Bellator MMA has their second-ever champ-champ.
On Saturday night in the main event at Bellator 221, Patricio Pitbull did what his older brother twice failed to do, knocking out Michael Chandler to claim the Bellator lightweight title. The win was not without controversy though. Just under a minute into the opening round, Freire landed an overhand right behind the ear of Chandler the dropped the lightweight champion to the canvas. As Pitbull followed him down, Chandler turtled but did not move while Pitbull landed a few punches and the referee intervened. Chandler immediately stood up and did not look to be out, protesting the stoppage afterwards. The result remains the same though and Patricio Pitbull is now the Bellator lightweight champion.
The co-main event had no such controversy, with Douglas Lima turning in a KO of the Year contender, knocking out Michael “Venom” Page with a savage uppercut in the second round. The first round saw Page have success at range but Lima was able to secure a takedown, though he wasn’t able to do much damage. Early in the second round, Page stumbled Lima with a right hand behind the ear but as he pressed forward, Lima landed a powerful leg kick that knocked Page’s entire body into the air. As Page tried to regain his feet, Lima landed a brutal uppercut to the chin that turned the lights out on Page, ending the rising star’s undefeated record. The win puts Lima through to the finals of the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix where he will take on the winner of Rory MacDonald vs. Neiman Gracie.
Elsewhere on the card, A.J. McKee kept his impressive win streak rolling, picking up arguably the biggest win of his career, a unanimous decision over former two-time Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran. Curran, who had not competed in almost two years, was unable to get much offense going in the bout and McKee, at times, outworked him with offensive output, especially when Curran successfully took McKee down in the second round. The fans were not in love with McKee’s performance, which lacked his usual dominance, but the undefeated fighter was not unhappy and all but assured himself a place in Bellator’s upcoming featherweight grand prix.
In a feature heavyweight bout of the evening, Jake Hager improved to 2-0 in his professional MMA career, submitting T.J. Jones with a first-round arm-triangle choke. The bout went fully as expected, with the former NCAA D-I All-American taking Jones down early and dominating on the ground. The only surprise of the fight came when Hager locked on the finishing arm-triangle choke, but held the submission well after the referee intervened. Afterwards, Hager dug into his pro-wrestling bag of tricks, mocking the crowd for booing at him and embracing his heel persona.
In the main card opener, Tywan Claxton had his way with James Bennett en route to a third-round stoppage win. The NCAA D-II All-American dominated Bennett with his wrestling, taking the former Marine down at will and working him over on the ground, even taking his time to shout out 50 Cent (who was sitting cage side) while punishing Bennett with strikes. In the end, Bennett held tough for as long as he could but by the third round, the referee was forced to intervene.