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Bellator 159 results and recap: Night of upsets ends with Taimanglo main event win

Bellator 159 aired Friday night on Spike TV, live from Mulvane, KS. A highly touted prospect in unbeaten Darrion Caldwell was set to take on plucky vet Joe Taimanglo. Local favorite David Rickels was expected to score an impressive win over aging vet Melvin Guillard who hadn't won in over 2 years and an unbeaten Brazilian women's flyweight was making her Bellator debut.  While not loaded with big names, the show seemed like a lot of fun going in with potential big matches for the future if everything fell into place.

The show kicked off with Daniel Weichel (37-9) in a very tight bout with Emmanuel Sanchez (13-3). Weichel scored a split decision in a very close and entertaining fight with widely varying scores of 30-27, 27-30 and 29-28. I scored it 29-28 Sanchez but all 3 rounds were close enough that it could've gone either way.

The first upset of the night happened in the second fight where Bruna Vargas (2-1) dominated the first round of her Bellator debut against Emily Ducote (3-1) but got caught with a punch that stunned her early in the second. Ducote swarmed her with punches on the ground, took her back and got a quick submission with a rear naked choke in 29 seconds of the 2nd. Ducote is American and had her grandmother in the cage with her after the fight and had a really nice promo so they should bring her back for more fights.

In the co-main event, local favorite David Rickels (17-5) got the reaction of the night with his usual entertaining walkout and dominated the opening 90 seconds of his fight with Melvin Guillard (33-16-2). After action was stopped for a low blow by Rickels, Rickels was stunned by a punch from Guillard and Guillard knocked him down with more punches. He went to the ground and finished him with vicious ground and pound, opening a huge cut on his forehead with an elbow right before the fight was stopped. After the fight Guillard, who had missed weight, said that he was done fighting at 155 and challenged Paul Daley to a welterweight fight at some point in the future. 

With a couple of early finishes, they showed a light heavyweight bout between Philipe Lins (10-1) and Guilherme Viana (7-3) from the prelims next. The first round was one of the worst rounds you'll ever see and the announcers were actually burying the fight, not so subtly, while talking about Sherdog.com and the old TV show Taxi instead of the "action" in the cage. This was reminiscent of the Gonzaga/Erokhin fight from last year's TUF 22 finale show. In the 2nd round, Lins rocked Viana with a punch combo early and then dropped him with one punch and the ref stopped it. Good win for Lins and they were pushing him as a future title contender.

The main event saw Darion Caldwell (8-1) dominate the first two rounds of his fight with Joe Taimanglo (23-6-1) with his wrestling. Taimanglo only landed 7 strikes through the first two rounds and Caldwell looked to be cruising to his 9th straight pro win. He shot for a takedown to open the third and Taimanglo caught him with a guillotine and got a tap 9 seconds into the round. They had been touting Caldwell as a contender for champion Eduardo Dantas, especially after Caldwell scored a first round submission over former champion Joe Warren in his last fight. Taimanglo, who had missed weight by 3 lbs for this fight, challenged the champion after the fight but the announcers were quick to point out that he shouldn't get a title shot after missing weight in this fight. 

The show was somewhat entertaining with all the finishes but the wrong fighters won in 3 of the 4 fights and the tone of the announcing brought down the enthusiasm quite a bit, especially in the case of the main event. 

There was some news coming out of this show. Announced for next month's Bellator 160 show is a featherweight bout between Bubba Jenkins (11-2) and former WSOF champion Georgi Karakhanyan (24-6-1). The winner of that fight could be in line for a title shot unless Weichel, who won tonight, gets it first. Also announced was the company's debut in Cedar Park, TX, just outside of Austin, with a main event of Cheick Kongo (24-10-2) taking on fellow heavyweight Tony Johnson (10-2) in the main event on September 17th. It's possible they could match up the winner of that fight against Bobby Lashley for the vacant heavyweight title. 

Bellator returns on August 25th with Bellator 160 in Anaheim with a main event of Benson Henderson vs Patricio Freire in a #1 contender's bout at lightweight as the main event.