After ending 2017 'perfectly,' Rafael Lovato Jr. 1 'quality victory' away from Bellator title shot

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

THACKERVILLE, Okla. –Bellator is offering American jiu-jitsu standout Rafael Lovato Jr. everything he needs.

Lovato Jr. (7-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), who scored a unanimous-decision victory over previously unbeaten middleweight and NCAA Division I All-American wrestler Chris Honeycutt (10-2 MMA, 6-2 BMMA) on Friday at Bellator 189, has been balancing his promising MMA career with top-level jiu-jitsu competitions.

The 34-year-old Carlos Machado black belt is a world-champion grappler, and he said Bellator is giving him the perfect schedule to balance MMA fights and jiu-jitsu competitions.

“I did six events this year – three (MMA) fights, three jiu-jitsu events – and it really went perfectly,” Lovato Jr., a former Legacy FC champion, told MMAjunkie after his Bellator 189 co-headliner, which aired on Spike from WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Okla. ” … I feel like I ended the year perfectly, and I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve gotten so much better, and I’m going to be so much better for my next fight after the experience I gained tonight.”

Lovato Jr. said there’s “no doubt” he’s now within the top four or five of the Bellator middleweight division, which is currently ruled by champ Rafael Carvalho. Lovato Jr. mentioned John Salter, Ed Ruth and Chidi Njokuani as possible next opponents.

“There are a lot of options,” he said. “I feel like I’m there, and with one more quality victory over a great opponent, I feel like I should be worthy of a title shot very soon.”

Check out the full interview above.

For complete coverage of Bellator 189, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 189 post-event facts: David Rickels trails only 'Pitbull' on all-time wins list

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Filed under: Bellator, News

Bellator 189 wasn’t the most memorable night for the promotion. All four main-card fights went the distance at Friday’s event, which took place at WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Okla., and aired on Spike.

The card concluded with women’s featherweight champion Julia Budd (11-2 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) making her first successful title defense when she picked up a narrow, and somewhat controversial, split-decision victory over Arlene Blencowe (10-7 MMA, 3-3 BMMA).

Budd’s title fight concluded the first of three Bellator events in the final month of the year. For more on the numbers behind the show, check out 20 post-event facts about Bellator 189.

* * * *

General

Betting favorites went 2-1 on the main card. One fight had even odds.

Betting favorites improved to to 15-4 (with one even odds) in Bellator main events this year.

Total fight time for the four-bout main card was 1:10:00.

* * * *

Main card

Julia Budd

Budd extended her winning streak to nine fights. She hasn’t suffered a defeat since November 2011.

Budd’s five-fight Bellator winning streak in women’s featherweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Budd’s five victories in Bellator women’s featherweight competition are most in divisional history.

Budd has earned four of her five Bellator victories by decision.

Blencowe has suffered two of her three Bellator losses by decision. Both of those came against Budd.

Rafael Lovato

Rafael Lovato (7-0 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) earned the first decision victory of his career. His previous six wins came by stoppage.

Chris Honeycutt (10-2 MMA, 6-2 BMMA) fell to 2-1 since he moved up to the Bellator middleweight division in June 2016.

Honeycutt suffered the first decision loss of his career.

Chidi Njokuani (18-5 MMA, 5-1 BMMA) was successful in his Bellator middleweight debut.

Hisaki Kato (8-3 MMA, 3-2 BMMA) suffered the first decision loss of his career.

David Rickels

David Rickels’ (19-4 MMA, 13-4 BMMA) 13 victories in Bellator competition are tied with Michael Chandler and Joe Warren for second most in company history behind Patricio Freire (14).

Adam Piccolotti (9-2 MMA, 5-2 BMMA) has suffered back-to-back losses after starting his career on a nine-fight winning streak.

Piccolotti suffered the first decision loss of his career.

Preliminary card

Sam Sicilia

Sam Sicilia (16-8 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) was successful in his Bellator debut following a 12-fight UFC stint.

Sicilia snapped his three-fight losing skid for his first victory since July 2015.

