By Paul Fontaine, WrestlingObserver.com
The Big Takeaway – Brandon Halsey dominated a man he outweighed by at least 30 pounds in Kendall Grove to officially vacate the Bellator Middleweight title
Also, Eduardo Dantas probably earned a Bantamweight title shot with a decision win over Mike Richman
And Darrion Caldwell kept his undefeated record intact with a win over Rafael Silva.
Ricky Rainey (11-3) 2nd round KO over Jesse Juarez
Virgil Zwicker (14-4-1) !st round KO over Razak Al-Hassan
Jordan Parsons (11-1) 3rd round sub over Julio Cesar
Joe Taimanglo (21-6-1) 3rd round KO over Antonio Duarte
Ben Reiter (16-0-1) UD over Benji Radich
Bantamweights Darrion Caldwell (6-0) vs Rafael Silva (22-4)
Announcers are burying Halsey for missing weight, while not even mentioning Richman. Interesting. Ox Baker gets the reffing duties for this opening fight and we’re underway live on Spike!
Caldwell with the first takedown 1:00 in. Silva with a footlock but Caldwell scrambles and gets out of it, retaining position. Silva keeping Caldwell in his guard but Caldwell landing hard punches from the top. Caldwell into side control at 3:30. Silva going for the footlock again at 4:00 but Caldwell scrambles again and back into side control. Easy 10-9 Caldwell
Caldwell goes for a takedown at 1:45 but Silva grabs a guillotine and pulls him down. Caldwell pops up and ends up on top at 2:30. Caldwell landing hard punches and elbows from the top. Silva working for a leglock from the bottom again. Silva turned it around and gained top position at 3:45. Caldwell got a guillotine from the bottom but let it go quickly. Really close round, 10-9 Silva
Jimmy gave the last round to Caldwell. Caldwell with a takedown at 1:45. Caldwell continuing to hold down through three minutes, doing just enough to avoid a standup. Ref stood them up at 3:30. Silva is not pressing at all even though he clearly needs a finish at this point. Caldwell with another takedown at 4:15. Silva made it to his feet right before the bell but clear 10-9 Caldwell, 29-28 overall
WINNER: DARRION CALDWELL (7-0) UD 29-28 X 3
Caldwell asked for a title shot after the fight but I didn’t see anything in that fight to make me think he’s ready for it. Michael Chandler was interviewed between fights to hype up his fight with Derek Campos on the Kimbo-Shamrock undercard. He was asked for a prediction on the Kimbo fight and just predicted a knockout but wouldn’t say for whom.
Dan Henderson in the crowd checking out the action here in Temeculah.
Welterweights Fernando Gonzalez (23-13) vs Curtis Millender (7-1)
Gonzalez is the huge crowd favorite here. Big John is the ref. Millender is five inches taller than Gonzalez and looks to be about 20 lbs heavier in the cage. Millender keeping his distance in the first couple minutes, landing punches and kicks from outside. Gonzalez with a takedown attempt at 2:30 but stuffed. Gonzalez backed up Millender with a series of punches at 3:30. Millender’s standup does not look good at all. Gonzalez took his back and took him down right before the bell and likely stole the round. 10-9 Gonzalez
Jimmy gave round 1 to Millender but I’ve been scoring differently than him all night. Very close round though and a lot of them have been tonight, including the prelims. Gonzalez really starting to press the action now. Millender with a takedown out a clinch at 3:30. Gonzalez quickly up but eats a couple punches on the way, including one that cut him. Millender starting to connect with leg kicks. Another really close round. 10-9 Millender for the takedown
Jimmy’s got Millender up two rounds. Gonzales with a knockdown off a kick and synchs a guillotine at 1:00 but he’s on the bottom. He gets the submission quickly though.
WINNER: FERNANDO GONZALEZ (24-13) by submission
Gonzalez was confident that he was winning but wanted a finish anyways. He asked for a title shot due to his winning streak and honestly he’s probably earned it. Great career comeback for a guy who was floundering in the California regionals before last year.
Some interviews hyping up an Amir Khan fight in two weeks on Spike. That’s a name I know, I may watch it. Nice video package building up the next fight. Both guys think they get a title shot with a win. Richman needs to prove he can make 135 before they even think of scheduling him for a title fight.
Cung Le in the crowd. Great former Strikeforce fighter he’s identified as. Technically correct.
