Preview by Josh Nason
Bellator returns to its unofficial home of San Jose, CA, with two title fights and several former UFC fighters on an interesting main card that can be seen on DAZN.
The main event is welterweight champion Rory MacDonald vs. Jon Fitch, the final first round bout in the company's Welterweight Grand Prix. The winner will face Neiman Gracie next in the semifinals while Michael "Venom" Page will face Douglas Lima next month in the other semifinal.
The 29-year-old MacDonald is coming off a lopsided 2nd round TKO loss to middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi in September. This will be the first defense of the belt he won over Lima in a January 2018 decision. The 41-year-old Fitch has won five straight over a near four year stretch and had a successful debut against Paul Daley in his promotional debut last May.
The co-main event features women's featherweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane against Veta Arteaga in the co-main event, a clash of former Bellator light heavyweight champions in Phil Davis and Liam McGeary, former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson vs. Adam Piccolotti, and relative unknowns Gastos Bolanos vs. Nathan Stolen in the main card opener.
You can listen to Dave Meltzer and Garret Gonzales' talks with Fitch and Macfarlane from media week with no subscription needed.
Live cageside coverage by Dave Meltzer kicks off at 10 PM Pacific/7 PM Eastern.
GASTON BOLANOS (4-1) VS. NATHAN STOLEN (8-4), FEATHERWEIGHTS
First round: Bolanos is the local favorite fighting out of Dublin. Frank Trigg is your referee. Both exchanging punches. Bolanos landing more solid shots. Stolen tried for a takedown but it was stuffed. Stolen took him down, but Bolanos swept to the top. He let Stolen up. Bolanos immediately dropped him with a left hook and landed a few punches on the ground and it's over. Both actually landed lefts at the same time but Bolanos had more power. The stoppage looked quick as it was two glancing shots on the ground when it was called off.. 2:21
PHIL DAVIS (19-5, 1 NO CONTEST) VS. LIAM MCGEARY (13-3), LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS
First round: Davis with low kicks.. McGearly swinging. Both wary early. Nice left by McGeary. Davis is not looking to take himn down. McGeary is very good with unique subissions, but so is Davis. Davis with a lot of low kicks. McGeary witha Superman punch. Davis with another low kick. Fans started to boo late in the round. Head kick by Davis. Davis 10-9
Second round: McGeary out with low kicks. Nice overhand right by Davis. Davis with more low kicks. Another low kick by Davis. Davis with knees to the body. Davis landed a right. Another low kick by Davis. McGeary missing his punches. Davis with another low kick. McGearly hurt him with a right. Davis with more low kicks. Davis' round 20-18r.
Third round: McGeary moving forward but not catching him. Davis took him down. Davis got his back. Davis landing a lot of punches from that position. McGeary tried a triangle but Davis got out of it. Davis with elbows and punches. Davis kicked him in the head as McGeary got up. McGeary with a head kick. Davis is really tried. Davis landed a left and got a takedown. Davis is dropping elbows and has his back. Davis is working for a choke and McGeary tapped out, evidently from strikes. 4:11
Davis wanted a title shot.
BENSON HENDERSON (26-8) VS. ADAM PICCOLOTTI (11-2), LIGHTWEIGHTS
First round: Piccolotti is the lccal favorite. Piccolotti with a low kick. Piccolotti working for a takedown and got his back. Piccolotti is working for a choke now. Piccolotti landing punches from that position. Hendeosn up. Piccolotti pulled him back down with a neck crank. Henderon broke the grip. Piccolotti again working for a choke. Henderons back up and free. The crowd is going insane. Henderson with an elbow and landed a big punch. Low kick by Hendeosn. Another low kick by Henderosn. Henderson hurt him with a head kick at the bell. Piccolotti 10-9 Super round.
Second round: Henderson with a jumping knee. Piccolotti took him down. Henderson back up. Henderson got a takedown. Henderons has his back now. Piccolotti escaped but Henderson took him down again. Henderson working for a guillotine. Henderson throwing knees. Piccolotti got out of it. Henderson ducking low and scored another takedown. Henderson is on top. Piccolotti working for a leglock and Henderson punched him. Now Piccolotti working for a shoudlerlock but Henderosn escaped. This fight is great. Henderson's round so 19-19.
Third round: Henderson threw a kick and Piccolotti took him down. Henderson working for a triangle. Henderson working for a guillotine Piccolooti is trying to punch his way out and did and is now on top. Piccolotti in side control. Piccolotti with a knee to the body. Piccolotti tried a Kimura and Henderson flipped him over to escape. Piccolotti took him down again. Piccolotti has his back. Picolott working for a choke again. One minjute left. Henderson out and reversed to the top. Henderson was dropping elbows. I have Piccolotti 29-28. Geat fight.
