Preview by Josh Nason
With the wrestling world relatively quiet this weekend, MMA has taken center stage with UFC and Bellator going head-to-head Saturday night on separate coasts. While the UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight titles will be battled over in Boston, Bellator kicks off its year-long heavyweight championship grand prix and a former UFC fighter guns for his first major title.
In the main event, Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson will fight in a first round matchup of the heavyweight grand prix. This will be Sonnen's first foray into heavyweight while Jackson has fought here before, notably in a dud of a fight against King Mo Lawal.
Sonnen is coming off a June decision win over Wanderlei Silva while Jackson is coming off that March decision loss to Mo, snapping a five fight losing streak.
In the co-main event, Rory MacDonald will look to win his first major championship when he faces welterweight champion Douglas Lima in what should be a great fight. Also on the show, former lightweight champion Michael Chandler looks to get back on track while prospect Aaron Pico looks to win his second straight.
Follow our main card coverage starting at 9 p.m. ET tonight.
Bellator 192 (main card)
- Heavyweight Grand Prix Round 1: Chael Sonnen vs. Rampage Jackson
- Welterweight champion Douglas Lima vs. Rory MacDonald
- Michael Chandler vs. Goiti Yamauchi
- Aaron Pico vs. Shane Kruchten
- Henry Corrales vs. Georgi Karakhanyan
In the prelims, prospect Joey Davis won his fight but the debuting Khonry Gracie dropped a decision to Devon Brock, who was also making his pro debut. Other names of note picking up wins were Johnny Cisneros and Guilherme Vasconcelos.
John McCarthy makes his debut as color commentator, alongside Mike Goldberg for tonight's show.
Featherweights Georgi Karakhanyan (27-7-1) vs Henry Corrales (14-3)
Goldberg and McCarthy seem like they have chemistry together. The video on the Shaw Cable feed is completely messed up so I cannot tell who is winning the fight but it sounds like Karakhanyan from the commentary. It seems to be a network-wide issue affecting only the Paramount Network in Canada on my cable system.
Second round sounded like it was back and forth but that Karakhanyan had the advantage. Corrales finished strong and may have stolen the round. The commercials are working fine, it's only the video during the live fights that is messed up.
John McCarthy seems to think that Corrales is down 2 rounds and needs a finish.
Corrales seemed to be holding off Karakhanyan well but it sounds like Karakhanyan won the third as well. In listening to Goldberg call a fight, it's alarming how little of the action he actually calls as it's really hard to tell what's going on. Based on what I heard, I'd be shocked if Corrales won the fight.
Official result - Henry Corrales (15-3) by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x 2)
Corrales said he is not impressed with his own performance. He put over his camp, saying he's 3-0 since he switched to them.
Jay Glazer is the studio host of the show and gives it a very different vibe, adding credibility to the show, I think. Jay Glazer interviewed Ryan Bader about the Heavyweight Grand Prix. He basically just put over all the other competitors in the tournament but didn't really have a lot to say. Josh Thomson is also on the panel.
Jenn Brown then interviewed his opponent King Mo and he said that they will both be fighting at their walk-around weights and the better man should win, which would be him. King Mo said that Chael will win the main event because Rampage is out of shape. I've found an online live feed of the show so I should be able to watch from here on in.
Featherweights Aaron Pico (1-1) vs Shane Krutchen (12-3)
Pico dropped Krutchen with a body punch combo to open the fight. Pico backed off, forcing Krutchen to stand. He dropped him again with a hard punch to the liver and he was out. Ref stepped in before Pico could do more damage.
Official result - Aaron Pico (2-1) by KO (punch) at 37 seconds
He put over his team after the fight in his post-fight interview. John McCarthy asked him to call someone out but he refused to, saying he'll fight whoever they put in front of him. Both guys have sworn in their promos tonight. Not sure if that's by design but it is interesting given it's the debut of the network.
Lightweights Michael Chandler (16-4) vs Goiti Yamauchi (22-3)
After a brief cage clinch, Yamauchi dropped to the ground, almost like he was pulling guard. Chandler obliged him and went into his guard. He proceed to hold position for almost the entire round, doing enough to avoid a standup and easily win the round. Yamauchi was continously grabbing the cage but only was warned once. 10-9 Chandler
Yamauchi hurt Chandler bad with a body kick early. Chandler was wobbly for awhile after that but he managed a takedown halfway through the round. He was just laying there for awhile and almost got stood up but in the last minute, he did a lot of damage and probably stole the round. 10-9 Chandler, 20-18 overall
Lost hte video feed again for most of the 3rd round but from what I saw, Chandler dominated and should take the round and the fight easily. Should be noted that John McCarthy is already one of the best color guys in MMA.
Official result - Michael Chandler (17-4) by unanimous decision (30-26 x 2; 30-25)
John McCarthy told Chandler that Scott Coker says he earned a shot at Brent Primus and Chandler says "who". McCarthy asks if that's what he wants and he said no but he's a company man and he'll do whatever the company wants.
