Bellator 178 Recap: Pitbull Wins Back Belt, MacFarlane and McKee Shine

By Keith Shillan

Bellator returned to southern New England on Friday night with a card full of fights, headlined by the fourth installment of the Daniel Straus vs Patricio “Pitbull” Freire rivalry.

Main Card Results:

This might have been the fourth time that Daniel Straus faced off against Patricio “Pitbull” Freire but it was the first time Straus entered the cage carrying the belt.

After brief clinch fighting and exchanging leg kicks in the first round, the fight ended quickly in the second. Straus pushed Pitbull against the cage but didn’t protect his neck. The Brazilian fighter quickly grabbed a guillotine choke, locking up his legs in full guard and forcing Straus to tap out.

This was the second time Pitbull has submitted Straus and the third time he has beaten him. This was the second time that Pitbull has won the featherweight title, with both happening at Mohegan Sun.

Bellator stated that Daniel Weichel will be the first to challenge for Pitbull’s belt however Pitbull told me that he wants to face Michael Chandler. He said that he doesn’t care about Chandler’s belt but wants to settle their old grudge.

Bellator might have the star female fighter that they have been looking for. Hawaiian fighter, Ilima-Lei MacFarlane improved her record to a perfect 6-0. She made short work of the previously unbeaten Jessica Middleton. MacFarlane closed the distance, tripped Middleton to the ground, and after some brief ground and pound locked in an armbar forcing Middleton to submit. She immediately called for a title fight for the currently vacant women’s flyweight crown.

Connecticut’s own Ryan Quinn returned to his home state sporting a perfect 7-0 Bellator record but was unable to remain unbeaten in the organization, dropping a unanimous decision to main card stalwart Saad Awad. Quinn had brief moments in the second and third round where he had the Awad’s back, but it was Awad who controlled most of the fight. Awad hurt Quinn on the feet in the first round and out grappled him in the second and third round. Awad wins by unanimous decision.

To open the Spike TV broadcast, one of the top prospects in the game, AJ McKee put his undefeated record on the line against Dominic Mazzotta. Mazzota, who is a two weight Pinnacle FC champion was making his Bellator debut. Mazzotta had only one career loss heading into the contest (which was to current UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt), he left with two. In just over a minute into the contest, McKee landed a partially blocked high kick that separated Mazzotta from his conscious.

During the post fight Interview with Jimmy Smith, McKee called out Irish prospect James Gallagher.

Featured Prelims:

Three time division 1 NCAA wrestling champion, Ed Ruth continued his growth in the sport. Ruth moved to a perfect 3-0 with all three fights ending by KO/TKO. Ruth displayed a quickly improving striking and finished off his opponent  David Mundell in the second round with a vicious knee to the body.

Super prospect Tyrell Fortune struggled with the debuting Branko Busick. Fortune did his best work in the clinch where he landed several knees to Busick’s midsection. However he did get deducted a point in the second round due to two knees to the groin. He was also dropped by a punch near the end of the second round All three judges scored the fight 29-27 but it was closer than the score cards showed.

Rest of the Prelims Results:

  • Remo Cardarelli over John Lopez by unanimous decision
  • Kas Xhema over Nick Alley by 1st round KO
  • Blair Tugman over Thomas English by 3rd round submission (Rear Naked Choke)
  • Jordan Young over Tim Caron by 1st round submission (D’Arce choke)
  • Chris Foster over Shane Manley by split decision


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