Liam McGeary refused to become a footnote in the career of Tito Ortiz.
McGeary (11-0, 8-0 Bellator) submitted the Ultimate Fighting Championship hall of famer with an inverted triangle choke to retain the Bellator MMA light heavyweight title in the Bellator 142 “Dynamite” main event on Saturday at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. Ortiz (18-12-1, 2-1 Bellator) tapped 4:41 into round one, losing via submission for the first time in almost 16 years.
Ortiz landed a takedown, avoided a guillotine and set up shop in his wheelhouse, unleashing elbows and punches from inside the Englishman’s guard. McGeary remained calm, even as “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” passed to side control, and threw up an armbar in response. Ortiz slammed his way out of the technique, only to wander into the inverted triangle, as the undefeated McGeary snaked his long legs around his neck and coaxed the tapout.
‘Mr. Wonderful’ KOs Alternate Carmont
Alliance MMA’s Phil Davis knocked out Francis Carmont with a lunging left hook and follow-up punches in the “Dynamite” light heavyweight tournament final. Carmont (24-11, 2-1 Bellator), a last-minute replacement for the injured Muhammed Lawal, succumbed to blows 2:15 into round one.
The two finalists circled one another pawing with punches and kicks, until Davis connected. Carmont folded at the base of the cage and did not recover in time to successfully defend himself. Davis (15-3, 2-0 UFC) pounced and knocked the Frenchman unconscious with a series of kneeling right hands, staking his claim as Bellator’s No. 1 contender at 205 pounds.
The 30-year-old Davis has won six of his last eight fights.
Cavalari Downs Mwekassa for Glory Gold
Saul Cavalari captured the vacant Glory light heavyweight championship with a majority decision over Zack Mwekassa in a five-round battle at 209 pounds. Scores were 48-46, 48-46 and 47-47.
Mwekassa fought almost exclusively with his hands, ripping shots to the Brazilian’s head and body. Cavalari was deducted a point for excessive holding in the second round but nevertheless started to turn the tide in his favor. There, he knocked Mwekassa off-balance with a partially blocked right high kick and later scored with a front kick to the face.
Cavalari maintained his preferred pace throughout the 15-minute bout, mixing kicks to the legs, body and occasionally the head with stinging combinations -- he sent Mwekassa’s mouthpiece flying with a multi-punch burst in the fifth round. Mwekassa landed his share of punches, but output became a problem in the championship rounds and cost him on the scorecards.
Thomson Choke Taps Bronzoulis
Former Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson shined in his first appearance under the Bellator banner, as he submitted Mike Bronzoulis with a third-round arm-triangle choke in a lightweight showcase. Bronzoulis (18-9-1, 0-2 Bellator) tapped 39 seconds into round three, the hammer falling on his three-fight winning streak.
Thomson (21-8, 1-0 Bellator) went about his business with a purpose. The longtime American Kickboxing Academy standout executed multiple takedowns and advanced to full mount in each of the first two rounds, slowly chipping away at Bronzoulis’ resolve. Thomson closed the distance at the start of round three, delivered another takedown and snagged the choke before the two-division Legacy Fighting Championship titleholder could react.
The victory snapped a three-fight losing streak for Thomson, who turns 37 on Sept. 21.
Kicks Buoy ‘Semtex’ Daley
Wicked kicks to the arms, body and legs spurred Paul Daley to a unanimous decision over Fernando Gonzalez in a Glory kickboxing tilt at 175 pounds. Daley swept the scorecards with 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 nods from the judges.
Daley fired off sporadic combinations and snuck in the occasional jab, but his kicks made the difference. The 32-year-old Brit kept his fabled left hook holstered for much of the nine-minute encounter and instead battered Gonzalez with his feet and shins. Gonzalez enjoyed some success against the ropes and troubled Daly with clubbing punches in close quarters in the third round, but he could not author the finish he needed.
Taylor-Melendez Dominates Griffith
Keri Anne Taylor-Melendez, wife of former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez, ran circles around Hadley Griffith in the first women’s kickboxing match in Glory history. All three ringside judges scored it for Melendez: 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26.
Griffith was a non-factor and did little to use her five-inch height advantage. Taylor-Melendez tore into her with beautiful multi-punch combinations, kicks and occasional knee strikes. Griffith was bleeding from the nose and mouth by the start of round two, and her situation did not improve. Taylor-Melendez tore into her lead leg with repeated kicks in the second and third rounds, compromising her base and limiting her mobility. The only thing Taylor-Melendez’s performance lacked was a stoppage.
Davis Kimura Submits Newton
Davis dazzled in his organizational debut, as he submitted former Bellator champion Emanuel Newton with a first-round kimura in the “Dynamite” light heavyweight tournament semifinals. Newton (25-9-1, 8-3 Bellator) conceded defeat 4:39 into round one, as he was submitted for the first time since Aug. 15, 2009.
In his first appearance since parting ways with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Davis established range with his kicks and then went to work with his takedowns. The four-time NCAA All-American wrestler grounded Newton at will, distracted him with punches and framed the kimura. “The Hardcore Kid” tried to free himself by rolling out of danger, but Davis was dogged with the technique and finished it at the base of the cage.
Newton, 31, has lost back-to-back bouts.
‘King Mo’ Eliminates Vassell
Clean power punching and a pair of late takedowns carried Lawal to a unanimous decision over Cage Warriors Fighting Championships veteran Linton Vassell in the “Dynamite” light heavyweight tournament semifinals. No scores were announced.
Vassell (15-5, 4-2 Bellator) found himself in survival mode for much of the opening round, where “King Mo” staggered him badly with a sweeping right hook inside the first minute. Lawal (16-4, 8-3 Bellator) swarmed but could not finish. His pace slowed in the second round, as Vassell attacked his body with kicks, mixed in a surprising takedown and briefly climbed to mount. However, Lawal stymied his momentum with a punishing combination upstairs and answered with two takedowns of his own.
Bellator Prelims: Tristar’s Carmont Outduels Ruiz
In preliminary Bellator action, Tristar Gym’s Carmont pocketed a unanimous decision -- scores were not announced -- over journeyman Anthony Ruiz (33-21, 0-2 Bellator) in a light heavyweight tournament alternate bout; American Kickboxing Academy rep Gabriel Carrasco (6-0, 1-0 Bellator) took a unanimous verdict from Joe Neal (5-1, 1-1 Bellator) in their three-round scrap at 135 pounds, sweeping the scorecards 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28; Adam Piccolotti (6-0, 2-0 Bellator) submitted Tachi Palace Fights alum Salvador Becerra (4-1, 0-1 Bellator) with a rear-naked choke 1:47 into the second round of their lightweight confrontation; and Strikeforce veteran Ousmane Thomas Diagne (5-4-1, 0-0-1 Bellator) fought to a majority draw -- 28-28, 28-28, 29-28 -- with Mike Malott (4-1-1, 0-0-1 Bellator) in their three-round battle at 145 pounds.
Glory Prelims: Adamchuck Cruises Past Boynazarov
In other Glory action, Serhiy Adamchuck cruised by Anvar Boynazarov via unanimous decision in a three-round clash at 145 pounds, earning 30-27 marks from all three judges; and Jose Palacios took a split verdict -- 30-27, 29-28, 28-29 -- from T.J. Arcangel in a three-round matchup at 145 pounds