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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Bellator 189 results: Chidi Njokuani tops Hisaki Kato in all-striking affair

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The matchup between Chidi Njokuani and Hisaki Kato had expectations for some serious striking exchanges. That’s largely what took place, but neither side could get the finish.

Njokuani (18-5 MMA, 5-1 BMMA) edged Kato (8-3 MMA, 3-2 BMMA) by unanimous decision in tonight’s middleweight bout at Bellator 189, which took place at WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Okla., and aired on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

The power of Njokuani was the difference-maker in the contest. He managed to stumble Kato in multiple rounds, but he could never complete the job and get a stoppage.

Kato gave an effort until the end. He pressured Njokuani on the feet in the final round, and even shot for some uncharacteristic takedowns, but he could never put Njokuani in any real danger.

Njokuani, who moved up to the middleweight division for the first time after missing weight several times at welterweight, appeared to have added energy in his new weight class. He picked Kato apart with straight punches and hard kicks, outworking his opponent in the eyes of the judges.

After 15 minutes of fighting, Njokuani was awarded a unanimous decision by a trio of 30-27 scores.

After the fight, Njokuani was limping around the cage with a very swollen foot.

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

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Hisaki Kato vs. Chidi Njokuani tonight at Bellator 189, and their highlight reel is nuts

Filed under: Bellator, Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, Videos

Dann StuppOn a weekend chock full of combat-sports offerings, don’t forget about the potential barnburner tonight at Bellator 189.

If you like fighting, this weekend has you covered. In addition to Bellator 189, we’ve got The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, UFC 218, Combate Americas 19, GLORY 48 and other shows around the globe.

Much of the focus, of course, is on Saturday’s UFC 218 pay-per-view event. Early “Fight of the Night” contenders like Francis Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) vs. Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC), Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) vs. Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), and Paul Felder (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) vs. Charles Oliveira (22-7 MMA, 10-7 UFC) have the potential for fireworks.

Bellator 189, though, has an obvious one too: middleweights Chidi Njokuani (17-5 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) vs. Hisaki Kato (8-2 MMA, 3-1 BMMA).

The main-card bout, which airs on Spike from WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Okla., features two sluggers who have tallied 17 knockouts in 25 combined career wins.

Need an appetizer for the bout? Check out some of their dazzling career highlights, presented by Bellator commentator Jimmy Smith, above.

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

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

Filed under: Bellator, Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, Videos
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

Chidi Njokuani moves to middleweight, meets Hisaki Kato at Bellator 189

After missing weight and losing a main-event fight earlier this year, Chidi Njokuani is opting for a change in weight class for his next fight.

Njokuani (17-5 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) will move from welterweight to middleweight to take on Hisaki Kato (8-2 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) at Bellator 189, which takes place Dec. 1 at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. The card airs on Spike following prelims streamed on MMAjunkie.

MMAjunkie verified the matchup with a Bellator official following an initial report from CBSSports.com.

After four consecutive wins to begin his Bellator tenure, Njokuani was granted a main event spot against former champion Andrey Koreshkov at Bellator 182 in August. He came in four pounds over the welterweight limit, and the fight also did not go his way. Njokuani suffered a first-round TKO to snap a nine-fight unbeaten streak.

“Chidi Bang Bang” will attempt to rebound and make a positive introduction to the middleweight division when he takes on Kato, a noted striker who has won three straight fights and four of his past five overall.

Kato is coming off a unanimous-decision victory over Ralek Gracie at Bellator 170 in January. He’ll fight for just the second time this year when he enters the cage at Bellator 189.

The latest Bellator 189 card now includes:

  • Julia Budd vs. Arlene Blancowe – for women’s featherweight title
  • Chris Honeycutt vs. Rafael Lovato
  • Hisaki Kato vs. Chidi Njokuani

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

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