Josh Thomson looked quite comfortable in the friendly confines of his hometown.
The UFC and Strikeforce veteran did what he was supposed to do against a relatively unknown opponent, as he stopped Pablo Villaseca with a flurry of unanswered ground-and-pound at the 3:59 mark of round two in the Bellator 147 headliner at the San Jose University Event Center in San Jose, Calif, on Friday night.
“I cannot lose in this town, right? It felt good,” Thomson said. “He was young and hungry. I could tell he wanted to push the pace.”
Villaseca (10-2, 0-2 Bellator) held his own in round one, but Thomson (22-8, 2-0 Bellator) likely took the frame on the strength of a pair of takedowns and an active submission game. “The Punk” imposed his will in the second stanza, taking Villaseca down again and battering his foe with hard elbows from top position. With a mouse forming under his left eye, Villaseca tried his best to hang on as Thomson picked up the pace with his ground-and-pound. Eventually, referee Jason Herzog had no choice but to halt the lightweight bout.
While many have tabbed Thomson as the next challenger for reigning champion Will Brooks, the American Kickboxing Academy product targeted a different foe after the victory.
“I’m sorry but everybody wants to see me fight Chandler,” he said. “I’ll take Will Brooks, but I’m telling you right now the hype is around me and Chandler.”
Technical Weichel Outpoints Karakhanyan
It may be difficult to deny Daniel Weichel another shot at featherweight gold.
One bout removed from a heartbreaking loss to ex-champ Patricio Freire, the German fighter put on a composed, technical performance to earn a unanimous decision triumph over would-be No. 1 contender Georgi Karakhanyan in the evening’s co-main event. All three judges scored the contest 30-27 in favor of Weichel.
Weichel (36-9, 5-1 Bellator) picked his opponent apart at range for 15 minutes, often tagging Karakhanyan (24-6-1, 3-3 Bellator) with his straight right hand. Karakhanyan, who had been sidelined since January due to knee surgery, did his best to incite a brawl, but Weichel never took the bait. “The Weasel” outlanded his foe in each round while maintaining a tight defensive guard that often left the Milennia MMA representative with a look of frustration on his face.
With the win, Weichel improves to 10-1 in bouts that have gone the distance.
Anderson Edges Freire Once Again
It was the good kind of déjà vu for Derek Anderson, as he earned his second triumph over Patricky Freire in slightly more than two years -- this time via split decision. Two cageside judges saw it 29-28 for the American lightweight, while a third scored it 29-28 for the Brazilian “Pitbull” brother.
It was ultimately the volume-based striking of the taller, rangier Anderson that proved to be the difference. While a methodical Freire (14-7, 7-6 Bellator) picked his spots to land powerful counter shots, an aggressive Anderson (13-2, 4-2 Bellator) was able to consistently pepper his foe with punching combinations. Freire did his best work in round two, when he stunned Anderson early, took him down and spent the last two minutes of the frame attached to his adversary’s back.
Anderson previously earned a unanimous verdict over Freire at Bellator 98 in September 2013. For Freire, the loss likely puts a halt to any talk of a title shot against reigning champion Will Brooks.
Piccolotti Dominates, Submits Soto
Relying stifling top control, active submissions and relentless ground-and-pound, Adam Piccolotti authored a dominant performance in dispatching Mario Soto in a featured lightweight scrap. Piccolotti (7-0, 3-0 Bellator) brought an end to the contest with a rear-naked choke at the 3:25 mark of round two.
The 27-year-old Piccolotti set the tone in round one, as he twice took his opponent’s back and also threatened with an arm-triangle choke. Soto (6-2, 0-2 Bellator) survived the early onslaught, but he wasn’t as fortunate in the second stanza. After catching a kick and tripping his man to the canvas, Piccolotti proceeded to completely overwhelm Soto. The Californian moved to full mount, bloodying his adversary with punches and elbows and threatening with submissions. Eventually Picolotti moved to Soto’s back and locked in the rear-naked choke, forcing his foe to tap as blood gushed from his nose.
Rogers Victorious in 205-Pound Debut
Longtime Bellator middleweight Brian Rogers made a successful 205-pound debut, submitting Virgil Zwicker in the first-round of their featured clash. The end came 4:38 into round one when Rogers (12-8, 5-6 Bellator) locked in an arm-triangle choke to elicit the tapout from “Rezdog.”
The two combatants spent most of the opening stanza trading heavy punches until Rogers scored a takedown late in the period. They followed a similar formula in round two before “The Professional Predator” took Zwicker (14-5-1, 3-2-1 Bellator) down once again with a little more than a minute remaining and quickly moved to full mount. From there, Rogers unloaded with punches and elbows before transitioning to the fight-ending choke.
Prelims: Prospect McKee Remains Unbeaten
Gabriel Carrasco (7-0, 2-0 Bellator) battered Khomkrit Niimi (6-8, 0-1 Bellator) with elbows from above to bring their bantamweight encounter to a close 3:19 into the opening frame; Brandon Hester (3-0, 2-0 Bellator) cruised to a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-25, 30-24) over Idris Wasi (1-3, 0-1 Bellator) at middleweight; A.J. McKee (3-0, 3-0 Bellator) knocked out J.T. Donaldson (1-1, 0-1 Bellator) with a knee at the 3:19 mark of round one in a featherweight clash; and Nick Barnes (10-1, 1-0 Bellator) defeated James Terry (16-9, 1-3 Bellator) with a modified rear-naked choke 2:48 into the opening round of a catch-weight fight.