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Bellator MMA 144 Live coverage and results: Middleweight Title Brandon Halsey vs Rafael Carvalho

Bellator MMA returns to Spike TV tonight at 9 pm eastern/6 pacific with Bellator 144: Halsey vs Carvalho. In addition to the main event fight for the Middleweight Championship which Halsey was stripped off earlier this year for missing weight, the show will also feature the return of MVP, Michael Venom Page. He puts his unbeaten record on the line as he works his way toward a title shot. A brash exciting fighter who could be on a collision course with Page, Brennan Ward, takes on Dennis Olson and in the other main card fight, it's Japan vs Brazil as the debuting Isao Kobayashi goes up against Goiti Yamauchi in a Featherweight bout.

We'll have live coverage of the main card here starting right after the opening bell. The prelims are available for free at SpikeTV.com and we'll also have results of those fights after they happen.

Welterweights Michael Page (8-0) vs Charlie Ontiveros (6-3)

Dan Miragliotta draws the reffing assignment for the opener. Page has 3 first round KO's in 4 Bellator fights. Ontiveros had lost all 3 of his Bellator fights. This should be quick. The fighters are wearing pink wraps above their gloves. MVP dancing around to start as he always does and the fans are booing less than a minute in. Page with a takedown off of a clinch at 2:15. Page quickly into full mount and then takes his back. Ontiveros works him back to front and Page dropping elbows from side control and Ontiveros is out.

WINNER - MICHAEL PAGE (9-0) by TKO (elbows) at 3:20

The announcers speculate that it may have been a verbal submission as one of the elbows broke Ontiveros' jaw. Official decision was a TKO. Sakuraba got some screen time in the pre-match video package for the next fight as Kobayashi grew up idolizing him. Jimmy Smith promises something exciting is happening in the first minute of the fight. I hope so, I have the under.

Featerweights Isao Kobayashi (18-2-4) vs Goiti Yamauchi (18-2)

Kobayashi is identified as a former King of Pancrase. I guess you can see his fights on UFC Fight Pass but the announcers don't bring that up for some reason. They go the ground right away. Yamauchi may have pulled  guard. He goes for a heel hook from the bottom but Kobayashi gets to his feet. Yamauchi definitely pulled guard at 1:15. Yamauchi going for all kinds of whacky submissions and ends up taking his back against the cage. He gets a body triangle and then starts working for a rear naked choke. He locks it in at 3:45 with a Gable grip. Kobayashi fights out of it. Yamauchi landing heel strikes to the body and Kobayashi gets out of it with 15 seconds left and to his feet. Yamauchi stays on his back as the round ends. 10-9 Yamauchi

Bellator champions Liam McGeary and Marcos Galvao are in attendance. Kobayashi with a trip takedown 1:15 in. Ground strikes in the first were 16-8 for Yamauchi. Yamauchi locks in a body triangle from the bottom but Kobayashi landing head strikes from the top. Yamauchi working for an armbar and gets the Kimura at 2:30. Kobayashi rolls out of it but gives up top position. Yamauchi opens up a cut on Kobayashi's forehead with elbows from the top. Yamauchi into side control at 4:30 and then quickly into mount. Yamauchi takes his back and gets a neck crank with 10 seconds left but the bell saves Kobayashi. 10-9 Yamauchi

Jimmy Smith thinks Round 1 was a 10-8. I'd be very surprised as Kobayashi came back at the end and was never in that much danger of being finished. Yamauchi drops Kobayashi with a left hook 1:00 in and goes to the ground. He goes right to the Kimura again and transitions to the back. Yamauchi with the body triangle and working for a rear naked choke at 2:00. Kobayashi works out of it but still in all kinds of trouble. Yamauchi with the rear naked choke again at 3:45 and gets the tap.

WINNER - GOITI YAMAUCHI (19-2) by submission (rear naked choke) at 3:50 of the third round

Kimbo Slice in da hizzouse. Yamauchi calls out Patricio Pitbull after the fight. They did a segment called "Quick Hits" with Michael Chandler. It was fun. A female interviewer asked him quick easy questions while he sparred. Apparently Chandler is a big fan of Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball. They showed clips from the weigh-ins and Ward and Olson got into it. A fan yelled out "you're a good actor, Ward" and it made air.

Welterweights Brennan Ward (11-3) vs Dennis Olson (14-9)

They showed the walkouts since they're running well ahead of schedule. Olson was heavily booed coming out and gave the fans the double-finger salute. They're barely even hiding the fact that this is basically a squash match. All but one of Ward's wins have come by finish. Big John gets the dukes for this one. Olson goes for a takedown right off the bat and Ward grabs a guillotine. Olson ends up having to pull guard to get out of it and Ward's on top on the ground. Ward postures up to improve position and then goes into side control rather easily at 1:30. Ward to his feet at 1:45 and Olson is forced to follow. Ward drops Olson with a punch at 2:15 and goes  to the ground with him. Ward into mount at 2:45 and dropping punches and elbows to the head. Olson works him back to guard. Ward with elbows to  the head and body, just swarming Olson. Ward stands up again at 4:30 and Olson has to follow. Ward drops im again and follows up with ground and pound and McCarthy stops it.

WINNER - BRENNAN WARD (12-3) by TKO (punches)

After the fight, Ward put over Olson as a tough opponent and also put over the crowd. Ward falls short of calling out the champion Andrey Koreshkov, even though Jimmy was egging him on to. He just said that if he did get the chance, it would be a great fight.

A prelim bout between Matt Bessette and Kevin Roddy aired next. If you peeked below, you know that Bessette won by submission. What you didn't know is that he won with an inverted heel hook and Sakuraba got another mention. Bessette has been kicking around the indies for a while now and looked really good here.

Main Event for the Bellator Middleweight Championship Brandon Halsey (9-0) vs Rafael Carvalho (11-1)

Brandon Halsey out to Lunatic Fringe by Red Rider, one of my personal favorite songs of all  time. Dan Miragliotta gets the reffing duties for the main event. Carvalho's "notable wins" are 1-4 Joe Schilling and everyone's favorite punching bag Brett Rogers. This may not be much of a contest. Halsey gets a taekdown 10 seconds in. Halsey into mount and an arm triangle choke at 1:15. Carvalho escapes and goes for an inverted triangle but Halsey escapes. Carvalho to his feet and tries to take Halsey down but Halsey ends up on top. Crowd booing 2:30 in. Carvalho to his feet but gets brought right back down at 3:15 and Halsey right into mount. Halsey landing light punches to the head but basically just holding Carvalho down. 10-8 Halsey

Jimmy Smith just mentioned that they'd talked about relaxed 10-8 rules but he "doesn't know if they're in effect tonight". What? Either way, That was a pretty dominant round for Halsey. Cage clinch early in the round and Halsey holds him for over a minute, trying to force a takedown. Halsey backs off at 1:30. Carvalho drops him with a liver kick and follows up with ground and pound but the ref stops  it quickly.

WINNER - RAFAEL CARVALHO (12-1) by KO (liver kick) at 1:42 of the 2nd round

Ward was still down 3 minutes later but got up for the winner's announcement and seemed okay. 

Prelims results:

Sam Watford dec TJ Hepburn

Marius Enache sub Pete Rogers

Matt Secor sub Jeremie Holloway

Kevin Haley dec Mike Zichelle

Matt Bessette sub Kevin Roddy

Billy Giovanella sub Brandon Polcare