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Bryan Caraway takes away Aljamain Sterling’s undefeated record with Split Decision

Peyton Wesner

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Specifically looking at the rankings, tonight’s UFC Fight Pass headliner between #4 Aljamain “Funk Master” Sterling and #8 Bryan “Kid Lightning” Caraway is hands down the best fight on the card. In fact, this bout could very well produce the succeeding title challenger for the winner of next weekend’s UFC 199 bantamweight showdown between champion Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber.
Sterling, the younger of five years, entered with a 12-0 professional record (4-0 in UFC), in which he has finished each of his last three. The past two hand raises, Johnny Eduardo, and Takeya Mizugaki, resulted from submissions in the 2nd and 3rd round respectively.
For Caraway, the experienced 31-year has had blemishes and defeats inside the octagon. However, he is 3-1 since April 2013 with his only loss coming at the hands of 5th ranked bantamweight Raphael Assuncao via a 30-27 unanimous decision.
Much trash talk ensued back and forth before fight night between the two well rounded mixed martial artists; though, it was the underdog Bryan Caraway who weathered Aljamain Sterling’s first round ground domination and took home a 29-28 split decision victory.
Round 1
After an expected no glove touch start, Sterling aggressively took the center of the octagon while firing off leg kick after leg kick. Funk Master persisted to use free and quick movement to begin the segment. Soon, however, Caraway was able to cut off the octagon from his 26-year old opponent and experience success in the clinch. Yet, it was Sterling that landed a takedown with a single leg grab, allowing him to get back position. On the ground, the Long Island native controlled Kid Lightning while trying his luck at a neck crank around the halfway mark. Despite looking to be very tight, the submission attempt proved futile, permitting Caraway to escape. But, Sterling swiftly regained position and started a very hard ground and pound session. The northerner from Washington state desired a back door escape, but Funk Master denied the attempt and ensued to smother his adversary like a blanket. Moreover, he trapped both of Caraway’s arms in full-Nelson.  Kid Lightning displayed weakness while his movement was inhibited, but he survived thanks to the bell.
Round 2
Caraway, comprehending he lost the preceding round, showed more aggressiveness at the 2nd round’s commencement. Sterling countered with a takedown attempt that played right into Kid Lightning’s hands, for the latter found a favorable sprawl position, in which he had a loose guillotine choke in place. Considering the non-tight nature of the submission attempt, the 4th ranked bantamweight slipped out and landed a hard right straight prior to sweeping kicks. Caraway landed a few formidable strikes, yet no combinations were put together.  The two proceeded to clinch for the majority, if not all, of the third minute. Both traded upward knees and short jabs. At this point, momentum seemed to be residing with Sterling, or that was until another cut off of the octagon led to a willed Caraway takedown. The Washington native, similar to what happened to him the round before, covered his opponent as he dropped short right bombs. The action transitioned to Kid Lightning flattening Sterling out and taking the back as the latter was standing up. The five minutes would come to a close with Caraway persisting to hold on while hunting for the choke.
Round 3
The deciding round had much intensity from the clap. Sterling displayed a re-found freshness and was by far the more spry fighter, while both Caraway and Sterling had their respective stand-up success early on. However, it was a return to his 2nd round game plan by Kid Lightning that resulted in his 2nd takedown of the night. Funk Master, knowing another smothering by his opponent could produce his first loss, threw a sharp right body punch in an escape attempt. The unblemished then ground passed Caraway’s full guard and was back to his feet just moments before the 2:30 mark. Yet, the experienced 31-year old took the fight back to the ground in top position. He quickly made his way past Sterling’s half guard and unleashed hammer fists in side control. Next, Caraway was able to get two hooks in with just 60 seconds remaining. On Sterling’s back, Bryan Caraway sealed the deal with landed punches to the head from both sides.
He Said It:
I’m a different fighter than I used to be. This is my bantamweight division and I am coming for that belt. I am the underdog in every single fight and I keep winning,” said Bryan Caraway on his performance. “So all you haters, you can keep doubting me. But, eventually, you are going to have to deal with me and recognize my talent.
Result
Bryan Caraway defeats Aljamain Sterling via Split Decision – (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
How did the media score it? MMA Decisions gives you the media’s take, a fair amount of which scored the first round a 10-8 in favor of Sterling, resulting in a draw:
mediascores

For the latest MMA news, live event coverage and more follow @mmalatestnws on Twitter.

