Gary Russell Jr. Erases Some Doubts ; Bellator 135 Results


Friday Night Fights Recap

Courtesy of ESPN
One never can tell how an unbeaten prospect will respond to his first defeat. Gary Russell Jr.’s response on Saturday night was loud and emphatic.

Nine months after dropping a decision to Vasyl Lomachenko in a vacant world title bout that doubled as Russell’s first legitimate step up in class after a slow rise up the ranks, the 2011 prospect of the year dominated featherweight titlist Jhonny Gonzalez at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

Russell (26-1, 15 KOs) stood his ground in front of a dangerous puncher and floored Gonzalez three times en route to a dominant fourth-round TKO.

“We put the work in at the gym; we grind three times a day, hard,” Russell said. “For all the young fighters coming up, never come into a fight questioning or doubting. Always come into a fight ready.”

After making a statement in the opening round by stinging Gonzalez (57-9, 48 KOs) with his blistering hand speed, the southpaw Russell scored a pair of knockdowns in Round 3 with counter left hands up the middle. “We knew that he was trying to find the left hook, and the left hand was the key in the fight,” Russell said. “We knew that our left hand would beat his wide left hook. I don’t feel as though he really recovered from the first knockdown. My father told me to keep my composure, stay off the jab and close the distance.”

Russell floored Gonzalez early in Round 4 with a combination before finishing him at 37 seconds in the round on a right hand as referee Tony Weeks stepped in to wave off the fight.

“Being a world champion is funny because it was never one of my goals,” said Russell, who spoke after the fight of his desire for a rematch with Lomachenko. “Not until after me not being able to compete in the Olympics. I had a lot of people who genuinely had my support in their hand, and I felt as though the only way for me to make it up to my fans is to come home with this world title.”

Charlo takes decision from Martirosyan

In a well-matched bout between aspiring junior middleweights, unbeaten Jermell Charlo did just enough to outslick Vanes Martirosyan in a tactical fight. Charlo (26-0, 11 KOs) relied on a quick jab and clean combinations to win the favor of all three judges by unanimous decision (97-93, 96-94 twice) in a fight that was littered with close rounds.

“This fight I knew I had a game plan,” Charlo said. “Vanes wants to come in and attack a little bit with the right hand, and also, he could move a little bit. I was smart in the ring, I did what I had to do and we got the victory. On to the next.”

Charlo, 24, a native of Houston and twin brother of fellow 154-pound contender Jermall, outlanded Martirosyan 92 to 79, according to CompuBox, and connected on 30 percent of his punches.

Martirosyan (35-2-1, 21 KOs) overcame an accidental head-butt in Round 8 that opened up a cut above his left eye and caused a lengthy delay as he was inspected by the ring doctor.

“It was blurry, but the doctor told me he was going to stop the fight,” Martirosyan said. “I could barely see, but I was OK to fight. We are warriors. We fight.”

Martirosyan, 28, had success early by jabbing to the body but was unable to match Charlo’s speed and ability to fight from distance late.

“He ran the whole fight,” Martirosyan said. “He did land a couple of punches but I was pushing the action. I won the last round, and the fight was close. I honestly did think I won the fight. He ran the whole fight. This is professional boxing.”




Marcos Galvao kept it away from the judges this time.

Warren screamed and lost his title.
Galvao forced a verbal submission from Joe Warren with a second-round kneebar, as he claimed the Bellator MMA bantamweight championship in the Bellator 135 headliner on Friday at the Winstar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. Warren (12-4, 10-3 Bellator) cried out in agony 45 seconds into round two, leading referee “Big” John McCarthy to intervene despite protests from the self-proclaimed “Baddest Man on the Planet.”

Warren — who won a controversial decision over the Brazilian in their first encounter at Bellator 41 four years ago — was in control of the rematch before the stoppage, as he advanced with punches and shut down Galvao in the clinch.

Early in the second round, however, Warren moved to a rear waist lock position, where he was met with a rolling kneebar from the two-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion. After a brief scramble, Galvao (17-6-1, 7-3 Bellator) secured the maneuver, hyperextended the knee and executed the finish. It was his first submission victory as a professional mixed martial artist.

