Patricky “Pitbull” Freire finishes Josh Thomson in the 2nd – Bellator 172

Patricky “Pitbull” Freire finishes Josh Thomson in the 2nd – Bellator 172

The main card lost the main event hours before it started, yet the show must go on

Oh what could have been. Fedor Emelianenko was supposed to make his return to the cage on American soil tonight, however, Matt Mitrione was sidelined with kidney stones, and it wasn’t to be.  That said, Bellator had a solid card built, and they did what they needed to do. Everyone put their best foot forward, and Bellator 172 took place to a large crowd in San Jose, CA.

Main Event Madness

San Jose local, Josh Thomson was fighting in his hometown.  Now thrust into the main event of the evening he would be facing a very dangerous Patricky Freire.  The two made their way to the cage and engaged in a spirited contest that played out standing on their feet.  Josh landed solid leg kicks throughout the first round, but Freire stole the round when he landed a big shot, that hurt Josh.

The second round wouldn’t go very long. The two were exchanging and clashed heads.  Josh was dropped to the mat but got back to his feet quickly.  As the two again closed the distance, Patricky unloaded an uppercut that landed flush on the chin, and Josh was crumbled to the mat.  A couple of shots later, and it was all over.  Patricky stopped Josh 40 seconds into the second frame.

It’s a tough loss for Thomson, who needed a win here to perhaps get a world title shot against Michael Chandler. At age 38 and with a history of nagging injuries, it’ll be a tough road back into contention for Thomson.  That said, he’s tremendously talented, and could make another run if it is truly what he wants. Time will tell.

For Freire, it’s a huge win, perhaps the biggest of his career. It was a rebound fight for him, as he was stopped by champion Michael Chandler is his last outing. I think this victory puts Patricky in position for a title eliminator fight.  He could get the rematch with Chandler he desperately desires.

Cheick Kongo and Oli Thompson meet in a lackluster fight

Cheick Kongo wasn’t happy about this fight. He wasn’t shy about telling people.  He thought he should be in line for a title fight, and he wasn’t keen on fighting his former training partner.  That said, when it came time to punch in, he went to work and did his thing, wrestling a victory by Unanimous Decision.

People talk about Cheick Kongo like he’s some knockout artist.  Once upon a time, he utilized a standup style and had some exciting fights. However, he’s become a fighter who relies on takedowns, position and occasional ground and pound to win decisions.

Oli Thompson was pretty much outclassed from the start, and when he was put on his back, he had no answer.  He lost the fight via Unanimous Decision, with the judges scoring it 30-26, 30-25 and 30-25.  So long story short, Oli wasn’t able to get much going offensively.

It wasn’t the most exciting fight to watch, but it will likely move Cheick into a position to fight for the vacant heavyweight title.

Anatoly Tokov takes his place on the main card

Fedor’s student, Anatoly Tokov was promoted to the main card when Fedor’s fight was scratched. The Middleweight is a very promising talent, and he impressed tonight defeating Francisco France by TKO midway through the second round.

Tokov (25-3) has a wealth of fights considering he’s only 27 years old.  He trains full time with Fedor in Russia and is a key addition to the Bellator roster.  He has good standup, really sharp striking and is capable on the mat. There are plenty of good fights for him in Bellator and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.

For his part, Francisco France did his best to fend off Tokov and finds himself losing his second in a row under the Bellator flag.  He was defeated by Kendall Grove in his last outing.

Veta Artega and Brooke Mayo have a fun fight at 125 pounds

Veta Artega and Brooke Mayo fought back and forth for the better part of three rounds.  Artega had an advantage standing, while Mayo had an edge when the fight hit the mat.  It was a close contest, and the fight stopped when Mayo had a grossly swollen left eye.  She took a couple of right hands to it and ate a big shot on the ground right to the eye.

She stood back up, and the referee immediately stopped the action to allow the doctor to have a look.  The eye was swollen and purple.  The doctor took one look and stopped the fight. Brooke Mayo was devastated and said no less than 100 times, “I can see….I can see you…..I can see.”  It was a bit of an odd stoppage, there was no blood and the third and final round was nearly over.

It’s a tough loss for Mayo, but she’ll undoubtedly be back. For Artega, it was a much-needed victory.

Josh Koscheck’s return to MMA, is a sour one

Northern California native Josh Koscheck had not been in a cage for nearly two years. He stepped back into the cage in front of his home fans, and things didn’t go as planned.  Submission artist Mauricio Alonso wasn’t supposed to pose much of a threat to Koscheck standing.  His expertise is submissions.

That said, things in MMA sometimes don’t go the way they’re expected to.  Josh looked a little tight to start the fight, and it didn’t take long for him to start eating some shots.  He took a shot on the eye that seemed to hurt him.  He was covering his eye with one hand when he was hit and dropped to the mat. Alonso followed it up with some ground and pound and that was it. Less than one round into his comeback, Koscheck had been stopped.

After the fight, Alonso was super excited and gave a rousing post-fight speech.  It was a nice moment for a fighter who has paid his dues and earned a win on a big, big stage.

Complete Quick Results:

Patricky Freire def. Josh Thomson via TKO
Cheick Kongo def. Oli Thompson by Unanimous Decision
Anatoly Tokov def. Francisco France via TKO
Veta Artega def. Brooke Mayo by Dr. Stoppage
Mauricio Alonso def. Josh Koscheck by TKO
Nikko Jackson def. Cesar Gonzalez via Unanimous Decision
J.J. Okanovich def. Zach Andrews via submission (rear-naked choke)
James Terry def. J.C. Llamas via Unanimous Technical Decision
Gaston Bolanos def. Abner Perez via TKO (punches)
Diego Herzog vs. Martin Sano declared a Majority Draw
Justin Tenedora def. Roque Reyes via Submission