Bellator 115: Minakov vs. Kongo took place at the Reno Events Center last night in downtown Reno. Minakov retained his Bellator World Heavyweight Title. Fights on the under-card were won by Benito Lopez, Sinjen Smith, Freddie Aquitania, Rick Reeves, Rudy Morales, Mikkel Parlo and Kelly Anundson.
Benito Lopez vs. Oscar Ramirez
In the first round Lopez led off with a series of kicks. Ramirez responded with jabs before Lopez secured a takedown. Ramirez fought off of his back and eventually regained his feet. In the second round Ramirez dropped Lopez for a split-second, but he recovered quickly. At this point I had the first round going to Lopez and the second one to Ramirez. Round three was the deciding round and Lopez displayed some deft jiujitsu skills dominating the round and winning the fight by Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Jason Powell vs. Sinjen Smith
In a pro-debut for both fighters Smith landed a low kick followed ny two right crosses and a body kick. Powell took down Smith and began a ground-and-pound. Smith maintained his guard and locked Powell in an armbar. Forcing Powell to tap out at 1:52 in the first round.
Freddie Aquitania vs. Josh Appelt
Aquitania came out strong with a series of heavy shots. Appelt responds and goes for the clinch. Aquitania drops and hooks him but Appelt throws him off his back. Aquitania recovers and continues to dominate the round barraging Appelt with punches and knees. In the second round I thought Aquitania was going to put away Appelt, but he continued to hang in. Round three Appelt fought out of a takedown and nailed Aquitania with a series of lefts. Aquitania had been bleeding from the eye earlier in the fight, but now it was visibly swollen. Appelt continued to work away on it, but to no avail. The judges gave Aquitania the decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Jimmy Jones vs. Rudy Morales
In the final fight of the under-card, Jimmy Jones took on Rudy Morales. I felt Jones won the first two rounds being the more aggressive and dominant fighter, but Morales clearly came to life in the third. The judges gave it to Morales via Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29).
Mikkel Parlo vs. Johnny Cisneros
Round 1 began with Parlo launching a low kick which Cisneros grabbed and pushed Parlo into the side of the cage. Parlo quickly reversed and scored a takedown. Cisneros scrambled up but was quickly pushed back and set up for another takedown. This back and forth with Parlo dominant repeated throughout the first round. In the 2 final rounds Parlo dominated and maintained top control consistently, leading to a unanimous decision victory (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Kelly Anundson vs. Volkan Oezdemir
In the second fight that did not go to a decision, Anundson defeated Oezdemir by submission via neck crank at 3:19 in Round 2.
Herman Terrado vs. Justin Baesman
Terrado rushed Baesman and clinched him on the fence landing elbows in the process. Baesman reversed him and threw a knee into Terrado who reversed Baesman on the cage before going into a takedown where he mounted Baesman. Terrado nailed him with a series of strikes until Baesman rolled free putting Terrado on bottom position until the end of the round. Baesman took Terrado's back at 2 minutes into the second round, but Terrado rolled out and moments later Baesman was on him again from the guard. Baesman battered Terrado with a flurry of elbows until the end of the round. Most fans (and Baesman) thought the fight was over at that point, but it was merely the end of the round. Saved by the bell, Terrado rocked Baesman with a heavy right and made an amazing comeback from round 2 where he was looking a bit gassed out. The fight went to the judges who scored it as a majority draw (29-28, 28-28, 28-28). Both fighters and all the fans appear eager for a rematch.
Bellator Heavyweight World Title Fight:
Cheick Kongo vs. Vitaly Minakov
Round 1 started uncomfortably as Minakov cup checked Kongo with a kick. After recovering it happened again with a knee from the Russian Champion, costing Minakov a point in the first round. From there Minakov continued to dominate the cage for all five rounds, albeit he seemed to be a bit more carefully as to not lose another point. The undefeated champion successfully defended his title and unbroken record via Unanimous Decision (48-46, 48-46, 48-46).
This was the first professional level MMA event to appear in the Reno area since Shark Fights 18 back in 2011 appeared in Sparks at the Nugget. The sold-out crowd clearly demonstrated that Reno would like to see more of these fights. Bellator will be making a return to Reno this December.