The expectation of the main event at Bellator 155 between defending middleweight champion, Raphael Carvalho and top ranked contender Melvin Manhoef was that of a barn burning, high paced thriller. Unfortunately, it turned out to be quite the opposite.
Bellator 155 was held at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho. And the two middleweights in the main event of the evening, both being renowned strikers in both punching and kicking, most thought it would be a toe to toe slugfest that would end in a KO or TKO finish.
Right from the opening bell, both fighters were hesitant to engage. A lot of pawing and feeling out each other’s timing but when the round was near the halfway point, the crowd erupted into booing as all they seemed to be watching was a hyped sparring session. The first round ended much the same as it has started, it wasn’t clear if they were just saving themselves for the championship rounds, or just unable to read each other’s movement well enough.
We got our answer in the second round, were more of the same continued between the two. The crowd started booing once again and were stopped by a couple of kicks landed by Manhoef. Manhoef, one of the most feared strikers in the game, just couldn’t seem to get his timing right and never launched with any attempt at forming a combination.
Manhoef came out a bit more aggressively in the third, but apt from a few kicks, and a half decent right hand, nothing was really coming together for him as Carvalho kept his distance. This continued into the fourth and fifth round with the fight eventually going the distance and then to the judges’ scorecards.
In true fashion of the adage, “Don’t leave it in the hands of the judges’, Manhoef lost by narrow split decision to the defending champ, Carvalho. The fans booed even harder as the decision was aired and we can’t say we blame them as it seemed that Manhoef was the aggressor in all rounds, landed more strikes and attempted more takedowns. That’s the game though and Carvalho comes out on top of this engagement to defend his title for the first time against one of the top strikers in the middleweight division. The split result; 48-47, 47-48, and 48-47.
The co-main event of the evening came from the featherweight division, as we saw the defending champ, Pat Curran earn an impressive victory over Georgi Karakhanyan. Curran took Georgi down early in the first round, and that’s where it stayed. Karakhanyan just wasn’t able to recover and his time on the bottom began to wear him down. In the second, Karakhanyan decided to go to ground and soon realised his mistake, allowing Curran to regain control by taking his back. In the third, Karakhanyan made a comeback but it was too little too late and handed a unanimous decision to Curran 29-28 by all three judges.
Dan Charles faced off against Augusto Sakai in a heavyweight bout, somehow ending the fight in a draw. Charles was the aggressor from the opening bell, heavy kicks to the body and the legs with Sakai’s only answer a couple of low blows. Charles slowed in the second and third rounds, allowing Sakai to do just enough to squeeze by on the judges’ scorecards that resulted in a majority draw.
In the biggest win of her MMA career to date, Alexis Dufresne (although missing weight and coming in over at 150.7lbs in the weigh-ins) defeated the favourite, Marloes Coenen with a shock 1st round submission finish over the highly ranked Coenen. Dufresne took Coenen down early but Coenen managed a sweep to find herself on top. Dufresne comfortably defended off her back and locked in a triangle choke, transitioning to lock up the arm bar for the tap.
The first fight of the evening came from Heavyweights, Joey Beltran and Chase Gormley in what was a very uninspiring 15 minutes of cage time. Both fighters did barely anything to push the pace with each other and seemed content for them to just ride the time down. Not very exciting. However, Gormley managed to pick off some points early on and that supposedly lent the judges to award the decision in his favour, by way of split decision; 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28. If you enjoyed this breakdown you can also check out our Bellator 148 Breakdown here.