Marcos Galvao (18-9-1 MMA, 8-6 BMMA) fell to 0-2 since he moved up to the Bellator featherweight division in March 2017.

Galvao has suffered five of his six Bellator losses by decision.

Mandel Nallo’s (6-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) 18-second knockout victory marked the fastest stoppage in Bellator lightweight history.

For complete coverage of Bellator 189, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 189 highlights: Did champ Julia Budd deserve this win over Arlene Blencowe?

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

Should the Bellator women’s featherweight title have changed hands on Friday in Bellator 189’s headliner?

In the Spike-televised headliner of the event, which took place at WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Okla., Julia Budd (11-2 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) edged challenger Arlene Blencowe (10-7 MMA, 3-3 BMMA) via majority decision to defend her title.

The close bout, which ended with little action in the later rounds, resulted in 46-49, 48-47 and 49-46 scores – and more than a few boo birds who thought Blencowe deserved the victory.

While Bellator 189’s prelims ended with some spectacular finishes, the rest of the main card all went to decisions.

In the middleweight co-headliner, Rafael Lovato (7-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) neutralized the wrestling of Chris Honeycutt (10-2 MMA, 6-2 BMMA) and claimed a decision victory via 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 scores.

Also on card, Chidi Njokuani (18-5 MMA, 5-1 BMMA) moved up to middleweight for a fight with fellow striker Hisaki Kato and earned a decision victory. Njokuani finished strong for a trio of 30-27 scores from the judges.

In a 160-pound catchweight but, David Rickels (19-4 MMA, 13-4 BMMA), who made a record-setting 19th Bellator appearance at the event, outworked Adam Piccolotti (9-2 MMA, 5-2 BMMA) for a unanimous-decision victory with 30-27 scores across the board. In 19 career Bellator appearances, Rickels is 13-4 with two no-contests.

Check out all of the highlights above.

And for complete coverage of Bellator 189, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 189 results: Rafael Lovato Jr. stays unbeaten vs. Chris Honeycutt

THACKERVILLE, Okla. – Rafael Lovato Jr. was forced to go the distance for the first time in his career at Bellator 189. Fortunately that didn’t hinder him much. He left the cage with a unanimous decision win.

Lovato Jr. (7-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) got the better of Chris Honeycutt (10-2 MMA, 6-2 BMMA) over three rounds in their middleweight bout tonight at Bellator 189, which took place at WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Okla., remaining unbeaten with a solid performance.

Although he couldn’t put Honeycutt away inside the distance like he did his previous six opponents, it certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying.

Lovato Jr. threw the kitchen sink at Honeycutt in terms of submission attempts, but he couldn’t stop the hard-nosed wrestler. Honeycutt consistently moved forward and attempted to implement his wrestling game, but his overall offense wasn’t very effective.

After 15-minutes of hard-fought action, Lovato Jr. got the decision by scorecards of 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27, setting him up in prime position in the relatively thin Bellator middleweight division.

For complete coverage of Bellator 189, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

5 reasons to watch Bellator 189, including Julia Budd's high-stakes title rematch

Filed under: Bellator, News

Bellator returns to the U.S. on Friday. After presenting events in Dublin, Ireland and Tel Aviv in November, the promotion heads to the familiar confines of WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Okla., for Bellator 189.

In the main event, women’s featherweight champion Julia Budd looks to defend her title for the first time when she meets Arlene Blencowe, an opponent the champion defeated by majority decision in 2016.

In the co-headliner, Chris Honeycutt and Rafael Lovato look to find a place among the top middleweights on the Bellator roster.

Bellator 189 airs on Spike following prelims streamed on MMAjunkie.

Here are five reasons to watch the event.

1. High-stakes rematch

Julia Budd

The first time Budd and Blencowe faced each other, the bout ended in a majority decision in Budd’s favor. Budd’s only contest since that victory was her featherweight title-winning TKO of Marloes Coenen.

Blencowe (10-6 MMA, 3-2 BMMA) has fought three times since she faced Budd (10-2 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) in October 2016, and she won each of those bouts. The Australian’s most recent victory was a split-decision win over Sinead Kavanagh in August.

