On Friday, Oct. 4, Bellator hosted its 102nd event from the Visalia Convention Center in Visalia, Calif.

The night’s televised main card featured the semifinal rounds of the promotion’s heavyweight and middleweight tournaments, as well as the Summer Series bantamweight tournament final.

In the heavyweight bracket, a pair of recently-released UFC veterans made their promotional debuts as Cheick Kongo took on Mark Godbeer and Lavar Johnson clashed with Vinicius Queiroz. The bantamweight final featured surging Anthony Leone against dangerous Brazilian Rafael Silva, with each looking for a $100,000 prize and a shot against current champion Eduardo Dantas. Finally, the middleweight tournament finals were determined as Jason Butcher met Mikkel Parlo and Perry Filkins locked horns with  Brennan Ward.

The five-fight main card aired live on Spike TV beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Spike.com streamed the night’s preliminary card.

Kongo batters Godbeer with knees

Cheick Kongo scored a TKO victory over Mark Godbeer in his Bellator debut and punched his ticket to the heavyweight tournament final.

Both fighters came out ready to throw leather in the heavyweight main event. After both fighters failed to connect with early power punches, Kongo was able to drag Godbeer to the ground. Godbeer got back to his feet, but Kongo was able to keep him pressed against the cage until the referee separated the two big men due to a groin strike. Upon the reset Godbeer landed some decent shots coming forward, but Kongo again clinched and took the Englishman down. Godbeer wall walked once again, but Kongo kept his weight on and was able to score his third takedown of the round. For the majority of the final two minutes the fighters were in the clinch with Godbeer’s back against the fence.

Godbeer again looked to move forward and press the action at the beginning of round two. Kongo was still able to grab ahold of the less experienced fighter and stick to him like glue against the cage. Kongo was briefly on Godbeer’s back while standing and was able to land solid knees to the the thigh. Godbeer’s back was once again pressed against the cage and Kongo began to unload with knees and punches until the referee intervened.

Queiroz knocks out Johnson

Vinicius “Spartan” Queiroz scored a quick upset knockout over Lavar Johnson to advance to the heavyweight tournament finals.

The bout was over before it could even really get started. Queiroz landed a solid right hand that dropped Johnson flat on his face. Johnson disputed the stoppage, but he was clearly out.

Silva outworks Leone, claims Summer Series bantamweight tournament

Rafael Silva defeated Anthony Leone to earn a shot at Bellator bantamweight champion, Eduardo Dantas.

Both men looked to feel each other out to begin the first round of this tournament final matchup. Silva showed some great head movement and was able to move away from Leone’s power punches. Both fighters’ defense and speed seemed to neutralize each other on the feet until Silva scored an expertly-timed takedown. Silva was even able to take Leone’s back, but Leone defended Silva’s submission attempts rather easily.

The defensive striking battle continued in the early stages of the second round. Silva began to establish a bit of an offensive game, getting through Leone’s guard with a left jab. Silva was then able to continue his momentum by taking Leone down about halfway into the round. Silva was not very effective in terms of ground and pound, but he was able to pass the guard of Leone and eventually end up on his back, which is where they ended the round.

The final round was almost an exact duplicate of the second. Silva was able to land the more effective strikes with leg kicks. Silva was then able to take Leone down and control the round until referee John Mccarthy stood the two fighters up. Leone tried throwing power shots, but it proved to be just too little, too late.

Parlo dominates Butcher

Mikkel Parlo defeated Jason Butcher by decision to earn a spot in the finals of the middleweight tournament.

Butcher landed on a nice right hand and outside leg kick to begin the fight. The jiu-jitsu specialist then went for a takedown that Parlo was able to defend. Butcher was able to have brief success on his second takedown attempt, but Parlo was able to stay composed and get back to his feet. Butcher attempted to land some power strikes, but they were not very accurate. Parlo was able to catch a few of Butcher’s kick and land a solid left hand as he stepped forward. Parlo had more success in the striking department as he was able to keep the fight on the feet for the remainder of the first round.