Roy Nelson was interviewed by Josh Thomson and Jay Glazer at the desk. Thomson says he picked the winner of Nelson/Mitrione to win the whole tourney. Nelson says that if he fights his fight, he'll win but if he doesn't then he won't.
Jenn Brown interviewed Mitrione backstage about the fight with Nelson. He feels he earned a title shot and didn't like the fact he had to go through a tournament to get the belt. But now he likes the idea because he was going to have to beat everyone anyway and this is the most exciting thing going on in the sport. This is rematch from 5 years that Nelson won but Mitrione says he's developed as a fighter and he doesn't feel Nelson has.
Bellator Welterweight title - Champion Douglas Lima (29-6) vs Rory McDonald (19-4)
McDonald was clinching on the cage early, trying to get it to the ground. Neither guy did much on the feet. McDonald got a takedown with just over 2 minutes left. Lima was actually more active from his back but McDonald held him down for the majority of the round. Ref Jason Herzog actually stood them up with 12 seconds left but nothing happened on the feet. 10-9 McDonald but close
McDonald was constantly going for takedowns and controlling the cage clinch but Lima was the more active fighter, landing punches to the head and body from the clinch. When they were standing, it was pretty even although Lima was doing more damage as McDonald was bleeding from the nose. Another close round, 10-9 Lima, 19-19 overall
Round started off really slow with a lot of clinch work where nothing was happening and the crowd was booing. After they separated, McDonald got a takedown but didn't do anything with it. Ref stood them up. After the standup, Lima started landing hard leg kicks and he dropped McDonald with one with about 45 seconds left. Lima went into his guard and did a lot of damage with ground and pound. 10-9 Lima, 29-28 overall
McDonald went for a takedown right off the bat but Lima stuffed it and ends up on top. McDonald's left leg is swelled so badly from the kicks, it looks like it has a second knee. Lima quickly moved into mount and held it for awhile but didn't do a ton of damage. McDonald was eventually able to move him back to guard and as soon as he did, the ref stood them up. Lima landed a hard leg kick that almost dropped McDonald again but he got a takedown. He did his best damage of the fight but probably not enough to take the round. 10-9 Lima, 39-37 overall. Should note that most on my Twitter feed have it tied up as does John McCarthy.
McDonald got an immediate takedown. He was far more active than he'd been at any time during the fight, trying to avoid a standup. In particular, he landed some hard elbows that opened a cut on Lima's forehead. There was a couple points when it looked like he might get stood up but McDonald did enough to stay on top. He slowed down at the end but enough to take the round. I have it 10-9 McDonald and 48-47 Lima overall but I suspect McDonald will take it.
Official result - Rory McDonald (20-4) by unanimous decision (48-47, 49-45 and 49-46)
McDonald says Lima is the best guy he's ever fought and after winning that fight, he really feels like the best welterweight in the world. He says he can't walk on his leg and it feels like there's a person growing inside of it. Not sure how two judges thought that Lima didn't win both rounds 3 and 4 but it wasn't a bad decision.
McDonald had to be carried to the back by his cornermen. Lima looked upset at the decision.
Main event - Round 1 matchup in the Heavyweight Grand Prix: Rampage Jackson (37-12) vs Chael Sonnen (29-15-1)
Sonnen is giving up 31 pounds in this matchup. Trace Adkins sang the national anthem. Blake Grice is your referee.
First round was pretty good. Sonnen was far more active but Jackson landed the harder punches and did the most damage. Jackson threw Sonnen down halfway through the round, almost like a bodyslam, but backed off, forcing hi to stand. Sonnen got a late takedown and was working for a rear naked choke but Jackson moved into top position by the end of the round. 10-9 Jackson....but Tom Lawlor for one has it the other way.
Sonnen clinched up early, trying to get a takedown. He got it about 90 seconds in and manage to hold Rampage down for the rest of the round. He didn't do a ton of damage but enough to avoid a standup. Jackson was starting to do damage from his back late in the round but not nearly enough to take it. 10-9 Sonnen and 19-19 after 2. Rampage could need a finish though as round 1 was close.
Jackson went right to the cage clinch and manage to hold Sonnen there for over half the round. He had some really good damage with a nice series of body punches. After they finally separated, it was pretty even on the feet and Jackson was taunting Sonnen, trying to get him to throw down. Sonnen got a takedown with a minute left but Jackson was more active from his back. Ref stood them up with 10 seconds left and Jackson closed with a nice punch combo. 10-9 Jackson and 29-28 overall but I suspect Sonnen might win it.
Official decision - Chael Sonnen (30-15-1) by uananimous decision (29-28 x 3)
Crowd booed the decision but it was probably more due to the fact they like Jackson than they disagreed with the decision. He said that neither Frank Mir nor Fedor are the best but one of them will be the next. He had a couple cute rehearsed lines but crowd didn't seem to care. No interview with Rampage.