Scores: 29-28 Henderson 29-28 Piccolotti 29-28 Henderson. Even though Piccolotti is local, the crowd was definitely pro-Henderson as the bigger star and heavily cheered the decision. But then people heavily booed Henderson doing his interivew. Henderson said he loved San Jose. He mentioned his wife was due next week for her thrid baby.
ILIMA-LEI MACFARLANE (9-0) VS. VETA ARTEAGA (5-2) FOR BELLATOR WOMEN'S FLYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
First round: Macfarlane pushed her into the cage. Arteaga landing short punches to the head while Macfarlane is working for a takedown. She's working very hard but did get the takedown but Arteaga is already back up. Macfarlane took her down again and got her back. Arteaga out of trouble. Arteaga landing good body punches from the top. Macfarlane working for a kneebar. Arteaga throwing knees. Macfarlane looks really tired. Arteaga has her against the cage and throwing some knees. Arteaga with some punches. Arteaga 10-9
Second round: Macfarlane got the takedown. Arteaga back up with minimal damage. Macfarlane is bleeding from the nose and tired. Arteaga landing punches. Both throwing and Arteaga is landing better shots. Macfarlane with a right. Arteaga wobbled Macfarlane late. 20-18 Arteaga
Third round: Macfarlane working for a takedown again. She got her down. Arteaga going for a triangle. Macfarlen landed an elbow and Arteaga's head exploded. It's sick blood. The cut is long and deep like a giant divot on Arteaga's forehead. They are going to have to stop this. The doctor stopped it. They had no choice. It's too bad for Arteaga as she was doing really well here but that cut was too deep to continue. 1:50
Macfarlane said she wants to give Arteaga a tilte match right away. She said she had her hands full, we were both bleeding and said I know who is next and that's Veta. Macfarlane said she felt weird backstage, her legs weren't right and had an adrenaline dump and was relly tired. She said that nobody wants to win a fight like that.
RORY MACDONALD (20-5) VS. JON FITCH (32-7-1, 1 NO CONTEST) FOR THE WELTERWEIGHT TITLE
First round: Macdonald hurt him with a punch and Fitch went for a takedown. MacDonald landing elbows. Fitch tripped him down but MacDonald has him tied up. MacDonald working for a Kimura. Fitch shot in and MacDonald sprawled. MacDonadl landed a good punch and Fitch back with one. MacDonald ladned a right. Fitch took him down and is on top. Fitch with body punches. Fitch 10-9
Second round: MacDonald with a front kick. Fitch tied him up against the cage. MacDonald with a head kick but Fitch caught his leg. Good right by MacDonald. Right by MacDonald. MacDonald landing more. Fitch with a body kick. Big right by MacDonald. Fitch with a right. Nice body shot by Fitch. Fitch moved in and took him down. MacDonald back up. MacDonald back up. MacDonald took Fitch down. MacDonald's round, so 19-19.
Third round: Both traded punches. MacDonald ladned a kick. Fitch got another takedown. Fitch landing body punches. Fitch landng ;punches from the top. Ftch withj punches and elbows from the top. Fitch with all kinds of punches from the top. Fitch with punches and elbows. MacDonald working for an armbar. Fitch out of trouble. Fitch held him down the entire round. This was a one-sided rond, Almost a 10-8 but not quite enough damage,. 29-28 Fitch.
Fourth round: MacDonald with a head kick, Fitch tried a takedown and MacDonald on top and landing punches. Fitch is in trouble. Fitch escaped. MacDonald landing good punches. Fitch still trying for a takedown but MacDonald landing punches. elbow by MacDonald. Fitch got it to the ground. MacDonald back up. Another takedown by Fitch. Fitch landing body punhces. Fitch continaully landing punches from the top. Fitch with knees to the butt. Ftich continually landing punches. The ref ordered standup which made no sense since Fitch was pounding on him. Fitch's round 39-37.
Fifth round: Ftich in with punches and going for a takedown. MacDonald bleeding from the right eye. MacDonald going for a triangle. MacDonald had his toes in the fence for 30 seconds and the ref never called it. Not that it made a difference. Fitch landing body punches. Fitch with more body punches and now head punches. Fitch with elbows to the body. Fitch with more punches to the head on the ground. Fitch outwrstled him. Fitch 49-46.
Scores: 48-46 Fitch 47-47 draw 47-47 draw
So with the majority draw, MacDonald retained the title and advances in the tournament and will defend his title against Neimamn Grace in Madison Square Garden on June 14th, which is a quick turnaround.
Fans hated the decision. So the basic gist is the two judges ruling it a draw gave both close rounds, one and four, to MacDonald. Neither is a bad call. All three judges went 10-8 for Fitch in round three. MacDonald hardly came off or fought like a champion and overall this was Fitch's fight overall, but round-by-round you could give MacDonald one, two and four, but two of those were close and Fitch's three and five were one-sided.