The launch of Bellator’s Light Heavyweight Grand Prix will headline the promotion’s event on Friday night, as veterans Ryan Bader and Lyoto Machida will fight in the first of four quarterfinal matches set to happen over the next month. The bout is one of 13 set to happen at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA.
Follow along throughout the evening for live coverage of the show.
Preliminary Card (6:00PM EDT / 5:00PM CDT) (Youtube)
Main Card (9:00PM EDT / 8:00PM CDT) (Showtime)
Bout 13: Ryan Bader (27-6) vs. Lyoto Machida (26-10) (Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals)
Bader Hurts Machida With Ground and Pound To Avenge 2012 Loss, Advance In Light Heavyweight Grand Prix
Ryan Bader used takedowns and ground and pound to take numerous rounds over Lyoto Machida in the opening round of Bellator’s Light Heavyweight Grand Prix (49-46, 49-45 & 49-45).
Bader was able to land takedowns early in most frames of his five-round bout against Machida. Bader kept control on the ground for most of the fight, landing a busy pace of punches and elbows from the dominant position.
Machida’s best round came early in the fight, as he scored solid shots on Bader in the opening round.
Bader will now move on to the semifinals of Bellator’s 205-pound tournament. He is set to face the winner of a fight between Corey Anderson and Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov, which is set to happen on April 16th.
Bader, the current Bellator Heavyweight Champion, is on the quest to become a two-division champion again. He lost his 205-pound belt last year, getting finished by Vadim Nemkov in the second round. The fight was Bader’s first loss since entering Bellator in 2017.
“It doesn’t matter who’s in my way, I want that belt back,” said Bader during his post-fight interview.
Machida is now on a three-fight skid in Bellator. His previous losses came via split decision to Gegard Mousasi and Phil Davis.
Bader’s win on Friday night avenged a loss that dated all the way back to 2012, the first time he met Machida. That bout, which took place on a UFC card, saw Machida stop Bader in the second round with punches.
“Redemption felt good. I knew I just had to be tough out here. [The] first couple of rounds are tricky with Machida,” said Bader on the win in his post-fight interview.
Bout 12: Liz Carmouche (14-7) vs. Vanessa Porto (22-8) (Flyweight)
Carmouche Cruises To Decision Win Over Porto
Liz Carmouche continued her climb up the Bellator flyweight division, defeating Invicta FC veteran in a unanimous decision performance (29-28, 30-27 & 30-27). Carmouche’s performance saw her out-land Porto on the feet.
Carmouche, a former UFC veteran, won her Bellator debut last year with a submission on DeAnna Bennett. The bout was her first appearance outside of UFC since 2012.
Porto got her Bellator debut after putting together a four-fight win streak in Invicta FC from 2017 to 2019.
Bout 11: Jeremy Kennedy (16-2) vs. Adam Borics (16-1) (Featherweight)
Borics Uses Striking To Defeat Borics In High-Level Featherweight Clash
Adam Borics used sharp striking to earn a unanimous decision win against Jeremy Kennedy (30-27, 29-28 & 29-28). Borics prevailed in striking exchanges with Kennedy on the feet, landing shots more frequently that caused clear damage.
Kennedy was dropped early in the third round after getting hit with a leg kick. Kennedy was able to return to his feet and score a takedown against Borics. The moment late in the fight for Kennedy was arguably one of his best plays in the bout.
Borics was happy with his performance and the preparation for it afterwards.
“This camp was the best [training] camp of my life,” said Borics in his post-fight interview.
Kennedy scored his first Bellator win last year, defeating Matt Bessette in November. He entered his promotional run after participating in the 2019 PFL season.
Bout 10: Cat Zingano (11-4) vs. Olivia Parker (4-1) (Featherweight)
Zingano Stops Parker With Armbar To Collect Second Bellator Win
Cat Zingano picked up her second Bellator win quickly on Friday, catching Olivia Parker in the first round with an armbar to force a tap.
