Paul Bradley had a game plan, and he executed it.
Bradley leaned on takedowns and steady ground-and-pound in claiming a unanimous decision over Josh Neer in the Bellator 129 headliner on Friday at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. All three judges scored it 30-27 for Bradley (22-6, 2-1 Bellator), a former Ring of Combat champion who has posted four wins in his past six appearances.
Unable to stay upright and cut above his left eye, Neer’s frustrations grew as the fight progressed. He succumbed to takedowns in all three rounds, directing his ire at both his opponent and referee “Big” John McCarthy. Neither man paid him much attention. Bradley ignored his taunts, stayed heavy on top and did enough with punches and short elbows to avoid restarts.
The defeat halted a three-fight winning streak for Neer (36-14-1, 0-2 Bellator).
Related: Bellator 129 Play-by-Play
Alexander Head Butt Results in Draw
A point deduction for an illegal head butt cost Houston Alexander a victory, as “The Assassin” settled for a majority draw against Virgil Zwicker in the 215-pound catchweight co-main event. Two of the three cageside judges scored it 28-28; a third called it 29-28 for Alexander (16-10-1, 1-1-1 Bellator).
Zwicker (12-4-1, 1-1-1 Bellator) replaced injured Pride Fighting Championships veteran James Thompson on short notice. The Team Quest representative did his best work in the second round, where he staggered Alexander with a standing elbow and landed the cleaner punches, raising a grotesque hematoma above the Nebraskan’s left eye. However, Alexander controlled the first and third frames with his takedowns and mauling ground-and-pound. In both round, he delivered head butts from top position, the second of the illegal blows resulting in his being docked a crucial point.
Santos Wins Sixth Straight
A high-volume standup attack carried luta luvre practitioner Andre Santos to a unanimous decision over James Terry in a featured matchup at 170 pounds. All three cageside judges arrived at the same verdict: 30-27 for Santos (37-9, 1-0 Bellator), who has won six fights in a row.
The two welterweights spent much of their time engaged on the feet. Terry (14-8, 0-2 Bellator) mixed jabs, crosses and occasional overhands with intermittent leg kicks, while Santos uncorked winging lefts and rights; he targeted the head almost exclusively. The 31-year-old Braziland landed the most significant blow of the fight in the third round, where he dropped Terry with a left hook. The Strikeforce vet recovered and later countered with a takedown, dodging a kimura from Santos before seeking out a brabo choke in the closing seconds. Unfortunately for Terry, the finish he needed never developed.
Resurgent Vedepo Stops Clark
Joe Vedepo dispatched American Kickboxing Academy export Davin Clark with third-round ground-and-pound in a one-sided middleweight showcase. Clark (5-2-2, 0-1 Bellator) did not answer referee Rob Hinds’ calls to defend himself, resulting in the stoppage 2:27 into round three.
Vedepo neutralized the 32-year-old with repeated takedowns and flirted with various chokes for much of the match. In the third round, he executed one final takedown, moved to a mounted position on Clark’s back and brought it to a close with unanswered punches and hammerfists.
Prelims: Smith, Moreno Take Decisions
In preliminary action, Strikeforce veteran Anthony Smith (19-11, 2-0 Bellator) took a unanimous verdict from Brian Green (31-20, 0-2 Bellator) in their 15-minute middleweight battle, earning 30-26, 30-26 and 29-28 scores from the judges; Victor Moreno (34-21, 1-1 Bellator) picked up a unanimous decision over Marcos Marquez (5-4, 0-1 Bellator) in their three-round welterweight contest, sweeping the scorecards with 30-27 marks; Eric Howser (7-2, 1-0 Bellator) trapped journeyman Tim Bazer (14-17, 0-2 Bellator) in a loose triangle choke and struck him into submission with a series of elbows 4:11 into round one of their catchweight duel at 150 pounds; Martin Brown (8-2, 2-1 Bellator) pushed his winning streak to six fights and put away Bryan Corley (2-2, 0-1 Bellator) with punches 42 seconds into the second round of their 150-pound catchweight scrap; Resurrection Fighting Alliance alum Michael McBride (7-1, 1-0 Bellator) submitted Kevin Morris (4-4, 0-1 Bellator) with a rear-naked choke 4 :32 into round one of their encounter at a 158-pound catchweight; Team Destruction’s John DeVall (9-6, 1-0 Bellator) submitted Chris Lane (11-13, 0-2 Bellator) with an armbar 4:40 into the first round of their 139-pound catchweight tussle; and Jozette Cotton (5-0, 1-0 Bellator) captured a unanimous decision against Holly Lawson (0-1, 0-1 Bellator) in their women’s catchweight clash at 168 pounds, drawing 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27 marks on the scorecards.