Bantamweights Eduardo Dantas (16-4) vs Mike Richman (18-5)
Michael Bell is the referee. These two hate each other and do not touch gloves. Dantas with a takedown 5 seconds in. Richman right back up. Another takedown by Dantas at 1:00. Richman back up at 2:00. Dantas looks to be cut under his left eye but gets another takedown at 2:30. Dantas pulls them both up at 3:15. Both guys landing kicks but not very hard and not very often. Richman backs Dantas up with punches right before the end. 10-9 Dantas
Cheick Kongo also in the house in advance of his fight next month on the St. Louis card. Richman stalking Dantas at the start of the round. Dantas with a takedown attempt at 1:30 but Richman grabs his neck for a guillotine. He lets it go quickly. Another couple of takedown attempts, both stuffed by Richman. Richman continuing to press the action through 3 minutes. Dantas continuing to try for takedowns and not even close on them anymore. Richman with another sprawl to defend a takedown at 4:30 and continuing to stalk Dantas for the last 15 seconds. 10-9 Richman
For once, Jimmy as the same score I do. Seems pretty obvious to be fair. Dantas gets a takedown 1:00 in. It’s usually Richman that gasses out but he doesn’t show signs of it yet. Dantas basically doing the lay and pray and Richman landing punches from the bottom. Dantas starts to lands punches and elbows at 2:30. Dantas cut has opened up even more. Richman to his feet at 3:00. Dantas shoots for a takedown but Richman sprawls. Dantas tried for a few more takedowns and defended every time by Richman. Round could go either way. Probably 10-9 Dantas
WINNER: EDUARDO DANTAS (17-4) by UD 29-28×3
Grove with a nice promo before the fight. I’m gonna #$%#ing bite your face off. Prove me wrong, muthaf***er. I like his moxy but don’t like his chances.
World Middleweight Title Fight (for Grove):
Champion Brandon Halsey (8-0) vs Kendall Grove (21-14)
Mike Beltran is the ref for the main event and he even sounds like Ox Baker when giving instructions to the fighters. Halsey with a takedown right away and right into full mount. Gets a head and arm choke from the top and Grove’s in big trouble. Grove fights it off but gives up his back. Halsey landing killer punches from behind. Grove blocking some of them. Halsey stands up at 2:15 but Grove stays on his back. Grove with a leglock attempts but Halsey back into his guard. Halsey going for a leglock now. Grove to his feet but Halsey still has the leglock on. Grove to the ground and Halsey stands up and then back down and takes Grove’s back. Halsey landing hard hammer fists from behind. If he doesn’t finish him, he could punch himself out. Halsey to his feet at 4:45 and Grove follows him. Grove chasing him in the last 15 seconds and lands a head kick. 10-9 Halsey, really almost a 10-8
Announcers really putting over that the longer the fight goes, the better Grove’s chances are and he definitely looks better to start the round. Groves defends a takedown attempt at 2:30 and pulls guard. Halsey postures up and lands a couple hard punches from the top. Halsey back into the guard and not nearly as active as in round 1 but still controlling Grove. Halsey into side control at 4:15. Clear 10-9 for Halsey but much closer.
Halsey with an early takedown and into half guard. Grove with a triangle attempt at 2:00 but Halsey defended it easily and took Grove’s back and got a neck crank. Grove defended it and got out quickly. Groves works back to guard. Halsey not doing much at all from the top this round. Ref stands them up at 3:45. Halsey immediately shoots for a takedown and gets it. Grove briefly had an armbar but couldn’t keep it. Round ends with Halsey on top. 10-9 Halsey
This is the first time Halsey’s been past the first round. He rocked Grove with a punch early but Grove with a standing guillotine. Halsey out quickly. Halsey with a takedown 45 seconds in. Halsey takes his back and landing hard punches that aren’t being defended at all. Grove grabs an arm but Halsey powers out of it. Halsey landing power punches from behind and gets back mount. Ref finally stopped it. Beltran should’ve been reffing Hunt/Miocic last week.
WINNER: BRANDON HALSEY (9-0)
NEW MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION……no one
Looked like Halsey was going to get a post-fight interview but they cut away and they’re going to spike.com for the …..post-lims?
Thanks for joining me tonight. I’m told ROH was really great so I’ll probably go watch that now!