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Bellator

Bellator 194, Nelson vs. Mitrione Pre-Fight Notes

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Bellator takes over the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut later tonight. The promotion hosts, Bellator 194: Nelson vs. Mitrione from the venue, beginning at 6:30 pm (ET). Bellator 194 marks the 17th trip to the Mohegan Sun Casino. Their last trip, took place a little more than a few months ago in October of 2017, Bellator 185. The first trip to the Connecticut casino, occurred all the way back in April of 2009, and the second ever event held by the promotion, Bellator 2.

Twenty four fighters will make the walk later tonight, giving fans 12 bouts to watch from prelims to main event. Of the 24 athletes set to compete, five make their professional debuts. Peter Nascimento, Mike Kimbel, Pat Casey, Ross Richardson, and Ronnie Leon all fight for the first time, professionally. As amateurs, the group holds a combined record of 18-12. Only Ross Richardson maintained an undefeated amateur record (3-0).

In recent cards past, only some full broadcasts brought forward newly professional fighters. Events such as Bellator 191, 190, and 187, only broadcast short main card. While events like 193, 192, 189, 188, and 186 broadcast full fight cards. Since November of 2017, 15 fighters made their pro debuts with the Bellator promotion. Including Khonry Gracie in his unanimous decision loss to Devon Brock (Bellator 192), and Ty-wan Claxton, in his amazing KO finish of Johnny Bonilla-Bowman in the first round of Bellator 186. Claxton makes his second pro appearance tonight at Bellator 194 against Jose Antonio Perez, whom also fights for the second time professionally.

Upon completion of Bellator 194’s broadcast, 50% of the promotions first round matches in their Heavyweight Grand Prix will be decided. It is nearly impossible to choose, one match-up more interesting than the others. Yet, the Mitrione vs. Nelson match up is not only puzzling to fans and media alike. One half of the main event, at least, was once annoyed by the prospect of fighting his former TUF cast mate. Mitrione spoke to MMAJunkie about his reaction to the match-up, “Well, I asked them, how does that make sense? Roy is arguably the #2 guy in the division… Explain that to me, is there any seeding?…” He continued, “But the more I thought about, the less I really cared. Either I beat Roy when I have the strap, or I beat Roy to get the strap. What the hell difference does it make?”

In one bit of event news, fan favorite flyweight, Heather Hardy missed weight, in what turned out to be an odd set of circumstances. According to Hardy, she believed she made weight, without stripping down and using the towel. It was her understanding that the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation gave her a weight allowance for the bikini top and bottom she wore while on the scale. Hardy weighed in at 126.25 lbs. with the aforementioned bikini top and bottom.

This understanding was not shared by president of Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation, Mike Mazzulli. The president made the decision to record Hardy’s weight without allowing her to disrobe, or take use the extra two hours allotted to make weight. It was his understanding upon examining and attempting to communicate with Hardy whilst she stood on the scale that brought him to the decision. After renegotiation of the bout agreement, Hardy was fined 20% of her purse which goes to her opponent Ana Julaton.

 

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Bellator

Bellator 194 Weigh Ins Live Video

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Bellator 194 takes place Friday, February 16th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The stacked main card features the second bout in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix matching Roy Nelson against Matt Mitrione. Both former members of the UFC roster, Mitrione and Nelson look to make a further impact in the Bellator Heavyweight division with a potential step towards the divisions championship crown. In the co-main event, MMA veteran Patricky Pitbull takes Derek Campos. The two will most likely battle for the next shot at the promotions Lightweight title, following the Brent Primus (c) vs. Michael Chandler rematch. Other notable bouts on the card include Liam McGeary vs. Vadim Nemkov, Heather Hardy vs. Ana Julaton, and Tywon Claxton against Jose Antonio Perez. Bellator 194 airs live on the Paramount network, main card beginning at 9 pm.

The official weigh-ins took place earlier today, the results are listed below.

Main Card (9 PM ET, Paramount Network)

Roy Nelson (23-14) vs. Matt Mitrione (12-5) Heavyweight bout.

RN: 265 lb.

MM: 255 lb.

Patricky Freire (18-8) vs. Derek Campos (19-6) Lightweight bout.

PF: 155 lb.

DC: 154 lb.

Heather Hardy (1-1) vs. Ana Julaton (2-3) Women’s Flyweight bout.

HH: 126.25 lb*

AJ: 125 lb.

Liam McGeary (12-2) vs. Vadim Nemkov (8-2) Light Heavyweight bout.

LM: 203.75 lb.

VN: 205 lb.

Tywan Claxton (1-0) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (0-1) Featherweight bout.

TW: 145 lb.

