Phil Davis and Lyoto Machida went to the judges once again.
The former light heavyweight champions met in a rematch from their UFC 163 battle over seven years ago in the main event of Belaltor 245 Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Davis earned a unanimous decision that was mired with controversy in the first meeting.
After spending another 15 minutes together, Davis took a commanding lead in the series in another close affair.
Both fighters were very cautious early on as they each scored with singular leg and body kicks. Davis landed a nice head kick around the halfway point of the round that Machida ate, and then answered with one of his own. The kicking exchanges continued throughout the round while Davis was using a variety of feints to likely set up his wrestling in the later rounds.
Davis opened up the second round with a hard kick to the body. “Mr. Wonderful” would land to the legs of Machida as well, almost attempting to beat the former UFC champion at his own game. Davis continued to land hard kicks to the body of his opponent, while Machida had a head kick blocked heading into the final two minutes. Davis would land a right land that got Machida’s attention and forced, what looked to be, a slip by Machida. Davis would catch a Machida body kick and nearly got a takedown as the round ended. Machida clearly got away with a fence grab or two.
The pacing didn’t change much to begin the final stanza. Both Davis and Machida scored with hard leg kicks. With just under three minutes to go, Machida landed a clean one-two combination, followed by a left hand. After Davis lands a right hand, Machida lands a leg kick, answered by Davis. Final minute of the fight and Machida counters a Davis leg kick with a big right hand. Another hard leg kick by Machida has changed the momentum a bit. High kick lands by Machida right before the final bell.
In the end, Davis improved to 2-0 in the series via split decision.
The co-main event saw the long-awaited Bellator debut of Cat Zingano as she took on Gabrielle Holloway. The opening round saw both ladies exchange big shots early. Zingano was able to land a hard takedown with just over a minute to go and spent the rest of the round on top.
After another big round in the second for Zingano, Holloway reversed fortunes in the third round. After Zingano landed an early takedown, Holloway got back to her feet and then ended up in her own full mount position, landing a flurry of elbows before Zingano swept and got back on top. Holloway tried to get back to her feet one last time, but Zingano dragged her back down, took her back and landed a barrage of strikes until the final toll of the bell.
Zingano earned the decision with a pair of 30-26 scorecards and a 29-27.
Highly touted prospect Ed Ruth returned to the middleweight division for the first time in nearly three years, but Taylor Johnson didn’t give him a warm welcome by submitting Ruth via leg lock in just under a minute.
The main card opener between Raymond Daniels and Peter Stanonik ended in the night’s second no contest finish due to unintentional groin strikes. Daniels landed consecutive kicks below the belt that left Stanonik writhing in agony as referee Jason Herzog waved the fight off.
Check out full Bellator 245 results below:
Phil Davis def. Lyoto Machida via split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)
Cat Zingano def. Gabrielle Holloway via unanimous decision (29-27, 30-26 x2)
Taylor Johnson def. Ed Ruth via submission (heel hook) (R1, 0:59)
Raymond Daniels vs. Peter Stanonik ruled no-contest (two unintentional shots to groin) (R2, 1:00)
Alex Polizzi def. Rafael Carvalho via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Leslie Smith def. Amanda Bell via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Tyrell Fortune vs. Jack May declared no-contest (accidental knee to groin) (R1, 2:42)
Keith Lee def. Vinicius Zani via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)