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Njokuani Dominates Guillard Under New Scoring System

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Melvin Guillard is the first to make his way to the Bellator Cage inside Mulvane’s Kanas Start Arena looking extremely calm as if he is going to get his morning coffee. Perhaps even too relaxed in a worrisome type of way. He is sporting shorter hair than usually and in a shade of orange as opposed to his traditional blonde hair color. People have questioned how hard the veteran on 53 fights has prepared for this fight as he is already scheduled to fight in Korea fifteen days from now.

For what is undoubtedly the biggest fight of Dallas, Texas native Chidi Njokuani’s career, he walks out looking stoically focused. His confidence surely at an all-time high after going 3-0 in the promotion and losing only 2 bouts in the last 6 and a half years. Chidi, whose middle name is Godson, says a prayer before he steps onto the canvas where 6′ 3″ “Chidi Bang Bang” appears to be almost as tall as the cage post. In his first ever Bellator Main Event, Njoukuani will enjoy an 8-inch wingspan and 6 inches in height advantage, as well as and a pound and a half over his opponent. The fight is being contested at an 180 lbs catchweight as opposed the earlier agreed upon 175 lbs catchweight due to the Njoukuani taking the fight on short notice, and also perhaps because of Guillard’s well-documented history of missing weight.

As the introductions take place Guillard appears a little nervous as he paces back and fourth, and Njokuani is now the fighter looking quality looking cool and collected. As the third man in the cage “Big” John McCharthy calls them to the center for the ceremonial touching of the gloves, the size difference between the two men is almost as great as you will ever see it.

Round One

The first round starts with Guillard cautious circling on the outside not looking eager to mix it up just yet against the longer man. It is a very slow start for the first minute and a half. Through the first minute and a half, only two or three of the body kicks thrown by Njoukuani have found their target. As the boos start reigning in from the crowd who has just watched their hometown hero, David Rickels, win in the co-main event, “Big” John halts the fight and warns the men to start engaging. As Njokuani throws a kick that partially lands Melvin shoots for a takedown which he misses terribly. He ends up pinned on the cage where he lands a knee to the groin of his taller opponent. John McCarthy again calls to stop the action momentarily. When the action resumes a good body kick from the Texan lands as “The Young Assassin” shoots again and this time is successful. Guillard’s upper hand is extremely short lived as the bigger and stronger Njokuani almost immediately gets back to his feet. With less than two minutes left it has been Njokuani is clearly winning the round by staying at range landing a very high percentage of kicks. Mostly to the midsection with a few bouncing off his opponent’s shoulders. After a big shot rattles Guillard he is back against the cage and soon sitting on his rear end. Just as it looks like Njokuani may finish him, “Chidi Bang Bang” illegally knees the grounded fighter just as Melvin appeared to be trying to rise to his feet but did not. McCarthy calls yet another stop to the action and gives Chidi a stern warning. At the end of the round, Guillard attempts to start moving forward to pressure his man but Njokuani continues to throw an array of kicks and knees to his body and then ties Melvin up again. This is very close to 10-8 round under the new scoring system. The only thing Melvin did of any substance was secure one brief takedown which is not to be taken into account under the new scoring criteria because the round was predominate a striking affair.

Njoukauni 10-8

Round Two

The second has a quicker start that the first frame as Njokuani continues keeping Guillard at the range, but this time he is using punches instead of kicks. The veteran shoots for another takedown which is easily reversed by the power of the oversized and more natural welterweight. Njoukuani works some left hands to the body and elbows to the face before scrambling to partial side control. He then moves to a North-South position momentarily before trying to take Melvin’s back. Guillard rolls out the of the position getting back to his feet. Then he is right back down, again absorbing some light ground and pounded from Chidi. The crowd begins to boo again, this time for a much shorter period of time, as Njokunai postures up, picks his shots a with better precision and puts more power behind them. It is still somewhat sloppy work on the ground but it is having the desired effect. Back to their feet just as the rounds ends and the Muay Thai expert lands a hard left kick to the liver that almost buckles the veteran who noticeably winces and clutches his right side as the bell sounds. Guillard was very lucky that there was no more time on the clock or this fight could have been over.

