Welcome to our coverage of Bellator 216, the promotion’s second straight night at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The card is streaming on DAZN and airing live on Sky Sports in the U.K. and Ireland.
The card is headlined by the long-awaited grudge bout between Paul Daley and Michael “Venom” Page and a rematch between Mirko Cro Cop and Roy Nelson.
The Daley vs. MVP fight is also part of the opening round of Bellator’s Welterweight Grand Prix with the winner set to fight Douglas Lima later this year.
Mauro Ranallo and John McCarthy are calling the show.
*Valerie Loureda def. Colby Fletcher by TKO at 2:55 of Round 1
*Yaroslav Amosov def. Erick Silva by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
*Cheick Kongo def. Vitaly Minakov by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*Mirko Cro Cop def. Roy Nelson by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*Michael Page def. Paul Daley by unanimous decision (48-47 all)
Valerie Loureda (0-0) vs. Colby Fletcher (1-2) – Flyweight
Loureda is 20-years old and trains at American Top Team with a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. She has had three amateur bouts with this fight being her professional debut. Fletcher is 1-2 but hasn’t fought since 2015. Fletcher will have an 8.5-inch reach advantage.
Loureda was throwing a lot of striking techniques from her arsenal. Loureda used a punching combination to set up a body kick to drop Fletcher and finished her with numerous hammer fists.
WINNER: Valerie Loureda by TKO at 2:55 of Round 1
Loureda was overcome with emotion after the win and speaking to John McCarthy after the fight. She thanked Scott Coker for being an ambassador to Tae Kwon Do and having this platform.
It’s way too early to cast expectations on her shoulders but at 20-years old, Loureda certainly has star quality and could become a big female star. This was set up as a showcase for her against a fighter with minimal experience and had not fought in close to four years, but Loureda is at a strong gym and has a strong martial arts background as her foundation.
Yaroslav Amosov (20-0) vs. Erick Silva (20-9, 1 No Contest) – Welterweight
This is Silva’s Bellator debut, who left the UFC after consecutive losses to Yancy Medeiros and Jordan Mein in 2017. He picked up a victory in LFA last July and was signed by Bellator.
Amosov is a Ukrainian fighter with an unblemished record of 20-0 with seventeen stoppage wins. He made his Bellator debut last July, defeating Gerald Harris by decision.
Silva cut Amosov over the right eye. He was not fighting at his usual frantic pace and it was paying off early. Amosov landed with an overhand right that Silva registered while absorbing. It was closer in the second half, but Silva likely won the round.
Amosov got Silva down in the second round and took his back. Amosov lifted Silva for a slam and placed pressure from half-guard. This was Amosov’s round and 19-19 going into Round 3.
Amosov used a right hand to set up the takedown. Silva was up and they returned to the center. Amosov got another takedown and placed Silva by the cage. Both seemed tired but Amosov was dictating the round through his control and repeatedly taking Silva down when he got to his feet and dominated the round. 29-27 for Amosov with a 10-8 on my card for the final round.
WINNER: Yaroslav Amosov by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
It wasn’t a pretty fight but Amosov had the superior wrestling and dominated the final two rounds with it. Silva had little left after the first round and did not possess the speed and power he did in past fights.
Vitaly Minakov (21-0) vs. Cheick Kongo (29-10-2) – Heavyweight
These two fought at Bellator 115 in April 2014 with Minakov winning by unanimous decision.
Minakov is the former Bellator heavyweight champion, who was stripped of the title when he didn’t continue fighting for the group. This is his return to the promotion after five years away. He is undefeated but has not fought since December 2017.
Kongo has been on a run winning his last seven fights in Bellator but wasn’t included in the Heavyweight Grand Prix.
In the first round, Minakov landed with a clean right hand. They clinched and Kongo landed a knee low. The fight resumed with Minakov edging the round through his striking at distance and pushing the fight toward Kongo, but it wasn’t a busy round for either man.
