BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — This city along the eastern seaboard can be a dangerous place. Indeed, at various times in the 1980s and ‘90s, it had murder rates that far exceeded the national average. To this day, it is ranked among the nation’s worst cities to live in, a list that is in part created through input from crime statistics. It is not all bad here, however. There are beautiful areas by the Long Island Sound, some amazing restaurants, and occasionally, world-class entertainment. It is downtrodden yet filled with potential. Bridgeport is complicated.
That’s always how it is here. Take Bellator 225, for example. By the time it finished, this was perhaps one of the greatest Bellator live shows of all time. Every single fight was a finish. There was the fastest submission in promotional history. There were highlight-reel knockouts. It was a violent and electrifying night. No one left wanting a refund. On the other hand, it would have been nice if there was a bigger crowd on hand to witness the action in the first place. Attendance figures were not available but there were plenty of good seats to be had, some in every section, some in group-size clusters. If you needed a whole row, that could probably be had as well.
For those who missed it, it’s their loss.
It was a bonkers evening. Here’s how it broke down:
- 14 fights, 14 finishes
- 7 knockouts, 7 submissions
- 9 first-round stoppages
- 3 second-round stoppages
- 2 third-round stoppages
- 4 fights that lasted less than two minutes
- Fastest submission in Bellator history (11 seconds - Aviv Gozali)
So how rare is a major MMA fight card that ends in all finishes? It’s pretty damn rare. There is no central record-keeper in MMA to spit out such information, but best we can tell, it’s only happened a handful of times in the modern-day era. Regardless, Bellator 225 holds the distinction as the event with the most fights on a card to all be finished.
The only UFC card to even approach that record came in 2014, when a UFC Fight Night event highlighted by the first Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping bout went 11-for-11 in stoppages. Strikeforce back in 2011 also had an event go 11-for-11.
That is amazing, but Saturday night was next level. While the cage side judges could have taken the night off and enjoyed some authentic linguine and clam sauce at nearby downtown staple Ralph-n-Rich’s, the EMTs had a serious night of non-stop action. Only two fights into the event, Eduard Muravitskiy needed help after getting heel hooked in 11 seconds by Gozali, who admitted afterward that yes, he heard Muravitskiy’s right knee pop. Muravitskiy traveled all the way from Belarus for the honor of getting tapped faster than a round break, and by an 18-year-old to boot. Worse, that’s the kind of submission that usually causes significant damage to the tendons and ligaments. That, folks, is a brutal business trip.
In the very next fight, Sabah Homasi absolutely starched Micah Terrill with a thundering right hand that seemed to echo in the moment. Total time? Seventeen seconds. Next up, Austin Vanderford painted the sponsorship section of the canvas red with Joseph Creer’s blood. The Burger King marketing team could not have been happy that their logo ended up looking like a CSI crime scene until the ringside doctor stepped in to remind Vanderford that Creer was going to need the rest of the plasma in his body, and that enough was enough.
These were just the prelims!
Later, Ricky Bandejas face-planted Ahmet Kayretli, Timothy Johnson got smashed up by Vitaly Minakov (and needed assistance to leave the cage), and Sergei Kharitonov blasted Matt Mitrione with a doomsday uppercut and a knee to close out the show.
This only scratches the surface of the punching and kicking, squeezing and strangling that was going on. If you’re an MMA fan, it was the kind of night you live for. If you’re on the fence, it was the kind of night that could make you realize that this sport is not for you.
There was a lot of oohing and ahhing, there were a lot of eyebrows raised, there were a lot of expletives flying around at all the hell that was unleashed. After six hours and 14 fights of relentless batterings one after the next, it’s safe to say that Saturday night in this city delivered the most violent night in major MMA history.