Bellator middleweight champion Johnny Eblen got sliced open by Fabian Edwards, then engaged berserker mode to finish his man in brutal fashion to retain his 185-pound title at Bellator 299 in Dublin.
In the opening round, the pair engaged in a kickboxing-heavy opening five minutes, with Edwards holding the center of the cage, while Eblen circled the outside. The champion landed the higher volume, but Edwards looked comfortable as he looked to find a home for his straight punches and his left kick. Then, when Eblen shot in for a takedown, Edwards did well to not only prevent the takedown, but eventually separate Eblen’s hands before clipping him as they separated from the clinch.
The second round followed a similar pattern, but this time Eblen was able to land a takedown. However, Edwards showed impressive athleticism as he immediately bounced back to his feet to deny the champion any advantage on the ground. And, late in the round, after an extended clinch exchange on the fence, Edwards connected with a huge elbow that sliced open Eblen’s right eyebrow.
That cut seemed to light a fire under Eblen between rounds, and “Johnny Pressure” came out for Round 3 and poured on the pressure. A flurry of strikes sent Edwards to the mat, and a barrage of vicious punches and elbows knocked out the challenger to give Eblen a third-round KO finish, and his second straight title defense, as he improved his flawless record to 14-0.
Pico makes statement with blistering win
In the co-main event, featherweight contender Aaron Pico delivered the biggest statement of his Bellator career as he demolished former title challenger Pedro Carvalho via first-round TKO, then called for a shot at the Bellator 145-pound title.
Pico connected with heavy shots early, then scored a big takedown as he pushed the pace on Carvalho in the opening exchanges. “The Game” tried to establish his own offense with some decent leg kicks and a few snapping jabs, but Pico looked a step ahead as he countered with heavy punches and more takedowns.
Then, mid-way through the opening round, Pico sent Carvalho flying across the cage and down to the canvas with a huge right uppercut, before following him to the mat and finishing him with some vicious ground strikes.
After his victory, Pico said that the time had come for him to get a shot at the Bellator featherweight title currently held by Patricio Pitbull. After a performance like that, it’ll be hard to deny him.
Collins edges Kavanagh to extend unbeaten record
Undefeated Australian featherweight Sara Collins moved to 5-0 with a split-decision victory over Ireland’s Sinead Kavanagh.
After two tightly-contested rounds, the bout appeared to be in the balance heading into Round 3, where Collins’ relentless leg kick attack on former title challenger Kavanagh gave her the narrow edge as the judges scored the bout 28-29, 29-28, 29-28 to give Collins the biggest win of her career to date.
Burnell outpoints retiring Weichel
Danish featherweight Mads Burnell achieved a career-long dream when he stepped into the cage to face Germany’s Daniel Weichel, and Burnell bested the 57-fight veteran to claim a unanimous decision victory, before Weichel laid down his gloves and announced his retirement from the sport.
Burnell’s superior boxing, coupled with his smarts on the mat, gave him the edge in most of the exchanges against former title challenger Weichel as he earned scores of 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 to pick up the 18th win of his career.
Weichel, meanwhile, confirmed his retirement after the fight, as he thanked the Dublin fans, as well as his team, his friends and his family as he brought the curtain down on his 21-year professional MMA career with a record of 42-15.
Chokheli stuns Homasi with highlight-reel finish
The opening bout of the main card saw Georgia’s Levan Chokheli claim a knockout of the year contender with a huge front-kick KO of Sabah Homasi in their welterweight bout.
The matchup was expected to deliver a spectacular matchup, with both fighters entering the cage with crowd-pleasing fighting styles. And, after both men traded big shots early, it was Chokheli who scored the stunning finish with a perfectly-placed front-kick.
Homasi was unconscious for some time after the fight, and it took a good few minutes before he was able to sit up, then be helped from the cage. And, in his post-fight interview, Chokheli apologized for his immediate celebration, which he cut short as soon as he saw Homasi was still down.
The win extended Chokheli’s win streak to three, and improved his career record to 13-2, as he notched the 10th knockout of his career.
Preliminary card recap
The featured welterweight preliminary card bout between Irish fan-favorite Peter Queally and Daniele Micele was set to feature “The Showstopper” in a new weight class. But Queally’s move up from lightweight didn’t go according to plan after an accidental foul by Micele forced the fight to be stopped barely after it had begun.
Micele opened up with a leg kick that chopped Queally to the ground, but his follow up kick connected to Queally’s left eye while the Dubliner was on the ground.
Micele stopped and immediately apologized and referee Blake Grice stopped the action to allow Queally to recover and a doctor to enter the cage to inspect his injury. Unfortunately, Queally was ruled unable to continue and the fight was waved off and, with the foul judged to be accidental, the result was confirmed as a no-contest.
Also on the stacked 15-fight preliminary card, “The Maori Kid” Jay-Jay Wilson scored an impressive decision win over Mansour Barnaoui, while Gregory Babene needed just 63 seconds to finish Dublin’s Charlie Ward via guillotine choke in their middleweight matchup.
Earlier in the night, there were hometown wins for Irish prospects Ciaran Clarke and Darragh Kelly. Clarke finished Przemyslaw Gorny via second-round arm-triangle choke, while Kelly finished Jelle Zeegers via third-round ground-and-pound TKO.
Bellator 299: Official results
- Johnny Eblen def. Fabian Edwards via knockout (ground strikes) Round 3, 0:21 – for middleweight title
- Aaron Pico def. Pedro Carvalho via TKO (ground strikes) – Round 1, 3:05
- Sara Collins def. Sinead Kavanagh via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Mads Burnell def. Daniel Weichel via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Levan Chokheli def. Sabah Homasi via knockout (front kick) – Round 1, 1:51
- Peter Queally vs. Daniele Miceli ruled a no-contest (accidental kick to a grounded fighter) – Round 1, 0:26
- Jay-Jay Wilson def. Mansour Barnaoui via decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Gregory Babene def. Charlie Ward via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 1:03
- Ciaran Clarke def. Przemyslaw Gorny via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 2:52
- Luca Poclit def. Roman Faraldo via submission (D’Arce choke) – Round 1, 2:18
- Khasan Magomedsharipov def. Piotr Niedzielski via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 3:58
- Darragh Kelly def. Jelle Zeegers via TKO (ground strikes) – Round 3, 3:42
- Otto Rodrigues def. Brian Moore via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 1:31
- Attila Korkmaz def. Davy Gallon via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 0:23
- Asael Adjoudj def. Ibrahim Al-Faqih Hassan via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Josh O’Connor def. Kenny Mokhonoana via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
- Romain Debienne def. Nicolo Solli via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:39
- Sergei Bilostennyi def. Kasim Aras via TKO (spinning back kick and punches) – Round 1, 2:33
- Mark Ewen def. Noah Gugnon via TKO (elbows) – Round 2, 3:51
- Mackenzie Stiller def. Chiara Penco via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)