Two-time Bellator MMA tournament finalist Patricky Freire only needs one punch, even against a fighter as historically durable as Josh Thomson.
“Pitbull” wiped out the former Strikeforce champion with a right uppercut and follow-up hammerfists in the second round of their Bellator 172 headliner on Saturday at the SAP Pavilion in San Jose, California. Thomson (22-9) met his end 40 seconds into Round 2, as he was finished for the first time since being felled by Yves Edwards’ flying head kick at UFC 49 more than 12 years ago.
Freire (18-8) outstruck “The Punk” through the first five minutes, relying on kicks to the upper and lower leg before dropping him with an overhand right late in the round. Less than a minute into the middle stanza, the two men clashed heads. Thomson hit the deck briefly before returning to his feet. Once there, Freire caught him with the uppercut while he ducked in for a takedown. Two subsequent hammerfists finished the job (online sportsbooks).
In the heavyweight co-main event, Cheick Kongo mauled British strongman Oli Thompson across three rounds and walked away with a one-sided unanimous decision. All three cageside judges scored it for Kongo (26-10-2): 30-26, 30-25 and 30-25.
Not much went right for Thompson (17-10). Kongo executed takedowns in all three rounds and smashed away at his onetime training partner with malicious punches and elbows from top position. Thompson spent much of his time pinned underneath the Frenchman in survival mode, and when he did escape to his feet, he was met with volleys of close-quarters knees to the body and head. Kong iced his latest victory with a strong third round, as he twice achieved full mount and fed “The Spartan” a steady stream of punches and elbows.
Meanwhile, Russian prospect Anatoly Tokov climbed another rung on his developmental ladder, as he cut through former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion Francisco France with second-round punches in a middleweight showcase. Tokov (25-3) drew the curtain 2:24 into Round 2.
France (13-5-1) made the Fedor Emelianenko protégé work for it. The crafty and well-traveled grappler put Tokov in peril in the first round, where he caught an armbar from the bottom, transitioned to a triangle choke and turned back to the armbar before the harrowing sequence concluded. France did not get another chance. In the second round, Tokov let his hands go, knocked an off-balance France to the canvas and assumed top position. He then sent a series of right hands plunging into France’s head, prompting referee Jason Herzog to call for the stoppage.
Tokov has won 18 of his last 19 bouts.
Elsewhere, Mauricio Alonso spoiled Josh Koscheck’s promotional debut, as he disposed of the faded Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran with punches in the first round of their welterweight feature. Koscheck (17-11) succumbed to blows 4:42 into Round 1.
Alonso (13-7) was calm, composed and calculating. The 36-year-old Brazilian answered Koscheck’s punches with two, three and sometimes four of his own, mixing in jabs and leg kicks along the way. Alonso clipped the four-time NCAA All-American wrestler with a short right hand, tracked him to the fence and uncorked a right uppercut that had Koscheck ducking for cover. He then brought it to a close with follow-up punches and hammerfists.
Koscheck, 39, has lost six fights in a row.
In other action, Veta Arteaga was awarded a technical knockout over Brooke Mayo 4:04 into the third round of their women’s flyweight pairing; Nikko Jackson took a unanimous decision from Cesar Gonzalez in a three-round lightweight scrap, drawing 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 scores from the judges; J.J. Okanovich submitted Zach Andrews with a rear-naked choke 2:26 into the second round of their welterweight affair; James Terry recorded a technical unanimous decision over J.C. Llamas in their clash at 170 pounds, earning 30-27 marks across the board; Gaston Bolanos stopped Abner Perez with punches 4:53 into the first round of their featherweight tilt; Martin Sano fought to a majority draw with Diego Herzog -- 28-27, 28-28, 28-28 -- in their three-round middleweight encounter; and Justin Tenedora tapped Roque Reyes with a face crank 4:59 into the second round of their battle at 135 pounds.