Minakov was moving forward in the second round but nothing was happening. Ranallo and McCarthy were being critical of Kongo’s game plan. Minakov landed a right hand then Kongo awoke and fired back. Kongo landed some strong strikes in the final minute and it was the most effective strikes of the round. 19-19.
Kongo started the third round with leg kicks. Minakov took Kongo down and was in half-guard. Minakov attempted a choke and then resorted to strikes to the head and body. Kongo got to his feet and landed several knees from the Thai clinch and a right uppercut. The third round is a tough one to score because of the final burst from Kongo, but I felt it was still Minakov’s round and had him winning 29-28.
WINNER: Cheick Kongo by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
This was not a great fight.
I can easily see Kongo winning this fight 29-28, but the 30-27 score is a stretch. Kongo is scheduled to fight Ryan Bader for the heavyweight title with this win.
Mirko Cro Cop (37-11-2, 1 No Contest) vs. Roy Nelson (26-16) – Heavyweight
This is a rematch from UFC 137 in October 2011, which Nelson won by unanimous decision. Nelson is coming off losses to Matt Mitrione and Sergei Kharitonov last year. Cro Cop’s last six fights have been with Rizin.
Nelson moved Cro Cop back at the start of the fight. They clinched on the fence, Cro Cop connected with a pair of uppercuts. Cro Cop connected with a body kick and defended Nelson’s takedown attempt. Cro Cop landed the more significant strikes to win the first round.
Cro Cop drove a knee into the body as they clinched against the cage and followed with an elbow strike. Nelson was eating the strikes and still came forward. Nelson landed a right and hit two knees from the Thai clinch. Nelson ended the round with a body shot as Cro Cop threw a head kick. This was a solid round from both and was close. Cro Cop is likely up 20-18.
Cro Cop continued to stop the takedown attempts in the third round. Nelson finally gets the takedown with one minute left. Nelson probably edged out the final round with Cro Cop winning 29-28.
WINNER: Mirko Cro Cop by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
This was much better than the Kongo vs. Minakov fight, even though both are far from the fighters they once were.
The winner of the main event will be fighting Douglas Lima on May 11th at the Allstate Arena in Chicago. The same card will feature Michael Chandler defending the lightweight title against Patricio “Pitbull” Freire and Jake Hager’s second fight.
Paul Daley (40-16-2) vs. Michael Page (13-0) – Welterweight World Grand Prix Tournament
Page will have a three-inch reach advantage.
Daley’s game plan was evident at the start by circling by the cage and trying to force Page to come to him. This resulted in minimal action beyond sidekicks by Page. Daley did nothing in the round. 10-9 Page.
In the second, Page landed a kick to the face for the more notable strike of the fight, so far. Daley shot in and was working for a takedown, eventually getting Page to the mat. Daley rocked him as they stood at the end of the round. 19-19.
Page and Daley stood to start the third round, Page landed a pair of right hands that were well-timed. Daley got the takedown and was in Page’s guard. Daley blasted him with strikes when he exited the guard. I have Daley up 29-28.
Page was landing strikes at the beginning of the fourth round and once again Daley took him down. Page escaped and landed with a kick and flying knee. Daley was stunned and ate a second knee. Page got his first takedown of the fight and controlled for the remainder. I have it even after four rounds 38-38.
Daley takes Page down at the start of the final round. Page was able to stand up after absorbing strikes. Page transitioned and took Daley’s back but only has one hook applied. Page started landing elbows to the head from the back. This was enough for Page to win the round, and therefore the fight.
WINNER: Michael Page by unanimous decision (48-47 all)
This was not the fight everyone expected but was a smart game plan for Daley. Page is going to have trouble with higher level wrestlers and that appeared to be the big takeaway for his future opponents. Page will fight Douglas Lima on May 11th.
Page said that Daley didn’t come here to fight. He said it will be an honor to share the cage with someone he respects like Douglas Lima.
Lima came into the cage, he said the fight wasn’t what everyone expected but said he respects Page.
Page mentioned his father recently passed away and wasn’t sure he would make it to this fight because he wasn’t mentally prepared.