Friday, May 20 Bellator MMA made its debut in Boise, Idaho at the CenturyLink Arena with Bellator 155: Carvalho vs. Manhoeff. In what promised to be an exciting card, newly crowned champion Rafael Carvalho would make his first title defense against the always dangerous veteran striker Melvin Manhoeff, looking to win gold in a big promotion at age 40. Could the ever-dangerous Manhoeff pull off the upset? Would the champ be lured into a stand-up brawl?

Elsewhere on the card, former featherweight champion Pat Curran squared off against former WSOF champion Georgi Karakhanyan in a bout that promised to provide a thrilling battle between two ex-divisional kingpins. Marloes Coenen would return to face Alexis Dufresne, marking the latter’s first bout since being dropped by the UFC following a pair of losses at bantamweight, and submission specialist Marcin Held would return to take on Dave Jansen. And in a rather interesting move, Joey Beltran returned to heavyweight to take on former Titan FC champ Chase Gormley.

Check back come fight time for full results and a main card recap!

MAIN CARD SUMMARY

Rafael Carvalho (c) vs. Melvin Manhoef – for the Bellator Middleweight Championship

Round 1 — Manhoef took a cautious approach to start against the longer, taller Carvalho. Carvalho used his reach early to keep Manhoef on the outside. A couple of high kicks by Carvalho made up the majority of the action through the first half of the round. Both men seemed hesitant and respectful of the other’s power. Big John then warned the two to get active. It didn’t help, and with the crowd voicing their displeasure, the round wound down with little action.

Round 2 — More feeling out followed to start the second, with Carvalho retreating quickly from every Manhoef attempt. Manhoef pressed forward and launched a big head kick that was blocked. A big body kick from Manhoef landed just over two minutes in. Carvalho began to press forward as Manhoef circled out of harm’s way. A leg kick landed by Carvalho. Manhoef would land several of his own with a minute left. A big knee landed on Manhoef towards the end of the round, but Big John called it a low blow, then Carvalho failed to break on the ref’s command. When the action was restarted Manhoef landed several more kicks until the bell sounded.

Round 3 — A good combo by Manhoeff to start the round, but the action was stopped as Carvalho poked his opponent in the eye. Big John had warned him about leading with the open hand earlier, and warned him again. Carvalho then immediately did exactly the same thing and was given yet another warning, possibly due to it not making full contact. They tied up along the fence ninety seconds in. Manhoef managed to throw Carvalho down and land a punch, but Carvalho worked back up and scored a takedown. Manhoef got back up quickly and tried to separate along the cage. Carvalho landed a low knee during this sequence. Big John then had Carvalho’s cornermen come in to translate and gave Carvalho a final warning. As the action restarted, Manhoef landed a solid leg kick. Carvalho tried for a takedown against the cage while Manhoef fought him off, displaying surprisingly decent takedown defense. Off the break, Manhoef landed a decent uppercut. That took us to the bell.

Round 4 — The fourth would mark the first time in Manhoef’s career he had ever gone past the third round. Carvalho attempted to shoot and was sloppy, Manhoef tried for a head kick as he scrambled but missed.  Jumping knee by Carvalho allowed him to take Manhoef down; Carvalho managed to move to side control. Carvalho attempted some slicing elbows but didn’t work to advance position. Manhoef scrambled and exploded to his feet. A feint by Manhoef sent Carvalho backpedaling, clearly still concerned about Manhoef’s power. Carvalho threw some lazy jabs and an even lazier kick, which resulted in Manhoef pressing forward again and missing a spinning back kick. A leg kick would land, and Manhoef continued to stalk his opponent until the round ended.

Round 5 — Fans began cheering for Boise during the fifth round, as the action continued to be slim. Manhoef would manage to land a number of strikes, while Carvalho finally seemed to wake up and attempt to put together some offense, but missed badly with a flying knee. Carvalho clearly needed a finish at that point. Carvalho shot in under a Manhoef strike and worked for a takedown but Manhoef went right back to his feet. Another takedown and Manhoef almost had full mount. Yet another, and he was in Carvalho’s guard with two minutes remaining. Manhoef looked to be a little more active, but needed to avoid an upkick. Carvalho push kicked him off, then simply walked away, unwilling to engage. Big John again urged them to engage. Manhoef threw a head kick that was blocked. The clock wound down as the fans voiced their displeasure. Manhoef raised his arms at the end in victory, and was clearly the more active fighter. Carvalho’s performance was simply puzzling.

Rafael Carvalho def. Melvin Manhoef  by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) – for the Bellator Middleweight Championship

Pat Curran vs. Georgi Karakhanyan

Round 1 — Both fighters looked sharp to start, with Karakhanyan pressing forward, and Curran light on his feet and looking to counter. Georgi attempted a spinning back kick that missed. Curran answered with a leg kick. Karakhanyan missed a jumping knee. Another spinning kick by the Russian. Curran then caught him with a punch and dropped him, swarming with punches following a left that connected with Karakhanyan’s chin. From the bottom, Karakhanyan held on for dear life from the bottom while trying to clear his head. Curran worked to pass guard, but good defense by Karakhanyan ate up the clock. Curran briefly passed guard but his opponent scrambled and got out of danger; they quickly wound up back on the ground with Curran back in the guard when the bell rang to end the round.

Round 2 — The action quickly went back to the mat in the second with Curran in top control. After working to improve position he would try to take the back of Karakhanyan and manage to secure one hook. A second would follow. With half the round to go, Curran had lots of room to work. Karakhanyan managed to scramble free and somehow snuck into top position.  With a minute to go Karakhanyan was in the closed guard of Curran unable to make any sort of progress, and the ref stood them up. A couple of kick attempts from Karakhanyan, and the round ended.

