Bellator 220: Rory MacDonald and Jon Fitch fight to a majority draw

John Pollock's coverage of Bellator 220 from San Jose with Rory MacDonald defending the welterweight title against Jon Fitch and Ilima-Lei Macfarlane vs. Veta Arteaga for the flyweight title.

Bellator 220 went down on Saturday night from the SAP Center in San Jose, California and streamed on DAZN.

Mike Goldberg and John McCarthy were on the call for the broadcast.

QUICK RESULTS
*Gaston Bolanos def. Nathan Stolen by TKO at 2:21 of Round 1
*Phil Davis def. Liam McGeary by TKO at 4:11 of Round 3
*Benson Henderson def. Adam Piccolotti by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
*Ilima-Lei Macfarlane def. Veta Arteaga by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 1:50 of Round 3
*Rory MacDonald and Jon Fitch fought to a majority draw (48-46 Fitch, 47-47, 47-47)

GASTON BOLANOS (4-1, 145.5) VS NATHAN STOLEN (8-4, 145.6) – LIGHTWEIGHT

Bolanos is one of Bellator’s big prospects competing at featherweight with all his pro fights in Bellator.

They were trading immediately, Bolanos was putting together multiple-punch combinations as Stolen went for a takedown unsuccessfully. Stolen used double underhooks to take Bolanos down, he recovered back to his feet and rocked Stolen with a right and left combination to drop him. Bolanos followed with strikes and finished him.

WINNER: Gaston Bolanos by TKO at 2:21 of Round 1

Bolanos has won four straight and all his finishes have been stoppages with two trips to the second round in his professional career.

PHIL DAVIS (19-5, 205.6) VS LIAM McGEARY (13-3, 205.2) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT

This was a rematch from November 2016 when Davis defeated McGeary for the light heavyweight title.

Davis fought a kickboxing fight and looked tremendous. He attacked the lead left leg of McGeary throughout the fight with a hematoma forming by the second round. Davis varied his offensive weapons but always came back to the low kicks, including some knees from the Thai clinch. Davis went to the next level in the third round with elbow and a knee. McGeary walked into a short left from Davis and he was hurt. Davis took him down to mount, attacked and McGeary tapped before Davis could even apply a choke.

They speculated that McGeary may have broken his jaw from the left hand in the third round. Davis looked outstanding in the fight.

Davis wants another fight with Ryan Bader, who is the light heavyweight champion and is 0-2 against Bader. He didn’t mention Bader by name and Chael Sonnen called Davis out for not calling him out directly.

BENSON HENDERSON (26-8) VS ADAM PICCOLOTTI (11-2) – LIGHTWEIGHT

This was a great fight and was a razor-close decision for Henderson.

In the first, Piccolotti took his back and was threatening with a choke but it wasn’t deep. Piccolotti had a body triangle locked in and landed with right hands from behind. He switched to an arm triangle and Henderson escaped, ending the round with some big kicks. In the second, it was Henderson’s round landing with knees and got his own takedown. Henderson went for a guillotine and later got Piccolotti’s back, so it was even after two rounds.

The third round was super close. Henderson was on his back and tried for a guillotine that Piccolotti defended. Henderson shook him off his back and landed with an elbow. Henderson got blocked and Piccolotti had top position by the fence and took Henderson’s back, tried for a choke and lost it. Henderson was in the body triangle and spun into his guard and finished the round on top. It was so close, I narrowly had it for Piccolotti.

WINNER: Benson Henderson by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Henderson has won three in a row after starting out his Bellator career 1-3.

ILIMA-LEI MACFARLANE (9-0) VS VETA ARTEAGA (5-2) – BELLATOR FLYWEIGHT TITLE

The fight was turning into a competitive one when Macfarlane landed a brutal left elbow and sliced open Arteaga’s forehead in the third round. It was a very deep cut.

The first round was Macfarlane’s where she got the takedown and had her back with the hooks in, although Arteaga escaped. In the second, Macfarlane took her down again and took an elbow strike to the nose. They go to their feet and Macfarlane landed with a right hand and seemed to have the edge in strikes. The elbow came in the third round after Macfarlane got a body lock takedown.

Macfarlane said she is going to run it back with Arteaga and that will be her next fight. She didn’t want to win the fight by doctor’s stoppage.

In a way, the outcome leads to a story for the rematch and Arteaga displayed her competitiveness before the stoppage.

RORY MacDONALD (20-5) VS JON FITCH (32-7-1) – WELTERWEIGHT TITLE, WW GRAND PRIX

The fight ended up being a lot closer than most assumed it would be going in.

I scored the fight 48-47 for MacDonald with Rounds 1, 2 and 4 for MacDonald while Round 2 and 5 were for Fitch.

In the first two rounds, MacDonald landed with his right hand and was throwing head kicks that more than made up for the takedowns Fitch completed with little follow up once he got MacDonald.

In the third round, Fitch shot in and ate a kick but got MacDonald and grinded from half-guard for the duration of Round 3. He also cut open MacDonald with an elbow and it was his round.

The fourth round was interesting because MacDonald landed some of his best strikes of the fight early in the round. Fitch appeared to be hurt, took some elbows to the side of the head but grabbed hold of MacDonald’s leg and took him down. Fitch rode him out for the rest of the round but did little. I could see a judge scoring this for Fitch for top control, but it should not have negated the strikes MacDonald landed and I scored this round for MacDonald.

Round 5 was Fitch’s as he got on top, shut down a triangle attempt and grinded for the entirety from half-guard.

The judges scored it 48-46 for Fitch and the other two had it a 47-47 draw.

WINNER: Majority Draw (48-46 Fitch, 47-47, 47-47)

The result means that MacDonald retains his title and advances to face Neiman Gracie in the semi-finals on June 14th at Madison Square Garden.

The bigger talking point was MacDonald’s post-fight speech where he said he is having a harder time pulling the trigger and admitted it wasn’t his best performance. He discussed his deeper relationship with God and questioned if he still has the same drive to hurt people.

Granted, this was minutes after a big fight, but MacDonald did not sound like a fighter that should be coming back in seven weeks and immediately jumping into another camp.

About John Pollock 1269 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.