Bellator has another international card on Friday. They were live in New Castle, England. The card featured new free agent signings Michael McDonald and Valerie Letourneau. The two fighters were former UFC title challengers. McDonald squared off against Peter Lieger in the main event, while Letourneau faced off against Kate Jackson in the co-main event.
Bellator 191 Main Card Fights
Michael McDonald vs Peter Lieger
Former UFC bantamweight title challenger stepped into the Bellator cage for the first time against relatively unknown French fighter, Peter Lieger. The fight was supposed to be at bantamweight but was changed to a catch weight fight when McDonald didn’t make weight. He also entered the cage for the first time in 17 months.
The first round was a very slow feeling out process. Both fighters were hesitant to engage, trying to learn the timing of their counterpart. McDonald did land a few jabs and leg kicks, while the Frenchman didn’t land much at all. The MMA Takeover scored the round 10-9 for McDonald.
The start of the second round was very similar to the first round. Lieger circled around the cage, while McDonald patiently looked to counter strike. With three minutes left in the round, Lieger rushed McDonald with a flurry. He attempted a takedown from the clinch, but McDonald counter with a hard whizzer. Lieger lunged at McDonald again but was taken down down by the American. McDonald briefly kept him down on the mat, until the Frenchman escaped. The two fighters tried to exchange on the feet with strikes, but found themselves battling for position in a Greco-Roman wrestling chest to chest position. After Lieger hit McDonald with a knee to the groin and there was a brief stop in action, McDonald landed a beautiful right uppercut that hurt Lieger as the round ended. The MMA Takeover scored the fight 10-9 for McDonald.
The two fighters got right into the clinch position, when McDonald tossed Lieger to the ground with a lateral drop. Lieger would get back to his feet and attempted to stuff a takedown attempt by McDonald with elbows to the side of McDonald’s head. The elbows cut McDonald open, but was unable to keep Lieger on his feet. McDonald took Lieger down with the double leg takedown. McDonald worked some lite ground and pound, while Lieger held on trying to get stood back up to the feet. With just over a minute left in the fight, Lieger popped up to his feet, but was taken down with another double leg takedown. Lieger would attempt to scramble to his feet, while McDonlald jumped to a guillotine, which was unsuccessful. Lieger held McDonald down for the last twenty seconds of the fight. The MMA Takeover scored the third round 10-9 for McDonald and the the fight 30-27 for McDonald.
Michael McDonald Beats Peter Lieger by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, and 30-27).
Valerie Letourneau vs Kate Jackson
Former UFC women’s strawweight title challenger, Valerie Letourneau made her long-awaited Bellator debut on Friday. She was originally scheduled to face Emily Ducote in July, but an injury forced Letourneau to withdraw from the fight. Letourneau faced off with Ultimate Fighter veteran and England’s own, Kate Jackson.
The first round started off very slow. Both fighters tried fighting at range, but most swung at air. Occasionally Jackson would step into the pocket and throw strikes but Letourneau counters her strikes with a right hand. Jackson did very little with some kicks to the legs and body, while Letourneau attempted to counter with some push kicks. Not much action in the first round. The MMA Takeover scored it 10-10 for inactivity.
The action picked up more in the second round. Letourneau was patiently waiting to counter Jackson. When Jackson stepped in, Letourneau would land a small combination. This built the Canadian’s confidence, who started to press forward towards her opponent. Jackson shot a very sloppy double leg takedown, that took Letourneau down. Letourneau locked in a deep triangle choke, and while Jackson struggled to get out, Letourneau used the scramble to attempt an armbar. When Jackson wiggled out, Letourneau used the opportunity to get on top. Letourneau started to kick Jackson’s legs until the referee stood Jackson up. Jackson got aggressive to end the round but was hit by another 1-2 combination, and a nice left kick to the body. The MMA Takeover scored the round, 10-9 for Letourneau.
Letourneau continued to counter effectively in the third and final round. Jackson was beaten to the punch in almost every exchange. Jackson would continue to spring towards her opponent, but Letourneau would constantly find a home for her overhand right and an occasional kick to Jackson’s front leg. Letourneau kept this going until the fight was over. The MMA Takeover scored the third round 10-9 for Letourneau. The MMA Takeover scored the fight 30-28 for Letourneau.
The judges scored the fight for Letourneau. Valerie Letourneau beats Kate Jackson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, and 30-27).
Mohammad Yahya vs Ash Griffiths
Mohammed Yahya made history on Friday by being the first fighter from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to fight in Bellator. He took on England’s own Ash Griffiths.
Griffiths took Yahya down, and when he worked to his feet, he jumped to a guillotine. Yahya was able to pop his head out and started to rain down ground and pound. Griffiths attempted to roll away from the strikes but the UAE fighter followed him. Griffiths stopped rolling and just turtled up covering his head, while Yayha rained down strikes until the referee stopped the fight. Mohammad Yahya beats Ash Griffiths by 1st round TKO.
James Thompson vs Phil De Fries
The curtain-jerker of the main card of the night featured two well known British heavyweights. Thompson made his name by competing in Pride FC and Elite XC, while De Fries had a brief stay in the UFC.
De Fries immediately took Thompson down with a double leg takedown. Thompson worked to get to his feet but as soon as he did, De Fries leaped into a guillotine choke. Thompson fought the submission for a brief moment but eventually tapped out. Phil De Fries beats James Thompson by 1st round Submission (Guillotine Choke)