It might not have been exactly the introduction he wanted, but Michael McDonald was nonetheless victorious in his Bellator MMA debut.
“Mayday” swept the scorecards by identical 30-27 counts against Peter Ligier in the Bellator 191 headliner at Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England on Friday. Originally scheduled as a bantamweight contest, the bout become a catchweight fight when McDonald tipped the scales at 137.6 pounds on Thursday.
In a slow-paced affair, McDonald put his stamp on the fight by landing takedowns in all three rounds. While Ligier was able to consistently return to his feet, he didn’t do enough while there to make a lasting impression with the judges. Perhaps McDonald’s best moment came late in round two, when he attacked in the waning seconds and connected with an uppercut during an exchange.
McDonald (18-4) signed with Bellator earlier this year following a 6-3 stint in the UFC. The Frenchman Ligier (8-2-1) saw a three-fight winning streak come to an end.
In the co-main event, former UFC strawweight title challenger Valerie Letourneau earned a competitive unanimous decision victory over Kate Jackson in a flyweight encounter. All three cageside judges scored the contest 30-27 in favor of Letourneau (9-6), who snapped a three-fight losing skid with the victory.
The fight was closer than the scorecards might indicate. Still, it was Letourneau that did a better job keeping the fight at her range. “Trouble” cut her foe with a right hand in round one and bloodied Jackson’s nose with repeated counters in the third frame. Jackson (9-3) was able to get the action to the canvas in the second period, but Letourneau transitioned from a triangle to an armbar before the combatants returned to their feet.
In her post-fight interview, Letourneau called out Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, who captured Bellator’s inaugural flyweight crown with a victory over Emily Ducote on Nov. 3.
Elsewhere, five-time UFC competitor Philip De Fries made short work of James Thompson in their heavyweight encounter, winning via guillotine choke at the 1:53 mark of round one. Thompson (20-17), who was fighting for the first time since December 2015, has lost three in a row.
De Fries (14-6, 1 NC) didn’t waste much time getting his opponent to the canvas. Thompson was able to return to his feet but was ensnared in the guillotine shortly thereafter. In a matter of seconds, “The Colossus” was forced to tap out.
In other action, Mohammad Yahya (5-1) scored a technical knockout victory over Ash Griffiths (4-5) 3:26 into round one of a catch-weight affair, while Jeremy Petley (12-8-1) garnered a split-decision triumph (30-27, 28-29, 29-28) against Lewis Monarch (9-3) at featherweight.