Zingano navigated around Parker on the ground prior to the submission, moving around before finally getting a submission that could end the bout.
Zingano said afterwards that she wants a title shot in Bellator eventually.
“I am in a run for gold,” said Zingano in her post-fight interview.
Bellator Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg is booked for her next fight currently, scheduled to face Leslie Smith on May 21st.
Zingano, a former UFC fighter, now has two wins since entering Bellator. Her promotional debut was in September, defeating Gabrielle Holloway on scorecards.
Parker lost her previous fight, fighting Chelsea Chandler on an Invicta FC card last year.
Bout 9: Dan Moret (14-6) vs. Goiti Yamauchi (25-4) (Lightweight)
Bellator Newcomer Moret Wins Close Decision Over Yamauchi
Dan Moret prevailed in a back-and-forth battle over Goiti Yamauchi on the main card, winning his Bellator debut via split decision (29-28 Yamauchi, 29-28 Moret & 29-28 Moret). The close battle saw both fighters have their moments on the ground, with Moret also having success on the feet.
Moret hurt Yamauchi in the second minute of the bout with a two-punch combination. Yamauchi closed the round out strong, mount the back of Moret a few minutes.
Yamauchi was able to control most of the second round with grappling. Moret put down a significant amount of control time on the ground in the final frame, although Yamauchi got in control just before the round wrapped up.
The loss for Yamauchi snapped a three-fight win streak that he had developed from 2018 to 2019. The run included first-round submission wins over Saad Awad and Daron Cruickshank.
Moret made his Bellator debut in the fight. The former UFC fighter entered the promotion after picking up a 2019 win in UAE Warriors.
Bout 8: Dalton Rosta (4-0) vs. Tony Johnson (9-2) (Middleweight)
Rosta Sweeps Scorecards Against Johnson
Dalton Rosta put together a solid performance over Tony Johnson to pick up his fifth pro win on the prelims (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27). Rosta showed a wide range of skills in the three-round bout, landing numerous takedowns along with a variety of strikes on the feet.
Rosta is undefeated since turning pro in 2019. His last Bellator fight prior to Friday was a decision win over Ty Gwerder in October.
The loss snapped a five-fight win streak for Johnson. The 37-year-old won his Bellator debut in 2019, stopping Joe Schilling with punches.
Bout 7: Talita Nogueira (7-2) vs. Jessica Borga (3-2) (Featherweight)
Nogueira Picks Up Scorecard Victory Against Borga To End Losing Streak
Overcoming a point deduction, Talita Nogueira defeated Jessica Borga with a decision victory on the prelims (29-27, 29-27 & 29-27). The win came after Nogueira controlled the three-round fight through clinch positions and takedowns.
Nogueira was deducted a point in the second round after landing a punch to the back of Borga’s head, which she was warned about previously.
Nogueira snapped a two-fight losing streak with the win. Her previous losses came against notable Bellator names Jessy Miele and Julia Budd.
Borga was also returning to the octagon after somewhat of an absence. Her previous bout was a submission win over Amber Leibrock in 2019.
Bout 6: Cass Bell (5-1) vs. Jornel Lugo (5-0) (Bantamweight)
Lugo Dominates Bell To Earn Sixth Pro Win
Jornel Lugo extended his undefeated pro record to five wins on the prelims, dominating Cass Bell on the feet and on the ground to win on the scorecards (30-26, 30-27 & 30-27).
Lugo was able to hurt Bell on the feet, connecting with punches and leg kicks that clearly hurt his movement.
Lugo had a strong finish to the fight, attempting a rear naked choke from the back of Bell. The position came after Lugo had control over Bell on the ground for a few minutes.
Lugo won his Bellator debut late last year, handing Schyler Sootho his first pro loss in a unanimous decision.
Bell was looking to bounce back from his first pro loss, which came in July to Raufeon Stots. Bell is a regular for Bellator, having spent his entire seven-fight pro career there.
