Bellator 237 ‘Fedor vs. Rampage’ Play-by-Play, Results & Round Scoring

By Jay Pettry Dec 28, 2019
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Goiti Yamauchi vs. Daron Cruickshank

Round 1

We kick off the evening of Bellator Japan with the first of several matchups spanning this event and Rizin 20 pitting a Bellator fighter against their Rizin counterpart. Up first, we see Bellator representative Yamauchi (24-4, 10-3 BMMA) take on former UFC vet and current Rizin standout Cruickshank (22-12, 1 NC; 6-4 Rizin). Yamauchi missed weight by 1.8 pounds so this will be a 158-pound catchweight contest, and the referee is Bryan Miner. The two men touch gloves, and Cruickshank backs away from a head kick that comes his direction. Cruickshank throws a low kick, and then rushes in with a straight left. The American crashes in with punches, and Yamauchi darts away out of danger. Yamauchi flips up a high kick that Cruickshank rolls with, and then absorbs a low kick before firing back a looping right. As Cruickshank spins for an elbow, Yamauchi latches on to him and grabs him by the waist to push him against the fence. The Japanese fighter sets one hook in an effort to take Cruickshank's back, and then hops on like a backpack. Just then, Yamauchi kicks off the fence to bring them to the center of the cage, and the fight hits the ground as Yamauchi looks to set up a rear-naked choke. Cruickshank attempts to fight the hands, but his opponent calmly sinks his arm around his neck, and Cruickshank is in a bad way. Although he tries to tap out with the back of his hand, "The Detroit Superstar" goes out before Miner can call the fight, and we start our night off with a big win for Bellator. The crowd is silent, almost uncomfortably so, and Yamauchi has picked up his 20th career submission win in his 25th victory.

The Official Result

Goiti Yamauchi def. Daron Cruickshank R1 3:11 via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)

Ilara Joanne vs. Kana Watanabe

Round 1

Moving on to the women's flyweight division, newly minted Bellator fighter "Arya Stark" Joanne (9-4, 1-0 BMMA) will look to cross Watanabe (8-0-1, 3-0 Rizin) off of her "list of names." Referee Kevin MacDonald will marshal the action in the cage. There is no touch of gloves, and instead Joanne starts by pawing a jabs out there and whipping a heavy low kick. The Brazilian crashes forward to land punches and a knee up the middle, and Watanabe shrugs them off. The two throw long punches at one another and both come up short, and as Watanabe throws a front kick, Joanne catches it with two looping hooks. "Arya Stark" cracks Watanabe with a right hand, and the Japanese fighter appears to be dazed. She lands two more, and Watanabe wisely looks to take the fight to the canvas. Joanne immediately rolls for a kneebar, but Watanabe pulls out of it and into triangle choke danger. Joanne locks her legs up around Watanabe's neck and Watanabe stands up to try to walk around it, but Joanne has her trapped. Instead of pulling Watanabe tight, Joanne elects to throw a few hard elbows off her back. Watanabe seizes this opportunity to break herself free, and ends up in a north-south position with Joanne's feet propped up against the fence. Watanabe steps over to side control, and throws an elbow as she flirts with a double wrist lock. Joanne pulls her arm free, but in the process, Watanabe is dropping down a multitude of light but frustrating punches. To defend herself, Watanabe attempts to snatch hold of a kimura, but her Japanese opponent wriggles her arm free as she looks to step over to mount. Getting to half guard, Watanabe seeks out an arm-triangle choke, hopping into mount as the bell sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Joanne
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Watanabe
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Watanabe

Round 2

The two women start off furiously, with Watanabe pulling into a clinch to fire some knees up the middle. As she tries to trip her Brazilian opponent, Joanne spins about and pushes Watanabe against the cage wall before slamming a quick knee into her midsection. Watanabe hits the trip, but in the scramble, Joanne rolls and ends on top, where she immediately smashes down with an elbow. Watanabe returns to a butterfly guard as she tries to walk up the cage, and Joanne is attempting to keep her grounded as she stays with her arms wrapped around Watanabe's legs. Joanne is simply holding on tight, while Watanabe spams several short, pitter-patter punches to appear to be the busier fighter. Joanne continues to press her head into Watanabe's midsection, and Watanabe is trying but ultimately unable to stand back up from the fence. The Japanese fighter starts to stand back up and lifts Joanne up to spin her around. Watanabe chains together a series of right hands, and as Joanne flails, Watanabe switches to left elbows and punches to end the round emphatically.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Watanabe
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Watanabe
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Joanne