JS: 142.25 lb.

Preliminary Card (7 PM ET)

Ross Richardson (3-0, Amateur) vs. Ronie Arana Leon (2-5, Amateur) Lightweight bout.

RS: 155.5 lb.

RL: 156 lb.

Mike Kimbel (4-4, Amateur) vs. Geoffrey Then (0-1) Bantamweight bout. 

MK: 135.75 lb.

GT: 135 lb.

Regivaldo Carlvalho (4-2) vs. Thomas English (6-8) Featherweight bout.

RC: 145 lb.

TE: 146 lb.

Jarod Trice (2-0) vs. Walter Howard (3-4) Light Heavyweight bout.

JT: 205.5 lb.

WH: 203 lb.

Marcus Surin (4-1) vs. Dean Hancock (3-1) Lightweight bout.

MS: 156 lb.

DH: 155.25 lb.

Peter Nascimento (2-1, Amateur) vs. Kastriot Xhema (1-1) Catchweight (165 lb.) bout.

PN: 163.5 lb.

KX 164.5 lb.

Tyler Hamilton (1-0) vs. Pat Casey (7-2, Amateur) Lightweight bout.

TH: 154 lb.

PC: 155.5 lb.

*Heather Hardy missed weight by ¼ of a pound and subsequently fined 20% of her purse. The fine will go to her opponent Ana Julaton.

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UFC 221 Rockhold vs. Romero Live Results

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UFC 221 marks the first event hosted by the promotion in Western Australia. UFC 221 takes place in Perth, Australia at the Perth Arena. The co-main event features Australian star, Mark Hunt against Curtis Blaydes. In the main event, Luke Rockhold looks to earn the Middleweight interim title when he takes on Yoel Romero. Romero is not eligible to earn the interim Middleweight title due to the fact that the Cuban missed weight. Yoel Romero replaced the original headliner of the card, Robert Whittaker. Whittaker, current Middleweight champion, withdrew from the event due to a serious case of mistreated staph infection.

FIGHT NIGHT BONUSES:

Fight of the night: Li Jianliang vs. Jake Matthews

Performance of the night: Jussier Formiga, Israel Adesanya

MAIN CARD – PPV – 10PM/7PM ETPT

  • Yoel Romero (12-2) vs. Luke Rockhold (13-3) – Catchweight (187.7) bout
    • Result: Yoel Romero def. Luke Rockhold via KO (punch) 1:48 round 3
  • Mark Hunt (13-11, 1 NC) vs. Curtis Blaydes (8-1, 1 NC) – Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Curtis Blaydes def. Mark Hunt via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)
  • Tai Tuivasa (8-0) vs. Cyril Asker (9-3) – Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Tai Tuivasa def. Cyril Asker via TKO (punches and elbows) 2:18 round 1
  • Jake Matthews (12-3) vs. Li Jianliang (14-4) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Jake Matthews def. Li Jianliang via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-26, 30-26)
  • Tyson Pedro (6-1) vs Saparbek Safarov (8-1) – Light Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Tyson Pedro def. Saparbek Safarov via submission (kimura) 3:54 round 1

PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 8PM/5PM ETPT

  • Damien Brown (17-11) vs. Dong Hyun Kim (15-8-3) – Lightweight bout
    • Result: Dong Hyun Kim def. Damien Brown via split decision (29-28, 29-28 Kim, 29-28 Brown)
  • Rob Wilkinson (11-1) vs. Israel Adesanya (11-0) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Israel Adesanya def. Rob Wilkinson via TKO (punches) 3:37 round 2
  • Jeremy Kennedy (11-0) vs Alexander Volkovski (16-1) – Featherweight bout
    • Result: Alexander Volkovski def. Jeremy Kennedy via TKO (punches) 4:57 round 2
  • Jussier Formiga (20-5) vs Ben Nguyen (17-6) – Flyweight bout
    • Result: Jussier Formiga def. Ben Nguyen via technical submission (RNC) 1:43 round 3

EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 6:30PM/3:30PM ETPT

  • Ross Pearson (21-12, 1 NC) vs. Mizuto Hirota (19-8-2) – Lightweight bout
    • Result: Ross Pearson def. Mizuto Hirota via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Teruto Ishihara (10-4) vs. José Alberto Quiñónez (7-2) – Bantamweight bout
    • Result: José Alberto Quiñónez def. Teruto Ishihara via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Luke Jumeau (12-4) vs. Daichi Abe (6-0) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Luke Jumeau def. Daichi Abe via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 28-27)
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