:06 of Round 3
*Frank Mir def. Roy Nelson by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)