Round 3

The third round begins with the two women immediately closing the distance and clinching up. They both try to land a trip, and it is Watanabe who scores one and gets Joanne down, where the Japanese fighter ends up on top in full guard. Joanne is active from her back, throwing elbows and utilizing a high guard to set up either a triangle choke or an armbar. As Joanne sets up an armbar, she starts to throw punches to force Watanabe to make a mistake, but Watanabe stays composed, gets her arm free and fires down a few punches for good measure. Keeping Watanabe in her high guard, Joanne slices with a few elbows, but gives up position and Watanabe steps into half guard and rains down some long punches. Watanabe advances to three-quarter guard, and aims for an arm-triangle choke before Joanne pulls her back. Along the way, Watanabe drops down sporadic punches and elbows, and Joanne turns away to take a few more before getting Watanabe back to half guard. Watanabe winds up with some wide punches, but none appear too impactful, although Joanne gives up her back when trying to spin out. With 30 seconds remaining, Watanabe unloads a barrage of punches, and forces Joanne to turtle up. As she throws punch after punch, MacDonald takes a close eye at the action, and as they continue to mount, he has seen enough and stops the fight. Watanabe evens the score for Bellator and Rizin to one each, and remains unbeaten as a professional by picking up her fifth finish in her last six appearances.

The Official Result

Kana Watanabe def. Ilara Joanne R3 4:39 via TKO (Punches)

Lorenz Larkin vs. Keita Nakamura

Round 1

The final Bellator vs. Rizin bout of the night is on tap, in another catchweight as former welterweight Bellator title challenger Larkin (21-7, 1 NC; 3-2 BMMA) locks horns with one-fight Rizin vet Nakamura (35-10-2, 1 NC; 1-0 Rizin). Referee Jason Herzog is on top of this 174-pound affair, as Larkin missed weight. These two touch gloves, and Nakamura immediately comes out with a left hand. Larkin ducks away and circles away on the outside before leaping in with a long punch. They come together and both swing, and on the break, Nakamura fires up a head kick that Larkin blocks. Nakamura whiffs with a looping hook, and Larkin greets him with a low left kick and two sharp body kicks with his right leg. Larkin nearly kicks the leg from beneath his Japanese opponent, and then lands a stiff jab that sends Nakamura reeling. A stomping kick to the knee from Larkin is followed by a quick head kick, and Nakamura fires back at him with a right hand. Larkin nearly sneaks up a head kick, and catches Nakamura with a stiff uppercut and a right as they separate. Larkin wings a right that Nakamura ducks, and dodges and slips while Nakamura charges forward. Larkin loads up on another head kick, and "K-Taro" is able to block it and fire a low kick his direction. The two both swing and miss several times, but Larkin lands flush with a right down the pipe. Another heavy kick to the knee lands from Larkin, who dances out of the way and defends a head kick that comes back at him. Nakamura launches a head kick that is shy of the mark, but Larkin does not make him pay for the attempt, although the American does avoid a sweeping low kick. The body kick from Larkin scores once more, and Larkin digs with a right to the body as well. Nakamura throws a few body kicks his direction, and Larkin counters with a right hook and an uppercut. As Larkin chases after him, the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Larkin
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Larkin
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Larkin

Round 2

A tentative start to the round finally opens up after some 30 seconds of circling with a couple stomp kicks from Larkin. As Nakamura attempts to counter, Larkin tags him with a right hand. Larkin fires a side kick that lands right on the jaw of Nakamura, who walks it off without any ill effect. Three punches from Nakamura land square, and bounce Larkin against the fence, but Larkin fires back hard and forces Nakamura to retreat. The stomp kicks continue to accumulate for Larkin, who then throws a high kick and then a thudding one to the body that makes Nakamura grimace ever-so-briefly. Nakamura throws back with a body kick, and in an exchange, it is actually Larkin that appears to have a cut on the bridge of his nose. Nakamura rings a right hook home, and then chains an inside leg kick directly after it. When pursuing the same hook, Larkin is ready to counter, and then evades the looping shot that comes his way with a low left jab to the torso. The two kick at the same time, and Nakamura falls over, but before Larkin can pounce, "K-Taro" jumps right back to his feet. A one-two from Nakamura nearly lands, but the low inside kick to the thigh does score from the Japanese veteran. Leaping forward as he has several times in the past, Larkin blasts the lead leg with a kick that nearly hyperextends the knee of his adversary. Larkin winds up and jumps in the air, cracking Nakamura with a knee that backs him off. Larkin loads up on his shots, seeing that he has Nakamura hurt, and stings him with alternating lefts and rights. Although Nakamura blocks the head kick just in time, we can hear the audible thud as it deflects off his guard. Larkin continues the attack until the bell sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Larkin
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Larkin
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Larkin

