'OG' David Rickels downing pizza and beer before latest win, wants Benson Henderson next

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

David Rickels has appeared in 19 Bellator bouts, more than anyone else in company history, and for that he believes he’s due some respect.

“Still around, still whipping ass,” Rickels told MMAjunkie. “Man, I’m the OG. Put some respect on my name. I think I just solidified that I’m no joke. I’ve got skills.”

Or perhaps even more than respect, Rickels believe he might be due former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson (24-8 MMA, 1-3 BMMA).

“Benson Henderson, what’s good?” Rickels asked. “Let’s go. That’s who I want to fight, actually. I’ve been talking about that fight for a minute. Benson Henderson, let’s get it.”

Rickels (19-4 MMA, 13-4 BMMA), whose 19 Bellator appearances include a pair of no contests, was riding high when he spoke to MMAjunkie, and for good reason. Fresh off a Bellator 189 win over prospect Adam Piccolotti (9-2 MMA, 5-2 BMMA) at this past Friday’s event in Oklahoma, Rickels knew he was in for a tough fight.

And that was even before he stepped in the cage.

“It really didn’t affect me, but I was worried when they called,” Rickels said. “I was 185 (pounds), and I was eating pizza and drinking some beer, and yeah, man. The weight cut, it wasn’t terrible. It came off a lot easier than I expected, but it was cool. It worked out.”

Stepping in on short notice, Rickels was granted a 160-pound catchweight contest rather than going all the way down to the lightweight division. “The Caveman” said he’d be more than happy to take more of those matchups should future opponents be interested.

It would seem Rickels might be in line for a top-tier opponent. After all, in addition to his lengthy tenure with the company, Rickels also now boasts an official three-fight winning streak. But to be honest, with more than six years under the Bellator umbrella, Rickels isn’t too worried about challenging for a title. Instead, he’s only worried about challenging himself.

“My performance is what’s important to me,” Rickels said. “Tonight, I had a great performance. I felt smooth. I felt sharp. I landed good shots, and yeah, I think it showed.

“The performances. I just want to put my paws on people.”

And if Henderson is willing, then Rickels would like to go ahead and get a bout agreement drawn up. It’s no disrespect, he insists, but Rickels believes the two could combine for an entertaining scrap.

“I’ve just always respected him through his career, and I just think it would be a great fight,” Rickels said.

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

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: David Rickels thwarts Adam Piccolotti in record-setting Bellator bout

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THACKERVILLE, Okla. – Adam Piccolotti’s late rally wasn’t enough to stop David Rickels from winning their catchweight bout tonight at Bellator 189.

Rickels (19-4 MMA, 13-4 BMMA), who was making a record-setting 19th Bellator appearance at the event, outworked Piccolotti (9-2 MMA, 5-2 BMMA) to a unanimous decision courtesy of a more effective striking arsenal.

“The Caveman” took the 160-pound catchweight bout, which took place at WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Okla. Rickels landed multiple left hands over the course of the three-round fight, swelling Piccolotti’s eye shut.

Although Piccolotti had several meaningful takedowns during the 15-minute affair, mainly in the third round, but Rickels was able to avoid big strikes and attack with submissions.

In the end, Rickels’ work convinced the judges to award him with a decision by scores of 30-27, 30-27, 30-27.

“I put a whipping on that boy, but he is tough,” Rickels said in his post-fight interview. “I am the OG in this Bellator cage. You better come see me first. I never back down from a fight.”

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

Friday's Bellator 185 lineup loses 2 main-card bouts

Friday’s Bellator 185 main card has undergone some major changes.

Officials today told MMAjunkie that an undisclosed injury has forced Brennan Ward (14-6 MMA, 9-6 BMMA) out of the night’s scheduled co-headliner, and as a result, welterweight opponent David Rickels (18-4 MMA, 12-4 BMMA) has also been pulled from the card.

Additionally, Javier Torres (10-3 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) has also suffered an injury, and welterweight Zak Bucia (18-8 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) has stepped in as a replacement to fight Neiman Gracie (6-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) in the new co-main event.

Bellator 185 takes place Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and the main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

With the loss of Ward vs. Rickels, a fight between lightweights Ryan Quinn (13-7-1 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) and Marcus Surin (4-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) has been promoted to the five-fight main card.

