Bellator returned this evening for their second event since opening back up after the pandemic shut things down earlier this year. In the main event of the evening, Benson Henderson (28-8) took on Michael Chandler (20-5). A very solid night of fights from Bellator.
Michael Chandler KO’s Henderson in the First
The main event of the evening was a rematch a few years in the making as the two former lightweight world champions squared off. Chandler entered this fight in the last fight of his current deal with Bellator.
As the main event kicked off, Chandler immediately charged over to Henderson. Henderson started with a big body kick. Chandler countered with a big body kick of his own.
Henderson continued his steady onslaught of body work early on. Big body kicks and solid hooks. Chandler kept pushing forward, but Henderson looked very crisp early on.
Out of no where, Chandler landed a massive left hook which floored Henderson. Chandler followed up with some massive shots and the fight was over. Massive win for Michael Chandler as he heads into free agency.
Accidental headbutt leads to TKO for Tim Johnson
The co-main event of the evening featured Bellator heavyweights Matt Mitrione (13-7, 1 NC) and Tim Johnson (13-6) going head-to-head.
As the fight started, Mitrione refused to touch gloves as he circled around the outside of the cage. A brief exchange led to an accidental headbutt which dropped Mitrione and gave Johnson top position.
Johnson was able to work his way to side control a couple of minutes into the round. Mitrione tried to scramble, but Johnson was doing a good job of holding top position. Mitrione tried another scramble, but took a couple of big shots from Johnson.
Johnson started pouring on big shots and Mitrione looked really hurt. After Mitrione showed nothing in terms of defense, the referee called a stop to the action. A big TKO win for Johnson, but it won’t come without an asterisk due to that headbutt.
Myles Jury edges Georgi Karakhanyan
The second fight on the main card featured a lightweight contest between Myles Jury (18-5) and Georgi Karakhanyan (29-10-1). Both of these guys were looking to make it two in a row inside the Bellator cage after coming off multiple fight losing streaks.
As the first round started, Karakhanyan threw a big looping right hand that clipped Jury. Didn’t land flush, but it got Jury’s attention. Jury landed a couple of good shots before getting turned around by a powerful leg kick.
Karakhanyan was looking very powerful early on. Halfway through the round, Karakhanyan drove Jury to the cage and started delivering knees the thighs. Jury was able to separate with about two minutes left.
Jury landed a couple of good shots before Karakhanyan drove him right back to the cage. He was able to cut Karakhanyan late in the round.
Upon another separation, Jury landed a couple of good shots, but Karakhanyan countered with a power shot. Close round, but I lean Karakhanyan.
Jury immediately started the third with more power shots, but couldn’t land much. The pace was really being picked up by Jury to start the second. Karakhanyan seemed a lot slower to start.
After taking the first minute off, Karakhanyan did throw a couple of looping shots that didn’t land. Jury was doing a much better job in the second at working his strikes from distance.
Myles Jury was starting to really touch Karakhanyan constantly halfway through the round. Good jabs, solid combinations and a steady diet of kicks to the body. Karakhanyan tried for a desperate takedown but couldn’t get Jury down.
Karakhanyan landed a massive right hand as Jury tried to get away. He used the right to transition to another takedown. After being down for a second, Jury worked his way up and pushed Karakhanyan against the cage.
Karakhanyan was able to reverse and get another brief takedown late in the round. Very close second round, but due to the clean shots, I would give it to Jury.
Jury started the third round trying to work his jab again. A weird moment occured about thirty seconds in. Jury was poked in the eye, but the action didn’t stop. After the action didn’t stop Karakhanyan stopped then Jury pushed forward.
Fortunately nothing significant landed. Jury landed a solid elbow before looking for a takedown. Karakhanyan reversed the position and was able to secure a brief takedown. Jury immediately got up and separated.
Jury was able to land a couple of solid shots pushing forward. Karakhanyan pulled Jury into a guillotine, but couldn’t lock it in. Jury secured top position after the failed submission.
Karakhanyan tried to work his way up, but Jury did a good job of holding the top. Jury briefly took Karakhanyan’s back before a scramble found him back in guard. Jury landed a couple of really nice elbows late.
Karakhanyan did get back up, but it was a little too late. Close fight overall, but I give the third round to Jury which gives him the fight on my scorecard 29-28.
The judges were split on this one scoring the fight (30-27, 27-30, 29-28). Odd scores, but Jury wins his second Bellator fight.
Homasi survives Millender’s late rally
Opening up Bellator 243 was a catchweight contest between Curtis Millender (18-5) and Sabah Homasi (13-8). Both of these men were coming off of wins in their return to Bellator.
When the first round started both men exchanged leg kicks before throwing haymakers at each other. Homasi continued to look for a giant overhand right early on.
Millender appeared to be stalking Homasi just looking for his shots. A couple of stiff jabs were landing from Millender while Homasi continued to look to land a bomb. With two minutes left in the round, Homasi was able to shoot in and land a takedown.
Once he had top position, Homasi was able to land some solid elbows. Close round early on, but the takedown seals the first for Homasi.
Millender opened the second round landing a massive jab that backed up Homasi. Homasi was getting backed up by Millender, but he threw a few body kicks to keep the distance. Homasi tried for a takedown about a minute into the round.
Millender was able to defend for a bit, but eventually Homasi was able to get Millender to the ground. Homasi was able to hold solid top position for the majority of the round.
With about a minute left in the round, Homasi was able to take Millender’s back. However, he got a little high in the position and Millender was able to secure top position. Millender tried for a d’arce choke but he ended up back on his back. Another clear round for Homasi.
Millender pressed forward to start round three, but he pressured Homasi right into a clinch. The two men broke from the clinch, and Millender continued to press forward. Homasi seemed fatigued to start the final round.
As soon as Millender started to gain some momentum on the feet, he tried again for a d’arce choke. He couldn’t lock it up and ended up on his back again. Millender worked his way back up to his feet halfway through the round.
After landing a couple of solid shots, Millender just laid against Homasi against the cage. Millender was clearly gassed himself. Homasi landed another easy takedown. Millender did reverse position to gain top position before the end of the round.
I would give the last round to Millender, but the fight to Homasi 29-28. The judges ended up scoring the fight unanimously for Homasi (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Final Takeaways from Bellator 243
Bellator successfully hosted it’s second event tonight and there were some solid fights up and down the card. The promotion will be back in a couple of weeks when light heavyweight champion, Ryan Bader defends his title.
Michael Chandler could not have asked for a better performance heading into free agency. A dominant knockout of a former UFC champion. It’ll be interesting to see if he remains with Bellator or moves on to another promotion.