Parlo landed two accurate right hands at the offset of the round, before he was backed off a bit by a solid Butcher uppercut. Butcher again attempted to get the fight into his comfort zone on the ground, but Parlo was having nothing of it. The takedown attempts appeared to tire Butcher a bit and Parlo was able to land a solid uppercut and overhand right.  Parlo was able to land a head kick, but was countered by a Butcher right hand in what was the most exciting exchange of the fight. Butcher still made attempts to goad Parlo into a ground fight, but was denied each time. Parlo landed some solid shots near the end of the round, but Butcher was able to survive.

Butcher marched forward to begin the final round, but was countered with some nice shots from Parlo. It was deja vu all over again as Parlo defended Butcher’s takedown attempts and shrugged off Butcher’s attempts to get him to jump into his guard. Parlo continued to be the more affective striker over the tired Butcher for the remainder of the round as the referee had to stand up Butcher’s attempts to pull guard.

Ward too much for Pacheco

Brennan Ward overcame a rough first round to earn a submission victory over middleweight tournament alternate, Joe Pacheco.

Both fighters came out looking to land strking combos early in round one. Ward landed a nice left and right hand, then was able to close the distance and take Pacheco down. Ward ended up right in half guard after the takedown, but Pachecho was quickly able to get back to full guard, wall walk, and get back to his feet. Pacheco was quickly able to turn the tables and earn a takedown of his own. Pacheco was able to connect with minimal ground and pound before Ward briefly got back to his feet. Pacheco was able to keep the pressure on and earn another takedown. Pacheco was able to advance to side control and stay there for the rest of the round.

Pacheco immediately shot for a takedown to begin the second round. Ward was able to defend the takedown and connect with a solid knee to the head on the break. Pacheco repeatedly went for takedowns that Ward was able to defend and eventually reverse and end up on top. Pacheco quickly advanced from side control to back mount, before giving the position up to stand back up. Ward began to get comfortable on his feet and landed a solid left hook to the body. Pacheco went for the takedown once again, but was caught in a power guillotine choke that would end his night via submission.

Cheick Kongo def. Mark Godbeer by TKO (strikes). Round 2, 2:04 – heavyweight tournament semifinal
Vinicius Queiroz def. Lavar Johnson by knockout (punch). Round 1, 0:23 – heavyweight tournament semifinal – heavyweight tournament semifinal
Rafael Silva def. Anthony Leone by unanimous decision (30-27 x3) – Summer Series bantamweight tournament final
Mikkel Parlo def. Jason Butcher by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) – middleweight tournament semifinal
Brennan Ward def. Joe Pacheco by submission (power guillotine choke). Round 2, 2:41  – middleweight tournament semifinal
Scott Cleve def. Isaac DeJesus by TKO (punches). Round 2, 3:14
Javy Ayala def. Thiago Santos by knockout (punch). Round 1, 5:00
Brandon Girtz def. Poppies Martinez by submission (armbar). Round 1, 1:20
Stephen Martinez def. Bryan Travers by technical submission (guillotine choke). Round 1, 0:56
Cain Carrizosa def. Juan Quesada by submission (triangle choke). Round 2, 4:51
Brandon Cash def. William Richie by TKO (failure to answer bell). Round 2, 5:00

Photo: Cheick Kongo (L) (James Law/Heavy MMA)

About The Author

Trey Downey
Staff Writer

A Central Florida native, Trey Downey's interest in MMA came after a trip to Blockbuster and the rental of UFC 47 on VHS. He has been blogging about the sport since 2011 and hosted a podcast called The TD Experience focusing on football and MMA (touchdowns and takedowns). Trey studied radio and television at the University of Central Florida and will soon be attending the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Trey enjoys watching sports, pro wrestling and is an avid runner.