The latest Bellator 185 card now includes:

MAIN CARD (Spike, 9 p.m. ET)

  • Gegard Mousasi vs. Alexander Shlemenko
  • Zak Bucia vs. Neiman Gracie
  • Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams
  • Lisa Blaine vs. Ana Julaton
  • Ryan Quinn vs. Marcus Surin

PRELIMINARY CARD (7 p.m. ET)

  • Joaquin Buckley vs. Vinicius de Jesus
  • Steve Skrzat vs. Costello Van Steenis
  • Alec Hooben vs. Jordan Young
  • Kevin Carrier vs. Kastriot Xhema
  • Vovka Clay vs. Frank Sforza
  • John Beneduce vs. Dean Hancock

For more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bubba McDaniel replaces 'King Mo' against Liam McGeary at Bellator 185

It didn’t take long for Bellator to find a replacement opponent to step in to fight former champion Liam McGeary at Bellator 185 later this month.

MMAjunkie reported on Monday that Muhammed Lawal would not be able to meet McGeary (12-2 MMA, 9-2 BMMA) in the light heavyweight bout due to an undisclosed injury. Stepping in for “King Mo” will be Bellator and UFC veteran Bubba McDaniel (28-10 MMA, 3-1 BMMA), MMAjunkie today learned from a Bellator official.

Bellator 185 takes place Oct. 20 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

McDaniel has only fought twice in the past two years but was victorious in both appearances and boasts wins in seven of his past nine contests. His most recent Bellator appearance took place in November 2015, when he earned a second-round TKO of Kenyon Jackson at Bellator 146.

Although the change comes just over two weeks’ notice, McGeary is no stranger to late opponent switches. The former Bellator 205-pound titleholder went through three different opponents before beating Brett McDermott at Bellator 173 in February. He had no opponent switches for a Bellator 179 fight with Linton Vassell in May, but he came out on the losing end of that contest via third-round submission.

With McGeary now fighting McDaniel, a welterweight bout between David Rickels (18-4 MMA, 12-4 BMMA) and Brennan Ward (14-6 MMA, 9-6 BMMA) has been elevated to the Bellator 185 co-main event slot.

The latest Bellator 185 card now includes:

  • Gegard Mousasi vs. Alexander Shlemenko
  • David Rickels vs. Brennan Ward
  • Bubba McDaniel vs. Liam McGeary
  • Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams
  • Ryan Quinn vs. Marcus Surin
  • Steve Skrzat vs. Costello Van Steenis
  • Alec Hooben vs. Jordan Young

For more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

David Rickels vs. Brennan Ward among new additions to Bellator 185 on Oct. 20

The next major Bellator event is shaping up to be a good one with the additional of several new fights, including a welterweight bout between longtime promotional veterans David Rickels and Brennan Ward.

MMAjunkie today verified the matchup between Rickels (18-4 MMA, 12-4 BMMA) and Ward (14-6 MMA, 9-6 BMMA) with a Bellator official.

Bellator 185 takes place Oct. 20 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The event airs on Spike following early prelims streamed on MMAjunkie.

David Rickels

Rickels will set a new Bellator record most appearances in the promotion’s history when he steps in the cage for the 19th time. After spending much of his career with the organization in the lightweight division, Rickels moved up to 170 pounds in February 2016, and the results have paid off.

“The Caveman” is 2-0 with one no-contest since the change in weight class, and he will attempt to continue that run with a showdown against one of the most exciting fighters in all of Bellator.

Although he’s lost three of his past four fights, Ward has proven to be among the greatest action-fighters in Bellator history. All 15 of his appearances with the company have ended in a stoppage, albeit Ward has ended on the wrong of those results in his past two fights with defeats against Fernando Gonzalez and Paul Daley.

Also official for Bellator 185 are a pair of preliminary card fights. Ryan Quinn (13-7-1 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) meets Marcus Surin (4-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) in a lightweight bout while Steve Skrzat (8-9 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) takes on Costello van Steenis (8-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) at middleweight.

The latest Bellator 185 card now includes:

  • Gegard Mousasi vs. Alexander Shlemenko
  • Muhammed Lawal vs. Liam McGeary
  • David Rickels vs. Brennan Ward
  • Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams
  • Marcus Surin vs. Ryan Quinn
  • Costello van Steenis vs. Steve Skrzat

For more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie