By: William Holmes
The Revel Casino in Atlantic City was the venue for the highly anticipated Bellator debut of former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. There was a lot more media here than other previous Bellator events in Atlantic City and Ovation Hall was close to being sold out.
The first televised fight of the night was between Justin Wilcox (14-5) and Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (20-2) in the featherweight tournament final. Both fighters looked to be in incredible shape and Freire lands an early straight right hand that stuns Wilcox and sends him to the floor. Freire briefly gets the back of Wilcox, but Wilcox is able to escape and shoots for a sloppy low single leg that fails. Freire lands another straight right hand that stuns Wilcox again and sends him to the mat. Once again, Wilcox gets back to his feet but gets knocked down from another hard combination by Freire. Freire jumps on Wilcox and unleashes a barrage of punches on the covered up Wilcox before the referee stops the fight.
Patricio “Pitbull” Freire wins the featherweight tournament for the second time with a TKO stoppage at 2:23 of the first round.
The next bout of the night was between Tom McKenna (7-3) and Marcos Galvao (14-6-1) in the bantamweight division. Galvao’s grappling ability light years ahead of McKenna and it showed in this fight.
Galvao landed an looping left hook and then immediately transitioned to a smooth double leg takedown. He gets the back of McKenna and gets his legs locked in. McKenna was squirming while attempting to get out and Galvao smoothly transitions into a full mount position. Galvao lands a few more shots from the top position and attempts to transition to an armbar but McKenna is able to get back to his feet. Galvao shoots in for another double leg takedown and easily takes McKenna down again. McKenna gets flattened out on his stomach and Galvao lands several unanswered punches on the helpless McKenna before the referee stops the match.
Marcos Galvao wins easily and impressively by technical knockout at 4:29 of the first round.
The co-main event of the night was between Vitaly Minakov (12-0) and Alexander Volkov (19-3) for the Bellator Heavyweight Championship.
Volkov was the defending champion and he had a three inch height and reach advantage, but Minakov was the heavier fighter. Minakov started off the first round by landing a clean knee to the head of the champion. Volkov attempted to stay on the outside but Minakov was able to close the distance and land two knees to the body and two elbows to the head of Volkov. Minakov clinched with Volkov by the cage and tried to do a suplex but wound up pulling the champion on top of him. Minakov was able to sweep Volkov and establish top position, but he was unable to do any damage on Volkov.
After a period of inactivity on the ground the referee stood the fighters up. Volkov threw a head kick that was easily blocked by Minakov and Minakov threw a perfect counter right uppercut that dropped the champion. Minakov follows up with some ground and pound that eventually forces the referee to stop the fight.
Vitaly Minakov becomes the new Bellator Heavyweight Champion with a technical knockout victory at 2:57 of the first round. Cheick Kongo will be Vitaly Minakov’s next opponent.
The main event was between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (32-11) and Joey Beltran (14-9) at a catch weight of 210 pounds.
Most of the fans in attendance were here to see Rampage fight and he came out to a solid pop from the Atlantic City crowd. Even though he no longer fights for the UFC it is obvious that Rampage is still a star in the MMA world.
Rampage came out the aggressor and landed some leg kicks to the thighs of Beltran. They clinched by the fence and Beltran landed a three punch combination. Rampage continued to stalk Beltran as Beltran tried to keep Rampage away by throwing a few lazy jabs. Beltran looked like he had no desire to trade with Rampage, and Rampage tried to slow Beltran down by throwing leg kicks, something Rampage hasn’t done in a very long time.
Beltran clinched with Jackson in an attempt to smother his punches. Jackson was able to land hard knees to the body of Beltran and solid left hooks. Near the end of the first round Rampage dropped Beltran with a left hook right hook combination upstairs, and then he followed it up with another right hand that forced the referee to stop the fight.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is victorious in his Bellator debut with a first round knockout at 4:59.
Undercard Quick Results:
Rob Sullivan (3-1) defeated Sergio da Silva (1-5) by decision with scores of 29-28, 30-27, and 30-27 in the bantamweight division.
Dan Matala (1-0) defeated Ryan Cafaro (0-1) by TKO at 3:52 of round two in the featherweight division.
Will Martinez (8-2-1) defeated Kevin Roddy (13-15-1) by rear naked choke at 3:50 of round one in the featherweight division.
Liam McGeary (6-0) defeated Najim Wali (3-3) by arm bar at 1:31 of round one in the light heavyweight division.
Anthony Morrison (18-10) defeated Kenny Foster (10-8) by majority decision in the lightweight division with scores of 28-28, 29-27, and 30-26.
Na’Shon Burrell (11-3) defeated Jesus Martinez (8-5) by unanimous decision in the middleweight division with scores of 29-28, 30-27, and 30-27.
Tom DeBlass (9-2) defeated Jason Lambert (26-13) by knockout at 1:45 of round one in the light heavyweight division.
Sam Oropeza (10-2) defeated Chip Moraza-Pollard (7-5) by knockout at 0:37 of the first round in the middleweight division.
Chip Moraza-Pollard (7-5) vs. Sam Oropeza (9-2) in the middleweight division