Round 3

Nakamura comes out aggressively right out of the gate, snapping in a right hook but eating a left from Larkin in the process. Larkin pops him with a body kick, and then a low kick, and is out of the way when Nakamura sends a right hook his way. Nakamura presses forward, and Larkin circles out with snapping left jabs. After one such jab, Larkin follows it with a piston-like right, snapping Nakamura's head back but not hurting him badly. The Japanese fighter is stalking Larkin down, but Larkin is able to get out of danger and block a head kick. A one-two from Larkin again nails Nakamura, and a body kick appears to buckle Nakamura before Larkin hammers home a knee to the same spot. A big cut on Nakamura's eye has opened up in the exchange, and Larkin goes after the body some more before winging a right after some quick jabs. Nakamura shoots in for a low single leg takedown and Larkin unloads some cracking elbows to Nakamura's temple as he stuffs it. "The Monsoon" unleashes a torrent of vicious elbows, and Nakamura collapses to the ground and loses his mouthpiece. "K-Taro" rolls away and tries to defend himself, and Larkin backs off as to not play in his opponent's guard, so Herzog allows Nakamura to stand and replace his mouthpiece. The elbows have opened up a sizeable cut on the side of his head, and multiple streams of blood are trailing down around his right ear. In the meantime, the right straights from Larkin have damaged the eye of Nakamura badly, with a nasty cut on the eyelid and a decent amount of blood. Larkin stabs at the body with a kick, but Nakamura is undeterred as he chases Larkin down with seconds remaining. Nakamura throws a body kick, but takes a flying knee on the chin and a ferocious elbow as the round ends. Barring an unusual scoring mishap, Bellator should end the night two wins to one, although there are two more matches pitting the promotions against one another at Rizin 20.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Larkin (30-26 Larkin)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-8 Larkin (30-26 Larkin)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-8 Larkin (30-26 Larkin)

The Official Result

Lorenz Larkin def. Keita Nakamura via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)

Michael Page vs. Shinsho Anzai

Round 1

In his third appearance in just over three months, the lively Page (16-1, 12-1 BMMA) will attempt to make Anzai (11-3, 0-0 BMMA) feel unwelcome in his promotional debut. In charge of the cage is referee Jason Herzog. The two men opt not touch gloves, and Page starts off with his hands by his waist as Anzai looks to close the distance. Page dances out of the way as Anzai bull rushes him, and Page is content to spring about the cage and pop in a jab. Another jab from the Brit leads to a whiff from Anzai, and as the Japanese fighter crashes in, Page times a perfect flying knee that Anzai catches square on the jaw. He wears it well and clinches up with Page, but Page breaks free and circles out, catching him with a few more jabs on the way out. Page whiffs with an uppercut as he ducks down, and Anzai is well out of range with an eight-inch reach disadvantage playing against him significantly. The crowd is starting to cheer for Anzai, but Page is unconcerned as he flicks up a kick that lands right on Anzai. As "Animal" blitzes forward to attempt a takedown, again Page catches him with a flying knee, but Anzai absorbs it without issue and stays tight with Page. Page breaks free, leaps in the air and tags Anzai with a front kick, bouncing Anzai off the fence. A right hook from Page lands flush, and he immediately takes a stiff left that stuns him. As he wades forward, Anzai continues to eat punches and not land anything of significance, coming up well short. A big left from Page drops him, and a cut has formed around the left eye of Anzai. Page begins to showboat as he dances, throws a flipping kick and then a jumping switch kick. Anzai runs forward recklessly and catches another flying knee to the face, before Page breaks free. Almost effortlessly, for the fourth time, Page cracks him with a knee going backwards, and Anzai can do nothing to stop it as he relentlessly pursues the takedown. This time, Page decides to keep it going and pops him in the chops with one more nasty knee. The two for jockey for position against the fence as the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Page
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-8 Page
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-8 Page

Round 2

Like the last round, Anzai runs forward to clinch up and takes a knee up the middle. The Japanese fighter charges forward once more, Page counters him flawlessly with the same knee. Anzai is hurt, but he races forward again. In an MMA version of Bald Bull from the video game "Punch Out," Page fires a quick picture-perfect right hook that catches Anzai as he is lunging forward, and Anzai topples to the cage floor. Herzog has seen enough from this beatdown, and quickly intervenes to end the fight as Anzai is either out cold or otherwise unable to intelligently defend himself any longer. "Venom" dances in victory, sporting a headband and robe from popular anime series "Naruto," while holding a kunai between his teeth. Page is all smiles, and applauds when Anzai returns to his feet after the fight has been called.

