Former Cage Rage champion Paul Daley knocked out Urich with a crushing right uppercut in the Bellator 148 headliner on Friday at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California. Daley (38-13-2, 4-0 Bellator) drew the curtain 2:00 into round one. No follow-up punches were necessary.
Once his bids for takedowns failed, Uhrich (11-6, 1-3 Bellator) was a sitting duck. Daley cornered the Titan Fighting Championships veteran against the cage, fired a straight right, a left hook and reset. The 32-year-old then closed the distance again, drew Uhrich’s hands out of place with a pawing left hook and connected with a crushing right uppercut for the knockout.
In the welterweight co-main event, former Ring of Combat champion Paul Bradley cut down previously unbeaten Dethrone Base Camp prospect Chris Honeycutt with first-round punches. The end came 40 seconds into round three, with referee Mike Beltran rushing in to save Honeycutt (6-1, 2-1 Bellator) from further abuse.
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Bradley (23-6, 3-1 Bellator) floored the Californian twice with clubbing right hands, pounced as Honeycutt turned to crawl away and let loose with a grisly burst of winging right hands to the side of the head that netted the stoppage.
Meanwhile, two-time Bellator tournament finalist Patricky Freire knocked out Ryan Couture with a savage left hook in the first round of their lightweight pairing. Freire (15-7, 8-6 Bellator) brought it to a close 3:00 into round one, as he posted his fifth victory in seven outings.
Couture (10-4, 2-1 Bellator) tempted fate in the standup and paid a severe price. Freire rattled the Strikeforce and Ultimate Fighting Championship vet with a three-punch volley, staggered him with a straight right and opened a cut on the bridge of his nose with a standing elbow. Desperation set in on Couture, and he walked face first into a counter left hook from “Pitbull.” He collapsed immediately and remained unconscious on the mat for several tense moments.
The loss snapped Couture’s four-fight winning streak.
Elsewhere, American Kickboxing Academy representative Tony Johnson took care of Raphael Butler with third-round punches in their featured heavyweight match. Butler (9-2-1, 4-2-1 Bellator) succumbed to blows 4:24 into round three.
After a slow start, Johnson (10-2, 3-0 Bellator) imposed his will. Repeated takedowns and clinches sucked the life out of Butler and created openings for offense. In the second round, Johnson dragged the onetime national Golden Gloves champion to the canvas and battered him with short elbows and top-ride punches. Butler’s situation did not improve in the third, where fatigue became more and more of a factor. Late in the round, Johnson shifted to his counterpart’s back and finished it with a trickle of powerful punches.
The 29-year-old Johnson has won three fights in a row.
In preliminary action, Hawaiian prospect Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (3-0, 2-0 Bellator) submitted Amber Tackett (1-2, 0-1 Bellator) with an armbar 2:09 into the first round of their women’s flyweight clash; Justin Smitley (10-7-1, 1-0 Bellator) captured a unanimous decision from former Tachi Palace Fights champion Art Arciniega (14-6, 0-2 Bellator) in a three-round battle at 145 pounds, earning 30-27 marks from all three judges; and Carl Seumanutafa (10-6, 1-0 Bellator) put away a bloodied Javy Ayala (8-5, 3-2 Bellator) with mounted ground-and-pound 3:46 into the second round of their heavyweight tilt.