Budd’s strength and her ability to take advantage of openings in Blencowe’s striking game made the difference in the first meeting between these two. If Blencowe is more active in her striking and able to maintain distance, this could be her fight to lose. That’s easier said than done. The only two women to defeat Budd during her 12-fight career are former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and current UFC champ Amanda Nunes.

2. Moving on up

Chris Honeycutt

Once you drill down past Rafael Carvalho, Gegard Mousasi, John Salter and Alexander Shlemenko, you run into Honeycutt and Lovato in the middleweight pecking order. A step into the top tier of the division is on the line when the two meet at Bellator 189.

Since moving up from welterweight, Honeycutt (10-1 MMA, 6-1 BMMA) is unbeaten at 185 pounds. He extended his unbeaten streak to three straight after he earned a TKO win over Kevin Casey in August. Lovato (6-0 MMA, 2-0 BMMA), the former Legacy FC middleweight champion, has not lost in his MMA career. His most recent win was a first-round submission victory over Mike Rhodes in July.

Lovato is well known for his Brazilian jiu-jitsu accomplishments, but he has a developing striking game and has not been timid about using those newfound skills. Honeycutt has a wrestling background, which he uses to get the fight to the mat. Once on the ground, Honeycutt unloads heavy strikes. However, it will be a surprise if he tangles with Lovato on the ground.

The winner of this contest could find himself booked against the surging Salter, who was just victorious at Bellator 188.

3. Looking to make the most of his move

Chidi Njokuani

Chidi Njokuani was on a roll. Unbeaten in nine consecutive fights with four of those coming under the Bellator banner, he looked like a rising star heading into his August bout against former welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov. The one thing that dimmed that star was the Texas-born fighters inability to make weight on a consistent basis. Njokuani missed weight in two of his three most recent fights; the other was contested at a catchweight of 179 pounds. After his first-round TKO loss to Koreshkov, Njokuani (17-5 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) decided to give middleweight a shot. He makes his 185-pound debut against Hisaki Kato (8-2 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) at Bellator 189.

Njokuani’s move to middleweight does not come at an ideal time. The top of the division is crowded with the emergence of Salter as a title contender and the signing of Mousasi. With that, the pressure is on the 28-year-old to come out of the gate hot. The 35-year-old Kato, who is on a three-fight winning streak, hopes to spoil Njokuani’s move. Kato’s most recent win was a January decision victory over Ralek Gracie.

4. Bounce back

Adam Piccolotti

Adam Piccolotti suffered the first defeat of his career in his most recent bout. The loss was a costly one. The man who forced him to tap in the first-round, Goiti Yamauchi, was booked to face former lightweight champion Michael Chandler after his victory. Meanwhile, Piccolotti looks to get back in the win column against David Rickels in a 160-pound catchweight bout in Thackerville.

This is a good test for Piccolotti (9-1 MMA, 5-1 BMMA). Rickels (18-4 MMA, 12-4 BMMA) is a well-rounded fighter who should test all facets of his opponent’s game. The less experienced Piccolotti is known mostly as a top position ground fighter, but he has made strides in his striking game. If he can get by Rickels, Piccolotti should find himself right back in the thick of things in the lightweight division.

Rickels enters this fight on the strength of a third-round TKO win over Aaron Derrow at Bellator 171.

5. A fine how you do

Sam Sicilia

After three consecutive losses, Sam Sicilia saw his five-year run with the UFC end in February. He then signed with Bellator. If Sicilia thought he’d waltz into his new promotion without a test, he couldn’t have been more wrong. In his first fight with Bellator, Sicilia is matched up against former bantamweight champion Marcos Galvao.

This featherweight fight has the potential to be an entertaining one if it remains on the feet. Both of these combatants like to throw their punches with maximum force. If the bout does go to the ground, Galvao (18-7-1 MMA, 8-4 BMMA) will have an advantage, but getting Sicilia (15-8 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) to the mat could prove tricky as he defended 70 percent of his opponent’s takedown attempts while with the UFC.

