Bellator 228 took place on Saturday night from The Forum in Inglewood, California with the final four opening round fights of the Featherweight Grand Prix led by champion Patricio Freire defending his championship.
Freire earned a decision victory over Juan Archuleta with the two going five-rounds. The featherweight championship is at stake in all the tournament fights in the same format as the welterweight title was defended in its Grand Prix that Bellator promoted.
A.J. McKee, Darrion Caldwell, and Daniel Weichel also advanced on Saturday night to the “round of eight”, which set up the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix “Selection Show” at the end of the night.
The concept, adopted from K-1, saw the fighters draw numbers and then selected in order when they wanted to fight with options in December, January, February, and March. As the selections continued, the fighters would have to choose who they would fight, and it was hosted by Mauro Ranallo. The concept was excellent, and the execution was tremendous adding a story to each fight and watching the fighters decide in real-time. The final selection was by champion Freire, who was given the “champ’s choice” to either occupy the final vacant slot on the board, which was a January 2020 fight with Adam Borics, or he could bump anyone else off the board and essentially pick who he wants to fight among the seven. Freire opted to fight Pedro Carvalho in March, therefore moving Carvalho’s initial opponent, Darrion Caldwell, to fight Borics in January.
I loved the selection process and Ranallo did a great job as the host with Jenn Brown interviewing the fighters as they chose.
The quarter-final fights of the Grand Prix will be A.J. McKee vs. Derek Campos in December, Adam Borics vs. Darrion Caldwell in January, Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Daniel Weichel in February, and Patricio Freire defending the title against Pedro Carvalho in March.
Here are the main card results from Bellator 228 on Saturday night:
*Daniel Weichel def. Saul Rogers by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) in the Featherweight Grand Prix
*Darrion Caldwell def. Henry Corrales by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) in the Featherweight Grand Prix
*A.J. McKee def. Georgi Karakhanyan by knockout in 0:08 of Round 1 in the Featherweight Grand Prix
*Patricio Freire def. Juan Archuleta by unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 49-46) to retain the featherweight title in the Featherweight Grand Prix
*Gegard Mousasi def. Lyoto Machida by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
On Friday night, Bellator ran the Bellator 227/Bellator Dublin event from the 3Arena in Ireland and below are the results from both:
*Peter Queally def. Ryan Scope by TKO at 3:07 of Round 2
*Michael “Venom” Page def. Richard Kiely by knockout at 2:42 of Round 1
*Danni Neilan def. Camila Rivarola by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*James Gallagher def. Roman Salazar def. guillotine choke at 0:35 of Round 1
*Frans Mlambo def. Dominique Wooding by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-28)
*Leah McCourt def. Kerry Hughes by rear-naked choke at 2:14 of Round 1
*Norbert Novenyi def. Will Fleury by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
*Kiefer Crosbie def. Hugo Pereira by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*Benson Henderson def. Myles Jury by unanimous decision (30-27 all)