The Official Result

Michael Page def. Shinsho Anzai R2 0:23 via KO (Punch)

Michael Chandler vs. Sidney Outlaw

Round 1

Our last catchweight fight of the night is up now as we move to the co-main event between former three-time lightweight king Chandler (19-5, 16-5 BMMA) and the surging Outlaw (14-3, 1-0 BMMA). Referee Bryan Miner will be the third man inside the cage, the two do not greet one another with a touch of gloves, and we are underway. Both men miss with looping punches to start off, with Outlaw winging heavy lefts that fall short and a low kick that does land. Chandler pops him with a right hook and then a left to the body, backing Outlaw against the fence. Outlaw thinks about changing levels for a moment, and Chandler works him to the body with a few more stiff punches. Almost all of Chandler's attack so far has targeted the midsection, as Chandler slams a right hook home on the same spot he has targeted so far. A right to the torso forces Outlaw to circle away and throw a few leg kicks, while missing with a jab and trying to throw a body shot back at the former champ's direction. Chandler lands with a right again, and not to be outdone, Outlaw throw a right back and then a leg kick. An errant front kick from Outlaw lands to the cup, but the action does not stop as Chandler nods to continue, so Outlaw rings home an uppercut. Chandler eats it and throws a heavy right hand. Outlaw tries to shrug it off, but he might be hurt as he takes another low kick to the calf. "Iron Mike" unloads a crisp right that splits the guard of Outlaw and crumples him to the canvas, and Chandler chases him to the cage floor with a hammerfist that is all-but academic. Outlaw is out, and Miner dives in to stop the contest. This is a statement performance for Chandler, who rebounds from a rough loss with an impressive knockout to snap the nine-fight win streak of "Da Gun." In victory, Chandler moves to sole possession of the second-most wins in company history with 17.

The Official Result

Michael Chandler def. Sidney Outlaw R1 2:59 via KO (Punches)

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Quinton Jackson

Round 1

It's time for the main event of the evening, between two legendary fighters in a heavyweight rumble that many wish happened far earlier. In their lengthy careers spanning multiple decades, Emelianenko (38-6, 1 NC; 2-2 BMMA) and Jackson (38-13, 5-2 BMMA) have amassed 53 combined stoppage victories along the way. Keeping a watchful eye on the bout that could end in an instant is referee Kevin MacDonald. The two touch gloves, and Emelianenko opens with a left jab. The left hook from Emelianenko comes, and he follows that with a series of punches that Jackson blocks without effort. Emelianenko flicks out a left jab, and then clips "Rampage" with a right hand. A left from Emelianenko is nearly countered by a looping left hook from Jackson, so the Russian backs off and lands a few shots. As Emelianenko lands a few punches, Jackson rushes in and gets tossed over. Jackson returns to his feet and eats a few more punches and a body kick, although he keeps a high guard. A right from Emelianenko glances off the target, while Jackson is looking much more tentative. Jackson checks a heavy leg kick and forces Emelianenko to stumble backwards, but the Russian appears unfazed when he gets his legs back beneath him. Emelianenko unloads a salvo, and backs away to avoid the counter shots. A ferocious right hand from "The Last Emperor" catches Jackson on the eye and nose, and puts Jackson down. There is no need for a follow-up, and "Rampage" is done, leading MacDonald to rush in and stop the contest. Although Jackson gets up and briefly protests, the side of his eye is bleeding badly and he is wobbling back and forth. Emelianenko has now earned his 30th career stoppage, and does so in dramatic fashion over a fellow Pride legend. In his interview, Emelianenko announces his retirement, thanking everyone for supporting him over the years and wanting to end his career in his second home of Japan. Upon surprised reaction to him potentially leaving the sport, his team is quick to note that he meant retiring from competing inside Japan, but not necessarily that this would be his final MMA bout.

The Official Result

Fedor Emelianenko def. Quinton Jackson R1 2:44 via KO (Punch)

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