Now that there have some been changes in Bellator MMA, one thing still presents itself to the upper tier promotion. It’s all about the trilogies, folks. In the second fight between Patricio “Pitbull” Freire and Pat Curran, we saw an all-out war that begs to see another. Pitbull outlasted Curran in a five round unanimous decision to take home the featherweight title on Friday night's Bellator 123. Other victorious participants from the night include King Muhammed "Mo" Lawal with an impressive victory over gifted striker Dustin Jacoby. For a night filled with tons of combat sports action, Bellator was not denied their rightful place at the table and really pulled off an entertaining event.
While some may have booed the initial stages and feeling out by Pitbull Freire (22-2 MMA, 10-2 BMMA) and Pat Curran (20-6 MMA, 10-3 BMMA), by the end of the 5th they were all standing and applauding. In what may go down as one of the top fights of 2014, Freire and Curran went toe to toe making a case for the each fighter as the rounds were won by slim margins. While we believed the advantage belonged to Pitbull the majority of the fight, round 2 was won at the end by Curran with some devastating flying knees. Outside of the 2nd, you could say the 3rd round was a pick'em, but that was until Pitbull was able to drop Curran for the second time in the match.
In the end, when it was shown that Freie out-struck Curran, it was easy to see he would pull off the victory. Pitbull not only out pointed him, but he landed more significant shots and was even able to score a takedown. Curran does what he always does. He went through multiple combinations that set him up for some vicious knees at Patricio at all night. By the time we reached the championship round, you would have thought Pat had the advantage since Pitbull usually gasses early, but that was not the case this time around. Pitbull had a more planned out and detailed attack then last time and worked his gameplan tremendously. What will Scott Coker do next for these two guys from here on? A third fight is a must and it has pay-per-view material written all over it. Great fight and great win for Pitbull.
King "Mo" Lawal (13-4 MMA, 5-3 BMMA) is looking to revitalize his career in Bellator with a new contract and a new fire under his belly. Facing the talented striker Dustin Jacoby (10-3 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) may not have been the answer we were looking for to see if he is back on track but was still impressive nonetheless. In a match that saw both fighters in rough waters, Mo was able to out-duel the Glory kickboxer after it seemed as if he may be upset. Initially the fight started in Jacoby’s favor as he landed some pin-point shots and almost finished the fight a few times including once with an upkick. King was stumbled a few times but held on and delivered a few bombs as well. What impressed us the most about Mo’s performance is he really did a good job of mixing it up. That caused Dustin, who lacks big stage experience, to hesitate and think a little more than maybe he wanted as he missed many chances to finish this fight. The resilience of Mo prevailed and it was nice to see him get a win by TKO due to ground and pound. It’s the King Mo we always want to see in the cage and here's to hope that we see that continue.
The rest of the main card saw a great submission victory of Cheick Kongo (22-9-2 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) over Lavar Johnson (18-10 MMA, 1-3 BMMA). Bobby Lashley welcomed himself into Bellator with a bang, providing his own first round submission over Josh Burns. Could we possibly see the first pro wrestling and MMA champion in the near future? For those wondering how serious he would take the sport if you saw the fury of his repeated submission attempts, you would know. It was great to see Tamdan McCrory (12-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) return back to the cage after a 5 year hiatus and have an unbelievable finish over hometown favorite Brennan Ward (9-3 MMA, 5-3 BMMA).
It was night filled with finishes that proved to be one you could not turn from. Up next is Bellator 124 which features a main event light heavyweight title fight between Emanuel Newton and Joey Beltran.
Here are the full results from Bellator 123:
Patricio Freire def. Pat Curran via unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46) – to win featherweight title
Muhammed Lawal def. Dustin Jacoby via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 1:13
Tamdan McCrory def. Brennan Ward via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:21
Bobby Lashley def. Josh Burns via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 3:54
Cheick Kongo def. Lavar Johnson via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:27
Pete Rogers def. Phillipe Martins via knockout (strikes) – Round 1, 0:11
Blair Tugman def. Brandon Fleming via unanimous decision
Mike Mucitelli def. Mark Griffin via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 0:37
Dan Cramer def. Perry Filkins via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Scott Cleve def. Matt Bessette via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Josh Diekmann def. Mike Wessel via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:47
Steve Garcia def. Kin Moy via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
Rico DiSciullo def. Marvin Maldonado via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)