Njokuani 10-8 (Njokuani 20-16)

Third Round

The former UFC is looking like he has already been defeated as it comes out for the start of the third. He immediately starts circling, this time at a faster pace from even further outside. Moving frantically to both left and right to avoid his fresher adversary. Njokuani walks down his gassed opponent and lands a couple more body kicks followed by a knee to the body. The body kicks over last 10 minutes have noticeably sapped the former title contenders energy. Njokuani closes the distance and ties up Melvin. When Guillard attempts to spin free Chidi snatches him for the back and basically ragdolls him to the floor. Guillard puts up some very decent defense from his back in half-butterfly guard but it is not enough to avoid some damage. More punches find their home from Njoukuani, who continues to mix in both blows to the body and head causing Guillard to sustained a cut around his eye. An exhausted Guillard tries valiantly to avoid the mixture of body and head work by creating some space but has little success due to the size of his opponent and the damaged he has taken to his body. Njokuani chooses to stand where he employs an ax kick to get back on top on a of his nearly defeated foe. After more slow paced ground work the referee calls for a standup with only 30 seconds remaining. Guillard catches Chidi’s final kick and takes Njoukuani’s back looking for a choke but it with too little effort and far too late as the final bell rings.

Njokuani 10-9 (Njokuani 30-25)

The official scores read 30-25, 30-24 and 30-26
Chidi Njokuani defeats Melin Guillard via Unanimous Decision

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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 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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Exclusive: Saad Awad looking for the quick knockout at Bellator 193

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Saad Awad makes his return to the Bellator cage Friday as he takes on JJ Ambrose.

The veteran Awad has been with Bellator since 2013, amassing a 9-5 record in the process, with five of those wins coming via knockout. Impressive wins against Will Brooks and Evangelista Santos feature on his 21-9 record.

The heavy-handed striker gets to fight in his backyard of California for the first time in over a year. A native of San Bernardino, Awad is fighting only forty-five minutes from his home, in the co-main event no less.

It’s great,” Awad told MMA Latest about co-main eventing in California. “I’m about forty-five minutes from my house, the arena sold out the week they released the tickets. So I know a lot of people are going to be here and the energy’s going to be really good, it’s going to be great, and it’s going to help me mentally.”

Meeting Awad in the co-main is a fellow California native himself, JJ Ambrose. Ambrose has been fighting since 2005 and has amassed 26 wins in his 13-year career.

He’s a veteran, he kind of flew under the radar,” Awad said. “He’s fought all over the place. I think he brings a lot of experience, a good solid stand-up, and ground game, and wrestling.”

Although Awad highlighted Ambrose’s quality, make no mistake, the “Assassin” believes he holds all the advantages.

I match-up with him great, to be honest, I think my striking is a little bit better, I think I hit a lot harder and my jiu-jitsu’s going to be a bit better, and I’m going to be able to outwrestle him,” Awad explained. “So I think stylistically it’s a bad matchup for him.”

Awad is coming off of a quick KO, one minute, seven seconds, over Zach Freeman. The quick win didn’t come as a surprise to Awad as he always expects to finish his opponents quickly.

I mean, not be cocky, but I expect to get a quick KO against everybody,” Awad said. “When I don’t get a quick KO then I’m like ‘okay something’s wrong’ so then I have to change my gameplan up. So nothing against Zach Freeman, I mean, every fight I go in there looking for the quick knockout.”

Currently, on a solid two-fight winning streak, Awad highlights what exactly the key’s been for him to get this far.

Honestly, I’ve just been training a lot,” Awad said. “I’ve just been training and focusing a lot on little details that I knew were my flaws, and every fight I’ll keep something new. If I see something go wrong in one of my fights, I’ll tweak that out and train it and get a little bit better and then just try and keep improving.”

With a win taking Awad to three victories in a row, it would make sense to offer the veteran a big fight. But Awad doesn’t have a name in mind next, although he doesn’t believe it would matter anyway.

Whoever they give me,” Awad said. “I can ask for fights but they won’t give them to me. “My only thing is trying to get a title fight, I’m not even going to ask for that anymore. I’m going to ask them to keep me busy. I just want to stay busy. I get paid the same no matter who I fight so as long as they keep me busy, that’s what I’m happy for.”

As for 2018, Awad’s goals remain simple.

Keep winning,” Awad said. “Stay busy and keep winning.”

If things go the way Awad expects, fans are in for a treat. As for Ambrose? Not so much.

I’m going to go in there and leave with a knockout, a violent knockout,” Awad said. “Get my hand raised, talk some shit, and leave.”

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