On Friday, September 19th Bellator MMA held Bellator 125: Marshall vs. Manhoef from the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California.

In the main event of the evening middleweight sluggers went toe-to-toe. Melvin Manhoef faced off with Doug “The Rhino” Marshall. Marshall was fighting for the first time since his failed bid at Bellator’s middleweight title nearly one year ago. Before that TKO loss to Alexander Shlemenko Marshall was unbeaten in four bouts inside the Bellator cage with three knockouts. Manhoef was making his Bellator debut, but he has long been a fan favorite among hardcore MMA fans. Manhoef had a great run in K-1 and new Bellator president, Scott Coker was familiar with the Dutchman from his days as the Strikeforce president. Manhoef entered this bout  fresh off of a forty six second knockout of Evangelista Santos back in April.

In the co-main event of the evening Bellator mainstay, Brian Rogers faced Brazil’s Rafael Carvalho. “The Professional Predator” had been on a two fight skid,but he turned that all around with a highlight reel flying knee knockout of Adrian Miles at Bellator 119. Carvalho lost his professional debut, but has since won eight straight and has only been to the judges’ scorecards once in his nine fights.

The other two fights on the main card featured Martin Stapleton and Goiti Yamauchi faced off in a 149 pound catchweight fight and Bellator’s biggest heavyweight prospect, Raphael Butler faced Javy Ayala.

The four fight main card aired live on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET with the preliminary bouts airing on Spike.com at 7 p.m. ET.

Main Card Summary

With three straight first round knockouts a pair of heavy handed middleweights in Melvin Manhoef and Douglas Marshall look to keep the trend rolling in the night’s main event. Marshall looking to land the one punch knockout early as he comes storms forward with a flurry of haymakers before an inadvertent low blow from Manhoef forces the ref to call a pause to the action. Manhoef starts to unload his signature leg kicks against the cage before landing a picture perfect right hook to the temple of Marshall, sending him crashing to the canvas. The refereed quickly jumps in and saves Marshall from further damage giving Manhoef his 27th career knockout.

After injuries to his original two opponents, Brian Rogers enters the cage against Bellator newcomer Rafael Carvalho in the night’s co-main event. Rogers looks to get in close but Carvalho clinches up in the center of the cage. Rogers quickly breaks free and unloads a vicious combination before securing the powerful takedown. Carvalho manages to make it back to his feet and plants a hard knee to the body followed by a overhand right, which visibly stuns Rogers against the cage. Sensing blood Carvalho swarms in and unleashes a barrage of punches to his opponent’s unprotected skull, forcing the referee to call a stop to the action. Rogers immediately protests the stoppage as a visibly emotional Carvalho embraces his team.

Ayala throws a quick combinations and immediately press Butler against the cage. Ayala continues to work for position before lifting the towering Butler into the air and slamming him onto the canvas.  Without missing a beat Ayala slaps on the rear naked choke forcing Butler to tap. Cameras zoom in as the winner rises to his feet and unleashes a thunderous battle cry as blood pours out of his nose.

No touch of the gloves as Goiti Yamauchi and Martin Stapleton kick off the main card on Spike. Yamauchi almost immediately pulls guard and quickly begins to work hard for the omoplata before sweeping to back control and locking on the body triangle against the cage. Stapleton desperately tries defend the rear naked choke and actually manages escape on several occasion. But Yamauchi proves to be too much on ground as he sinks in the deep choke just before the opening round comes to an end.

Melvin Manhoef def. Doug Marshall by knockout. Round 1, 1:45
Rafael Carvalho def. Brian Rogers by TKO (punches). Round 1, 3:06
Javy Ayala def. Raphael Butler by submission (rear naked choke). Round 1, 1:03
Goiti Yamauchi def. Martin Stapleton by submission (rear naked choke). Round 1. 4:37
Joe Neal def. Paul Ruiz by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Matt Ramirez def. Oscar Ramirez by submission (armbar). Round 1, 0:42
Chris Honeycutt def. Aaron Wilkinson by TKO (punches). Round 2, 4:42
Julio Cesar Neves Jr. def. Poppies Martinez by TKO (flying knee & punches). Round 1, 2:16
Johnny Bonilla-Bowman def. Art Becerra by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Jesse Juarez def. Ron Keslar by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
George Zuniga def. Granson Clark by TKO (punches). Round 1, 0:34
Anthony Ruiz vs. Nate James [unaired]

About The Author

News Manager

José began his career as a mixed martial arts journalist while still enrolled at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. Since graduating in May 2013, he has attended dozens of high profile UFC fight cards as a credentialed member of the media, providing live cage side coverage through his articles and videos. His work has appeared on UFC.com, ArizonaSports.com and AZCentral. He is also currently one of the main contributors on Power MMA Show at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, one of the first all MMA radio shows on a major radio station.