Davis earned a tight split decision.
Davis Spoils Tokoro Debut

The resurgent L.C. Davis recorded his third consecutive victory, as he eked out a split decision over Hideo Tokoro in the bantamweight co-main event. All three judges saw it 29-28, two of them siding with Davis (23-6, 3-0 Bellator), who continues his climb on the 135-pound ladder.

Davis relied on volume on the feet, airtight submission defense and some damaging work in the clinch. He survived an encounter with a spinning back fist in the first round and had Tokoro reeling in the second.

There, he floored the Japanese journeyman with a counter right hand and later buckled his knees with a slashing close-quarters elbow strike along the fence. Tokoro (32-28-2, 0-1 Bellator) refused to go away.

Round three gave rise to a series of wild scrambles and submission attempts, with Tokoro getting the best of the majority of exchanges. Davis dodged armbars, heel hooks and kimuras before diving on an arm-free guillotine in the waning moments, though the finish he desired was not in the cards.

Carmont Downs Viana, Snaps Skid

A stiff jab, stinging leg kicks and a near-finish carried Tristar Gym representative Francis Carmont to a unanimous decision over Shooto Americas alum Guilherme Viana in a featured matchup at 205 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Carmont (23-10, 1-0 Bellator).

Viana (6-2, 0-1 Bellator) was a non-factor for 10 minutes. Carmont did his best work in the second round, where he staggered the Brazilian with an overhand right, swarmed with punches and followed up with a takedown and some elbow-laced ground-and-pound.

Viana responded in round three, as he answered a takedown from the Frenchman by shifting to his back and fishing for repeated rear-naked choke. Carmont, however, weathered the harrowing exchange, reclaimed top position and ultimately benefitted from the early lead he had built.

The victory halted a three-fight losing streak for Carmont, who was released by the Ultimate Fighting Championship following an August knockout loss to Thales Leites.

Couture Choke Submits Cochrane
Strikeforce and UFC veteran Ryan Couture submitted Dakota Cochrane with a first-round rear-naked choke in a lightweight showcase. Cochrane (18-8, 0-2 Bellator) conceded defeat 3:23 into round one, as he was beaten for the third time in four appearances.

Couture (10-3, 2-0 Bellator) countered an ill-advised level change, transitioned to the Nebraskan’s back and forced him to go belly down on the canvas. He then set his hooks and snaked his arms into position for the choke, forcing the tapout from Cochrane.

The 32-year-old Couture has won four fights in a row, all via rear-naked choke.

Prelims: Sanchez Wins Sixth Straight

In preliminary action, Roufusport prospect Emmanuel Sanchez (10-1, 2-0 Bellator) took a unanimous decision from Alejandro Villalobos (17-4, 0-1 Bellator) in their featherweight duel, drawing 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 scores from the judges; Rashad Coulter (5-1, 1-0 Bellator) put away Jeremiah O’Neal (13-25, 0-2 Bellator) with a knee strike and follow-up punches 1:44 into round one of their heavyweight contest; Sean Holden (3-1, 1-0 Bellator) captured a unanimous verdict against Tim Roman (2-2, 0-1 Bellator) in their welterweight tilt, sweeping the scorecards with 30-27s across the board; Neal Ewing (6-0, 1-0 Bellator) picked up a unanimous decision over Logan Nail (1-1, 0-1 Bellator) in their encounter at 185 pounds, earning 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 marks from the judges; Stephen Banaszak (4-4, 2-2 Bellator) submitted Brad Mitchell (4-2, 0-1 Bellator) with an omoplata 2:51 into the second round of their featherweight battle; Klayton Mai (7-1, 1-0 Bellator) submitted Xavier Siller (5-4, 0-1 Bellator) with a neck crank 3:55 into round one of their scrap at 125 pounds; and George Pacurariu (9-4, 1-0 Bellator) submitted Ivan Cole (2-3, 0-1 Bellator) with a straight armbar 2:59 into the first round of their bantamweight clash.

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