‘Rampage’ Jackson Handed Split Decision Over Satoshi Ishii in Bellator 157 Main Event

By Brian Knapp Jun 24, 2016

Quinton Jackson was uninspiring but nevertheless triumphant in his return to the Bellator MMA cage.

A punishing clinch and big-fight savvy carried Jackson to a split decision over 2008 Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii in the Bellator 157 “Dynamite 2” headliner on Friday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Judges’ scores were 29-28 (Sal D’Amato) and 30-27 (Robin Veale) for Jackson and 29-28 (Ross Swanberg) for Ishii.

In his first appearance in more than a year, Jackson had issues staying upright, especially early in the fight. Ishii (14-6-1) effectively closed the distance on the former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight titleholder, executing a pair of first-round takedowns from the clinch. The Japanese judoka did little damage from the top but corralled Jackson (37-11) on the mat and bled time off the clock.

Ishii enjoyed less and less success as the fight reached the second and third rounds. A frustrated but undeterred Jackson met him in the clinch with knees to the body and uppercuts upstairs. “Rampage” pulled away in round three, where he sidestepped a takedown attempt, assumed top position and hammered away at Ishii with punches and elbows to the head and body.

In the co-main event, Michael Chandler reclaimed the Bellator lightweight championship with a violent first-round knockout on Patricky Freire. Chandler (15-3) brought it to an emphatic close 2:14 into round one, capturing the title that was left vacant when Will Brooks departed for the UFC.

It did not last long, as Chandler bailed on a few takedown attempts before settling in on his feet. The 30-year-old NCAA All-American wrestler feinted a left jab and fired a right cross behind it, connecting square on the chin. The crushing blow sent an unconscious “Pitbull” crashing to the canvas, where no follow-up strikes were necessary.

The loss halted a modest two-fight winning streak for Freire (16-8) and gave Chandler a 2-0 edge in their head-to-head series.

Meanwhile, UFC veteran Matt Mitrione survived a near-finish to knock out Carl Seumanutafa with a standing-to-ground right hand in the first round of their heavyweight showcase. Seumanutafa (10-7) met his end 3:22 into round one.

Mitrione’s promotional debut did not start as he had planned. Seumanutafa floored him with a rolling overhand right inside the first 30 seconds, pounced for a potential stoppage and climbed to the back. Mitrione (10-5) gathered himself during the exchange on the mat, reversed position and applied his ground-and-pound from half guard. The 37-year-old later stood over Seumanutafa, cleared his legs and spiked a right hand into his face that prompted referee John McCarthy to act.

The victory snapped a two-fight losing streak for Mitrione.

Elsewhere, Team Hurricane Awesome prospect Ilima-Lei Macfarlane submitted Rebecca Ruth with a standing rear-naked choke in the second round of their women’s flyweight feature. Ruth (6-2) conceded defeat 3:00 into round two.

Macfarlane (4-0) wore down the Resurrection Fighting Alliance alum with an incessant clinch and tenacious close-quarters pressure. She executed a trip takedown early in the second round, advanced to the back and set her hooks. Macfarlane fished for the rear-naked choke between periods of ground-and-pound, eventually allowing Ruth to stand. From there, the 26-year-old snaked her arms in place and squeezed for the finish.

In other MMA action, “The Ultimate Fighter 15” graduate Justin Lawrence (9-3) disposed of Isao Kobayashi (18-4-4) with punches 2:11 into the second round of their clash at 145 pounds; Joaquin Buckley (6-0) knocked out Chris Heatherly (9-4) with a knee strike 4:14 into the second round of their catchweight encounter; Guilherme Vasconcelos (8-3) submitted Jordan Dowdy (3-2) with a rear-naked choke 4:59 into the first round of their battle at 170 pounds; Chel Erwin-Davis (4-1) tapped Kevin Engel (5-1) with a rear-naked choke 1:19 into the second round of their welterweight pairing; Brad Jones (6-3) knocked out Tyler Claussen (2-3) with a head kick 26 seconds into the first round of their tilt at 170 pounds; Matthew Murphy (6-6) took care of Justin Robbins (14-18-1) in their bantamweight affair, forcing a doctor stoppage 2:16 into the second round; Rashard Lovelace (4-0) was awarded a technical knockout when a leg injury left Garrett Mueller (2-2) unable to continue between the second and third rounds of their matchup at 145 pounds; and Steven Mann (12-4) cut down Mike Estus (7-5) with knees 25 seconds into the first round of their catchweight confrontation.

In kickboxing action, Kevin Ross (27-6) took a unanimous verdict from Justin Houghton (6-4) in a three-round featherweight bout, drawing 29-27, 29-27 and 30-26 marks from the judges; and Gloria Peritore (13-3-1) eked out a split decision -- 28-29, 29-28 and 29-28 -- over Denise Kielholtz in a three-round women’s flyweight match.

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