Round 3 — The pair kept things standing to start the third. Karakhanyan would no doubt be looking for a finish, likely down two rounds. Punches and kicks were exchanged with Karakhanyan pressing the pace and getting the better of the early exchanges.  Curran then landed a jab/push on Karakhanyan’s chin that sent him scrambling to the cage wall, however as they went to the ground the Russian landed on top. Curran employed a closed guard. Curran looked to latch on to an arm which Curran scrambled trying to improve position. The fight would go the distance, with Karakhanyan perhaps stealing the third round.

Pat Curran def. Georgi Karakhanyan by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Dan Charles vs. Augusto Sakai

Round 1 — Sharp kicks by Sakai and answers by Charles started things off. Sakai demonstrated that he was the more dynamic striker early, but a huge low blow at the halfway point of the first round dropped Charles to he knees in considerable pain. Charles took some time while ref Big John warned Sakai, and the action was restarted. Less than a minute later, another low blow from Sakai as both fighters kicked at the same time. Sakai tried to protest, but the low blow clearly landed and landed hard. Big John proceeded to take a point, and restarted the affair again. Sakai seemed to move to head kicks following that, but what might have been his round was likely at least a 9-9.

Round 2 — Charles started the second a little more aggressive, no doubt fired up by the low blows. Kicks, punches, and even a jump kick were thrown before Sakai really got going. The action slowed a little at the midway point, but Charles continued to be light on his feet and stay out of range. A head kick by Sakai was blocked. The pair continued to circle. Charles tried to catch Sakai against the cage late in the round, but the bigger man escaped, and the action would go to a third.

Round 3 — A very active start to the third saw Charles briefly have Sakai on the mat, but Sakai was able to power right back to his feet while Charles scrambled to hold on. A hard kick to the side landed by Sakai, then a leg kick. Sakai seemed to go back to more active kicking as the third round went on and they moved further and further from the earlier low blows. Charles seemed to have a difficult time finding an answer to Sakai’s kicks, though he did manage to land a few push kicks. Sakai started to really press in the final minute, moving forward and landing punches. A front kick to the jaw hurt Charles with under thirty seconds to go. Sakai couldn’t capitalize, and they would go to the bell.

Dan Charles vs. Augusto Sakai ends in a majority draw (30-26, 28-28, 28-28)

Marloes Coenen vs. Alexis Dufresne

Round 1 — Dufresne went for a takedown right off the bell and took Coenen to the mat. Coenen quickly looked for an arm-bar. Dufresne escaped and maintained top control while Coenen looked for a kimura then a neck crank. Punches off the back from Coenen came next. Through the first half of the round, Dufresne maintained top control, but Coenen was the more active fighter, working from the bottom. At just over two minutes to go Coenen pulled off a slick sweep and took top position. However, Dufresne managed to catch her in a triangle, and as Coenen pulled out caught her arm for an arm-bar to which Coenen tapped! Huge upset!

Alexis Dufresne def. Marloes Coenen by submission (arm-bar), Round 1, 4:43

Joey Beltran vs. Chase Gormley

Round 1 — Gormley pressed the action early, utilizing his kicks and looking to find range with his jab. Beltran started a little slower, looking to land a jab of his own. Beltran landed a leg kick about ninety seconds in, then ate a decent punch a few moments later from Gormley. More kicks, low and high, followed from Gormley.  Gormley with a big overhand that missed. Beltran was pushed up against the fence by a combo and continued eating kicks while being stymied as far as his own offense. Beltran moving forward began landing punches, much to the approval of the crowd. Gormley answered back with a solid right hand, but Beltran seemed undeterred. He continued pressing forward until the bell sounded.

Round 2 — Gormley continued to keep his distance, mixing in kicks well. Beltran picked up where he left off in the first, but ate a hard leg kick that definitely stung. Beltran kept walking forward looking to find his spot, while Gormley connected with another big leg kick. The leg kicks were certainly the story through the first half. Beltran landed a right while Gormley fanned on his own shot. Beltran began landing to the body as well. Beltran with a big flurry as the round ended.

Round 3 — Big left by Beltran early in the third wobbled Gormley. Gormley, trying to recover, caught a kick from Beltran and shot in for the takedown. Beltran escaped early, and looked to keep pressing the action on the feet. Gormley began taking a more defensive approach, not allowing Beltran many openings. Beltran with big looping punches as the round wore down, and a solid shot to the body. Gormley was almost completely inactive to finish the fight.

Chase Gormley def. Joey Beltran by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

FULL RESULTS

Main Card

Rafael Carvalho def. Melvin Manhoef  by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) – for the Bellator Middleweight Championship
Pat Curran def. Georgi Karakhanyan by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Dan Charles vs. Augusto Sakai ends in a majority draw (30-26, 28-28, 28-28)
Alexis Dufresne def. Marloes Coenen by submission (arm-bar), Round 1, 4:43
Chase Gormley def. Joey Beltran by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Preliminary card (Spike.com)

Marcin Held def. Dave Jansen by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Joe Hamilton def. Tyler Freeland by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 1, 0:22
Veta Arteaga vs. Jackie Vandenburgh
Vince Morales def. Hamilton Ash by KO, Round 3, 2:32
Casey Johnson def. Brendan Raftery  by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 2, 1:16
Scott Thometz vs. Josh Tyler
Sean Powers vs.  Will Noland
Jesse Brock def.  Olly Bradstreet by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 3, 3:57

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.