Expect both men to be very motivated in this matchup. Sicilia enters this contest on the heels of a frustrating loss to Gavin Tucker in which he landed a total of 10 strikes. Galvao also lost his most recent outing when he dropped a decision to Emmanuel Sanchez.

For more on Bellator 189, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 189 pre-event facts: David Rickels sets new record for most Bellator fights

Bellator contributes to a busy weekend of MMA with Bellator 189, which takes place Friday at WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Okla., and airs on Spike following prelims streamed on MMAjunkie.

A women’s featherweight championship fight headlines the card. Reigning titleholder Julia Budd (10-2 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) attempts to make her first title defense when she rematches Arlene Blencowe (10-6 MMA, 3-2 BMMA) in a bout from Bellator 162 in October 2016, which Budd won by majority decision.

For more on the numbers behind Friday’s Bellator 189 fight card, check out 25 pre-event facts.

* * * *

Main event

Julia Budd

Budd competes in her fifth Bellator women’s featherweight bout, the second most appearances in divisional history behind Blencowe (five).

Budd enters the event on an eight-fight winning streak. She hasn’t suffered a defeat since November 2011.

Budd’s four-fight Bellator winning streak in women’s featherweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Budd’s four victories in Bellator women’s featherweight competition are most in divisional history.

Julia Budd vs. Arlene Blencowe

Budd’s only career losses came against current UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes and ex-titleholder Ronda Rousey.

Blencowe is 3-0 since she suffered a majority decision loss to Budd at Bellator 162 in October 2016.

Blencowe competes in her sixth Bellator women’s featherweight bout, the most appearances in divisional history.

Blencowe’s two victories in Bellator women’s featherweight competition are second most in divisional history behind Budd (four).

Remaining main card

Chris Honeycutt

Chris Honeycutt (10-1 MMA, 6-1 BMMA) is 2-0 since he moved up to the Bellator middleweight division in June 2016.

Rafael Lovato (6-0 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) has earned all of his career victories by stoppage.

Lovato’s 13-second knockout of Charles Hackmann at Bellator 174 stands as the sixth fastest knockout in company history.

Chidi Njokuani (17-5 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) moves up to the middleweight division for the first time in his career.

Njokuani has earned 10 of his 11 career stoppage victories by knockout.

Njokuani has suffered all five of his career losses by stoppage.

Hisaki Kato (8-2 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) has earned seven of his eight career victories by stoppage.

David Rickels

David Rickels (18-4 MMA, 12-4 BMMA), 28, is the youngest of the 10 scheduled main card fighters.

Rickels competes in his 19th Bellator bout, the most appearances in company history (two have appearances resulted in no contests).

Rickels’ 12 victories in Bellator competition are tied for fourth most in company history behind Patricio Freire (14), Michael Chandler (13) and Joe Warren (13).

Rickels is 3-2 (with two no-contests) in his past seven Bellator appearances.

Marcos Galvao (18-7-1 MMA, 8-4 BMMA), 35, is the oldest of the 10 scheduled main card fighters.

Marcos Galvao

Galvao is one of six fighters in history to win the Bellator bantamweight championship.

Galvao was unsuccessful in his Bellator featherweight debut when he lost to Emmanuel Sanchez at Bellator 175 in March.

Galvao has earned 13 of his 18 career victories by decision.

Sam Sicilia (15-8 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) makes his Bellator debut following a 12-fight UFC stint where he went 5-7.

Sicilia enters the event on a three-fight losing skid. He hasn’t earned a victory since July 2015.

For more on Bellator 189, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Featherweight champ Julia Budd headlines Bellator 189 in rematch with Arlene Blencowe

Julia Budd will put her featherweight title on the line in December when she headlines Bellator 189 in a rematch.

Budd (10-2 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) will be challenged by Arlene Blencowe (10-6 MMA, 3-2 BMMA) in the main event, Bellator officials today announced. In addition, the co-main event is set with a middleweight bout between Chris Honeycutt (10-1 MMA, 6-1 BMMA) and Rafael Lovato Jr. (6-0 MMA, 2-0 BMMA).