Bout 5: Cody Law (2-0) vs. Nathan Ghareeb (2-0) (Featherweight)
Law Picks Up Third Win As Rookie, Hands Ghareeb Decision Loss
Cody Law controlled Nathan Ghareeb to defeat him via unanimous decision and earn his third victory as a pro (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27). The performance from Law saw him record over 10 minutes of control time on the ground, per Bellator statistics.
Law scored numerous takedowns in the fight, keeping Ghareeb on his back for large periods of time. Law made use of the positions, often scoring with ground and pound while on top.
Ghareeb was making his Bellator debut. He also entered the fight with two pro wins, although they were attained on the regional scene in 2019.
Bout 4: Jaylon Bates (1-0) vs. Jeffrey Glossner (2-1) (Bantamweight)
Bates Submits Glossner For First Pro Stoppage Win
Jaylon Bates had a dominating victory in his second pro fight, submitting Jeffrey Glossner in the second round with a guillotine choke.
The win for Bates came after two rounds where he landed takedowns early and kept Glossner on his back.
Bates now has two wins as a rookie in professional MMA. His pro debut was in November, where he fought to a decision against Joe Supino.
Bates turned pro last year after having a nine-fight undefeated run at amateur.
Glosser was returning after a year outside of the cage. His last fight saw him stop Jason Tipaldos in only 10 seconds back in late 2019.
Bout 3: Nainoa Dung (3-2) vs. Izzy William (4-3) (Lightweight)
Dung Uses Striking To Defeat William, End Losing Streak
Nainoa Dung snapped a two-fight losing streak with a win against Bellator newcomer Izzy William on the prelims (30-27, 29-28 & 29-28).
Dung showcased his slick boxing in the first two rounds, putting together combinations to the head and body of William that landed clean. William was often able to stop these flurries by scoring takedowns.
Dung scored a knockdown halfway through the opening round, landing a left to the body and head.
Most of the final round was on the ground, where both fighters battled for control.
The fight was Dung’s fifth in Bellator. After a strong run of two wins in the promotion, Dung fell into a two-fight skid over the past two years. The win on Friday returned him to his winning ways.
William was getting his first Bellator appearance after seven pro appearances. He lost to former UFC fighter Jordan Leavitt in his prior bout in early 2020.
Bout 2: Diana Avsaragova (2-0) vs. Tara Graff (1-2) (Flyweight)
Avsaragova Stops Graff Early In Bellator Debut
Undefeated flyweight Diana Avsaragova had a quick Bellator debut on the prelims, stopping Tara Graff in less than a minute with punches.
Avsaragova dropped Graff while backing up, scoring a right hand that wobbled her. She then followed up with a right hook that knocked her out, ending the fight.
Avsaragova was getting her first Bellator appearance after two wins on the regional scene.
Graff has now lost three consecutive bouts. She lost her Bellator debut last year, getting stopped by Valerie Loureda.
Bout 1: John Douma (4-2) vs. Will Smith (3-2) (Bantamweight)
Douma Bounces Back With Split Decision Win Over Smith
John Douma returned to the win column with a split decision win over Will Smith in a bantamweight bout (29-28 Douma, 29-28 Smith & 29-28 Douma).
Smith was more active on the feet, landing jabs and straights that accumulated visible damage on Douma’s face. Douma was able to score with his own shots, but Smith had a much large volume of strikes throughout.
Douma was able to take Smith down twice, attempting rear naked chokes both times. Smith landed his own takedown in the third round, taking full guard afterwards.
Both fighters were returning after taking a loss in the Bellator cage previously.
Smith’s previous fight was his sole Bellator showing, where he lost to Lucas Brennan.
Douma’s last appearance was over a year ago, losing on scorecards to Jornel Lugo in 2019. He has a win in the promotion, as he handed Mike Kimbel his first pro loss two years ago.