Douglas Lima spent the better part of 15 minutes reminding Paul Daley of an inconvenient truth: There are no scripts in MMA.
Lima (27-6) improved to 9-2 under the Bellator MMA banner and spoiled the former Cage Rage champion’s homecoming, as he claimed a unanimous decision over Daley in the Bellator 158 headliner on Saturday at the O2 Arena in London. All three cageside judges sided with the Brazilian welterweight, awarding him 30-27 scores across the board.
Daley (38-14-2), in his first appearance on British soil in almost two years, had few answers for the Atlanta-based American Top Team representative. Lima floored “Semtex” with a counter left hand in the first round, staggered him with other shots, integrated leg kicks to keep him off-balance and secured takedowns in the second and third rounds. The onetime Bellator champion has won six of his past seven fights, a five-round decision loss to reigning 170-pound titleholder Andrey Koreshkov the lone setback.
In the heavyweight co-main event, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 10 graduate Matt Mitrione disposed of Oli Thompson with second-round punches. Mitrione (11-5) drew the curtain on the British strongman 4:21 into round two, registering his second Bellator win in less than a month.
A barnburner broke out during the first five minutes. Mitrione staggered his fellow Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran on multiple occasions, only to see Thompson respond in kind. The gas tank proved to be the difference. Thompson (17-9), perhaps sensing he was fading, resorted to taunting in the second round. His efforts were unsuccessful. Mitrione chopped away with punches and kicks, pushed Thompson to the cage and unloaded with punches until the Englishman collapsed.
Meanwhile, blossoming London Shootfighters star Michael Page knocked out Evangelista Santos with a spectacular flying knee in the second round of their welterweight showcase. The undefeated Page (11-0) brought it to a close 4:31 into round two, whipping the crowd into a passionate frenzy.
After a fast start, the two men engaged one another at close range and on the ground -- Santos pressed the clinch in a bid for takedowns -- to close the first round, giving no inclination of what was to come. In the middle stanza, Page doubled over “Cyborg” with a body kick, gave chase and cut down the Brazilian with an exquisitely placed knee strike upstairs. No follow-up shots were necessary on the fallen Santos (21-18), who hit the canvas in agony, his face buried in his hands.
Page has won all seven of his fights in Bellator, six of them finishes.
Elsewhere, Tristar Gym export Francis Carmont submitted Lukasz Klinger with a first-round brabo choke in their featured showdown at 185 pounds. Klinger (7-3) conceded defeat 3:54 into round one.
Carmont (25-11) executed a takedown, secured top position and methodically looked for openings to advance on the organizational newcomer. The 34-year-old Frenchman passed to side control, snaked his arms around Klinger’s neck and latched the choke for the tapout. Carmont has rattled off three wins in four outings since parting ways with the UFC following back-to-back-to-back defeats to Ronaldo Souza, C.B. Dollaway and Thales Leites in 2014.
Finally, hyped SBG Ireland prospect James Gallagher kept his record spotless with a unanimous decision over British Association of Mixed Martial Arts alum Mike Cutting in a three-round featherweight attraction. All three cageside judges struck 30-27 scorecards in Gallagher’s favor.
Cutting (6-6) did not offer much resistance and even received a warning from referee John McCarthy for passivity in the second round. Gallagher (4-0) went about his business as best he could in his promotional debut, as he was forced at times to deal with an unwilling dance partner. The 19-year-old Irishman advanced to Cutting’s back in the first round and remained the aggressor over the final 10 minutes.
The 25-year-old Cutting has lost five of his last eight bouts.
In other action, the unbeaten Pietro Menga (13-0) dazzled in his organizational debut, as he knocked out Spencer Hewitt (12-11) a mere 41 seconds into the first round of their pairing at 125 pounds; Danny Mitchell (18-7-1) submitted C.J. Meeks (5-2) with a twister 4:25 into round one of their middleweight clash; James Mulheron (9-1) took a unanimous decision over Neil Grove (12-8-1) in their three-round heavyweight tilt, prompting 29-28, 30-27 and 30-26 scores from the judges; Manuel Garcia (28-19) captured a unanimous verdict from Alex Reid (10-10-1) in their 15-minute skirmish at 185 pounds, earning 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 marks on the scorecards; Nathaniel Wood (9-3) tapped Chase Morton (6-3) with a rear-naked choke 3:55 into the third round of their meeting at 145 pounds; Jason Radcliffe (9-2) wiped out Jack Mason (29-16-1) with a knee strike 14 seconds into round one of their middleweight affair; Luiz Tosta (9-2-1) fought to a majority draw -- 29-27, 28-28, 28-28 -- with Dean Garnett (7-0-1) in their three-round battle at 135 pounds; and Mike Shipman (9-1) submitted Dom Clark (7-10) with an anaconda choke in the first round of their middleweight confrontation.