Bellator 189 takes place Dec. 1 at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. The main card will air on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Budd won Bellator’s inaugural women’s featherweight title earlier this year when she stopped former Strikeforce champ Marloes Coenen with a fourth-round TKO at Bellator 174, which also took place in Thackerville.

Julia Budd vs. Arlene Blencowe

To get to that title shot, Budd, from Canada, won her first three Bellator fights after a 4-0 run for Invicta FC. And the third of those wins came at Bellator 162 nearly a year ago – a unanimous decision win over Blencowe, who now will challenge for her title.

Blencowe, from Australia, has gone 3-0 since that loss. She picked up a pair of knockout wins in her native Australia, then took a split call from Sinead Kavanagh at Bellator 182 in August.

Honeycutt has won four straight fights. He has decisions over Matt Secor, Mikkel Parlo and Ben Reiter. But at Bellator 182, he picked up his first stoppage win in two and half years when he took out Kevin Casey with a second-round TKO. His four-fight winning streak comes on the heels of a pair of fights with Paul Bradley. The first of those ended in a no-contest from an accidental headbutt, and Bradley won the rematch with a 40-second knockout – Honeycutt’s lone pro loss.

Lovato won Legacy FC’s middleweight title in just his third pro fight in 2016. After defending it later that year with a submission of Cortez Coleman, he moved to Bellator – where he has been impressive in a hurry. He stopped Charles Hackman in just 13 seconds with a TKO at Bellator 174. And in July, he submitted Mike Rhodes in the first round.

For more on Bellator 189, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

5 reasons to watch 'Bellator 182: Koreshkov vs. Njokuani,' hiding under the MayMac radar

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With Rory MacDonald seemingly next in line for a shot at welterweight champion Douglas Lima, the pressure is on the four fighters atop Friday’s Bellator 182 event.

In the main event, former champ Andrey Koreshkov looks to put his November title-losing knockout defeat to Lima behind him against the surging, but largely untested, Chidi Njokuani. In the co-main event, Brennan Ward hopes to put a 1-2 run in the rearview mirror against fellow veteran Fernando Gonzalez.

With McDonald vs. Lima likely on the horizon and Paul Daley vs. Lorenz Larkin booked for September, anything less than dominant wins from the headliners could find them lost in the shuffle of the competitive welterweight division.

Also on the main card is rising featherweight star A.J. McKee. McKee puts his unbeaten record on the line against the most experienced opponent he’s ever faced, 10-year vet Blair Tugman.

Bellator 182 takes place at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. The main acrd airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Here are five reasons to watch the event.

1. Former champ vs. rising contender

Koreshkov won the welterweight belt in July 2015 with a decision win over Lima. In his first defense, Koreshkov spoiled the Bellator debut of former WEC/UFC champion lightweight champion Benson Henderson when he swept him on the judges scorecards. A rematch with Lima followed. Koreshkov was about a 3-1 favorite before that fight, but Lima turned those odds on their head in the third round when he caught an overly aggressive Koreshkov with a fight-ending left hook.

Njokuani is on the best run of his MMA career. He’s unbeaten in nine straight fights, including his most recent outing – a unanimous decision win over Melvin Guillard. Koreshkov (19-2 MMA, 10-2 BMMA) represents a huge step up for Njokuani (17-4-1 MMA, 4-0 BMMA), and the timidity he showed early in the Guillard fight is a concern against a tactician like Koreshkov.

Koreshkov, currently No. 14 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, paid with his title when he lost his composure against Lima. Don’t expect that to happen again. Expect this fight to be a technical battle in which both men look to fight at range and capitalize on openings as they present themselves.

2. Coming back from a rough one

Devastating would be one way to describe Ward’s January knockout loss to Daley. Daley ended Ward’s night midway through the second round when he laid him out with a flying knee. A bloodied Ward left the cage on a stretcher with a nasty cut near his eye that was about the size of Daley’s kneecap.

Bellator 182 is Ward’s (14-5 MMA, 9-5 BMMA) first return to the cage since that head-rattling loss. His opponent in the 178-pound catchweight contest, Gonzalez (26–14, 6-1 BMMA), most recently fought in March when he earned a decision win over Brandon Girtz.

