Liam McGeary became the first British born fighter to win a major world championship after he defeated Emanuel Newton by unanimous decision at Bellator 134, from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
In a hard fought five round fight at Bellator 134, McGeary threw the kitchen sink at Newton from the get go. The Bronx based Brit tried for a triangle choke, inverted triangle, armbar and key lock in the first, but Newton survived them all. The second round was largely a grapple-fest, with Newton initialising the takedown. But at the death of round two, McGeary caught “The Hardcore Kid” in the triangle, and used it to rain down elbows, unanswered by the champion.
We saw a cautious McGeary striking with Newton in the third, and the Brit landed a nice left hook before Newton slipped and the fight returned to the ground with the New Jersey residing fighter mounting a triangle and lathering shots before the end of the third. The challenger evaded the lucrative spinning back fist well in the fourth but Newton scored a huge slam takedown later in the round. Newton looked to lay and pray in the final round, however it wouldn’t be enough, as the Gracie Barra Jersey fighter’s activity off the bottom saw the judges award him the win, becoming the UK’s first world champion.
It was three rounds of pure wrestling domination in the co-main event, as Muhammed Lawal scored a crowd killing unanimous decision over Cheick Kongo. Every round followed a similar blue print, as Lawal used his superior speed to evade Kongo’s shots and shoot for the takedown. Once on the ground, “King Mo” smothered his opponent with very little reply. Besides a few good leg strikes from Kongo it was a grinding victory for Lawal.
Paul Daley returned at Bellator 134 with a unanimous decision win over Andre Santos, however it was a much tougher performance than the Nottingham based fighter expected. It was a slow start by Daley, but as the round progressed he upped his game, stalking Santos, and landing a couple of big shots towards the end, including a right hand which dropped the Brazilian.
Daley continued to head hunt in the second, again sending Santos to the canvas but “Chatuba” remained resilient. The Spirit Dojo man ambushed in the third, dropping Santos with two almighty left hooks, but again the Brazilian survived. It looked over after “Semtex” landed a huge left knee, although yet again Santos remained, receiving a grand ovation from the Bellator 134 crowd despite the result.
It definitely wasn’t kung fu fighting for Sokoudjou, as Linton Vassell out-wrestled the PRIDE legend on his way to a second round TKO victory at Bellator 134. Vassell immediately swarmed Sokoudjou with takedown attempts and almost locked in the rear naked choke early on. “The African Assassin” managed to break away but was again tied up on the ground by Vassell before the end of the first. It was much of the same in the second for the Milton Keynes fighter, this time to success, as he flattened out Sokoudjou, and landed a severe amount of unanswered strikes to end the fight.
The Bellator 134 main card opened with “The Irish Bad Boy” Brennan Ward making his welterweight debut as a late step in for Michael Page, defeating Curtis Millender by first round rear naked choke. Ward applied pressure immediately, despite being caught by Millender, but the former NCAA Division III wrestler continued to walk down “Curtious,” and landed a huge left hand, followed by a right which dropped Millender. Ward jumped on his opponent’s back, and sunk in his hooks to score the submission win.