Marlon Sandro choked his way back into the win column at Bellator 58. | Photo: William Musacchia
Emotional and frustrated following his August knockout loss to Pat Curran, Brazilian featherweight standout Marlon Sandro channeled his aggression for the better, as he earned a first-round submission over fellow countryman Rafael Dias Saturday night on the undercard of Bellator 58 in Hollywood, Fla.
In his first action since losing the Bellator Summer Series tournament final to Curran, Sandro took a moment to get started. After poking Dias in the eye inadvertently, Sandro suffered a flash knockdown off of a Dias right. However, the Nova Uniao fighter quickly reversed to top position and got to work. As soon as Dias attempted to get back to his feet, Sandro cinched up a standing arm-triangle which he actually tightened from the feet, calling to mind his 2009 win over Matt Jaggers.
Stuck in the choke standing, Dias was helpless and frozen. Sandro simply slung him to the mat and took the side position to finish the choke, earning the tap at 3:56 of the first round.
Sandro, 34, now stands at 20-3 in his MMA campaign with 11 stoppages, while Dias falls to 15-9-2.
In the undercard's most action-packed bout, Brett Cooper outlasted Jared Hess in a brutal middleweight battle of Bellator tournament veterans, earning three 29-28 scorecards and a unanimous verdict.
Cooper was nearly polished off in round one as he was dropped by two right crosses from the Central Oklahoma alum, and then had his back taken. Saved by the bell after the first frame, Cooper came to life in the second round, battering Hess with heavy uppercuts which ultimately turned the tide of the fight.
By the third round, it was all Cooper, as he continued his uppercut assault while threatening Hess with both a kimura and a brabo choke from top position. With the win, Cooper moves to 16-7, while Hess falls to 11-4-1, having dropped three of his last four bouts.
Popular local Jessica Aguilar avenged the first loss of her pro career by taking a one-sided unanimous decision over Lisa Ellis-Ward with a clean sweep on the scorecards.
In Aguilar's first pro bout back in February 2006, Ellis-Ward choked her out in the second frame. However, nearly six years later, Aguilar's striking had matured enough to dictate proceedings, as her lead left hook and overhand right continuously cracked the Olympia, Wash., fighter. When Ellis-Ward got more aggressive late in the fight, Aguilar's left jab appeared to ensure she continued to control the standup. Judges Chris Lee, Barry Luxenberg and Eliseo Rodriguez had an easy night, all concluding 30-27 for Aguilar.
The 29-year-old Aguilar, now 12-4, has won seven of her last eight bouts, her lone loss coming in a contentious split decision to former Bellator 115-pound champion Zoila Gurgel in September 2010. A loser of two straight, Ellis-Ward slides to 14-7 in her campaign.
After starting his career 9-0, German middleweight prospect Jonas Billstein tasted defeat for the second straight time, losing his stateside debut via disqualification to former NFL running back Herbert Goodman.
Billstein was in control of the bout, working effectively with his left hook and defensive wrestling. In round two the 20-year-old Cologne native dropped the former Green Bay Packer to his knees. Unfortunately, he followed up with a flagrant soccer kick while Goodman was floored. Goodman never recovered, and after receiving oxygen on the canvas, was taken from the cage on a stretcher as a precautionary measure.
With Goodman unable to continue, referee Frank Gentile disqualified Billstein at 3:21 of the second round.
Brazilian bantamweight transplant Fabio Mello won his fifth straight bout, dominating tough Kyrgyz-born wrestler Farkhad Sharipov to three 30-27 scorecards and a unanimous decision win.
The 36-year-old Mello was dominant from the outset, dominating the standup with his boxing and low kicks and threatening with submissions on top. Mello's best offense came in the third round, where he dropped Sharipov with a low kick and opened up with heavy punches on top, but Sharipov held on and still has yet to be finished in 18 career bouts.
After a letdown in his anticipated MMA debut in October, Brazilian muay Thai star Cosmo Alexandre got his first career cage win in style, blowing out Avery McPhatter just 20 seconds into their lightweight contest.
The 22-year-old McPhatter almost immediately walked into a right hand that put him on the deck and in danger. Though the Tampa native got to his feet, the Brazilian smashed him with two knees that collapsed him, forcing referee Troy Waugh into quick action.
In a 170-pound battle of Floridian-based Brazilians, Valdir Araujo used superior wrestling to snap Ailton Barbosa's six-fight winning streak en route to a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
The MMA Masters product started slow, conceding the first round to Barbosa, but his takedowns took the final two frames for him, as Barbosa was forced to play guard, or from the turtle position, for most of the final 10 minutes.