Ward always has been an aggressive fighter who goes for the early finish. He’s left the first round just once in his past eight fights. It’s going to be interesting to see if the loss to Daley, just the second KO defeat of his career, has Ward rethinking his ultra-aggressive strategy against the often slow-starting Gonzalez.

3. Fully on board

A.J. McKee’s MMA career began with five straight finishes inside the Bellator cage. With a run like that, it was no surprise McKee was tagged as a future featherweight star. That talk slowed after he won his next two fights by decision. McKee didn’t look bad in those fights, but both performances were missing something. Whatever that was, McKee found it in his most recent bout when he knocked out Dominic Mazzotta with a first-round head kick.

After that highlight-reel stoppage, McKee said his motivation might have slipped a bit in his two previous bouts.

“Honestly, this is just me getting serious now, locking down and really focusing on my career,” McKee said. “This is my life. This is my career. This is what I do for a living — just being 100 percent on board now, training like an animal and putting in that work every day.”

The re-energized McKee faces a much more experienced opponent at Bellator 182. Tugman (10-6 MMA, 5-2 BMMA) has twice as many fights as McKee (8-0 MMA, 8-0 BMMA), but his record is not nearly as stellar. Tugman has won his past three fights, most recently a submission victory over Tom English at Bellator 178.

Another thing to look forward to in this fight, if McKee wins, is the inevitable trash talk he’ll undoubtedly direct at fellow unbeaten rising star James Gallagher.

4. Different goals

Chris Honeycutt and Ben Reiter

The middleweight bout between Chris Honeycutt and Kevin Casey is an interesting matchup. Pegged as a hot welterweight prospect upon signing with the promotion in 2014, Honeycutt won two fights by knockout before Paul Bradley stopped him in 40 seconds in January 2016. The knockout loss was Honeycutt’s first career defeat.

Honeycutt reined in his aggression a bit after that loss and concentrated on shoring up his overall game. The result has been three consecutive decision wins. Most recently, he defeated Ben Reiter at a catchweight of 195 pounds. During that fight, Honeycutt let some wild striking creep back into his arsenal.

With his confidence back, Honeycutt (9-1 MMA, 4-1 BMMA), who moved to middleweight in mid-2016, looks to make his way up the 185-pound rankings against Casey (9-5-2 MMA, 0-0-1 BMMA).

Casey is winless in his past five bouts. Most recently, he had a majority draw in his Bellator debut against Keith Berry. Casey came close to finishing that contest in the first round, but the resilient Berry stayed alive. Casey faded badly as the fight wore on, allowing Berry to tie things up on the scorecards.

A win over Honeycutt would provide a huge boost in confidence for Casey, who has not had his hand raised in victory since July 2015.

5. One year later

Joey Davis finished his college wrestling career at Notre Dame College in Ohio as a four-time NCAA Division II champion. He accomplished that feat by going a perfect 131-0, becoming only the third college wrestler to end his college career without a loss. The other two wrestlers who went unbeaten were Cael Sanderson who put together a 159-0 record in Division I and former UFC fighter Marcus LeVesseur, whose Division III record was 155-0.

Davis signed with Bellator in June 2016 after winning each of his five amateur MMA bouts. The promotion didn’t waste any time getting Davis into his first pro bout, throwing him on Bellator 160 a year ago against Keith Cutrone.

Davis looked tentative in that fight, which he won by decision. He knocked Cutrone down early, but his striking game was reliant on single punches, and the lack of combinations didn’t allow Davis to set up his power shots. Not surprisingly, Davis’ takedown game was impressive. He was able to hold Cutrone down once the fight hit the mat, but he fell short in his ground striking. Davis appears to have the tools for success – he just needs time to learn how to implement them.

It’s been nearly a year since the Cutrone fight. What fans want to watch for is how Davis has progressed during that time under coach Antonio McKee.

Davis (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) faces Justin Roswell in a 175-pound catchweight bout. Roswell (1-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) is 1-1 with a first-round submission win and a first-round TKO defeat on his record.

For more on Bellator 182, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie