Bellator MMA’s first tentpole event of 2016 went down Friday, February 19th at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas – and whether you expected a circus or a nostalgia trip, chances are you were curious. In the main event, MMA legends and former UFC pioneers Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock met for the third time, with Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Gracie fighting for the first time in over eight years, while Shamrock entered the bout coming off a knockout to Kimbo Slice — who also appeared on the card.

That fight featured the relatively unknown Dada5000, real name Dhafir Harris, who was 2-0 as a pro entering the night. However, he and Kimbo Slice had an ongoing feud stemming from their street fighting days, which made this fight something of a grudge match. Would it be any good? Well, there was a good shot at a stand and bang, swing for the fences type brawl at least.

Elsewhere on the card, former light heavyweight champion Emanuel Newton was looking to prevent a three-fight skid against Linton Vassell, Melvin Guillard looked to get back in the win column against Derek Campos, and Justin Wren once again went to war for the forgotten.

Check below for a main card summary and full results from the event.


Ken Shamrock vs. Royce Gracie

Round 1 — Shamrock and Gracie could have danced a waltz in their main event bout, the third meeting of the two, and still came off looking stellar after the Slice/Dada 5000 debacle. Shamrock’s Lions Den inspired into video was actually quite entertaining. The bell sounded and they met in the middle. Gracie flashed a front kick, then connected with a side kick. Gracie apparently opted to fight without his hands wrapped. The pair circled and Shamrock threw a kick of his own. Leg kicks landed twice from Gracie. Shamrock closed distance but couldn’t make anything happen. Big knee by Gracie and Shamrock was in pain, motioning as if he was hit low. Gracie followed up with hammer fists and the ref waved off the fight. A replay showed the knee was clean to the head but an earlier knee caught Shamrock in the groin. Shamrock was incensed about the knee after, yelling “he did it on purpose” repeatedly.

Royce Gracie def. Ken Shamrock by TKO, Round 1, 2:22

Kimbo Slice vs. DADA 5000

Round 1 — The Pride/pro wrestling style entrances got the crowd ready for, as Bellator called it, one of the two main events of the evening. Kimbo Slice looked to settle an old score against Dada 5000, who actually had to cut weight to make the 265lb limit. The two fighters met in the middle with Kimbo being quicker to the party. Some trash talking and Kimbo baited Dada in then caught him by surprise with a takedown. Kimbo worked to maintain top control has Dada simply held on and tried to roll side to side. Seconds ticked away as the fans voiced their displeasure and Big John for some reason let it continue without a standup. More lay and pray until finally Dada tried to get up and Kimbo briefly wound up on his back. It was back to the feet then, and Dada was warned for holding the shorts. They clinched and Kimbo threw a knee. Dada 5000 then leaned up against Kimbo along the cage, and Big John eventually split them up, much quicker than on the ground. A series of punches were exchanged next with neither man connecting clean followed by more clinching against the fence. Kimbo moved forward with a hook, and Dada looked to be tiring with thirty seconds left in the ground. Big hook by Kimbo misses, and he eats a counter as the round ends. It wasn’t Slice vs. Alexander ugly but it wasn’t good.

Round 2 — Big John warned Dada 5000 between rounds for not being in the right starting position. They come out swinging wildly and it looked every bit a backyard brawl – sloppy and slow. They clinched for a breather. Kimbo took Dada down under a minute in and Dada briefly had him in a guillotine position, almost as if pulling guard. Slice stood up and let Dada 500 back to his feet. Kimbo with big slow hooks, then an uppercut in the clinch. A takdown was next for Slice and Dada toppled over like a felled tree. At that point the two pretty much laid alongside the cage catching their breath, and Big John split them up. Dada then ate several big lefts from Slice, who managed to evade a few counters. They clinched along the fence and Big John again had to restart the action. Slice looked barely able to stand with two minutes left, but somehow managed to mount Dada who basically laid down for a nap. Big John, possibly a sadist, forced them up again, though Dada was slow to his feet and had to lean against the fence for support.  Dada landed a left hook on Slice, but both men seemed too gassed to attempt a finish and it went to the third.

Round 3 — Apparently both fighters had to be helped off their stools to start the round. Poor stools. Dada landed some punches then ate a solid counter from Kimbo, maybe his best punch of the fight. A minute or so of the slowest punches in history followed, and then Dada 5000 went down. Not from a punch, but from sheer exhaustion, and the fight was waved. Does that count as a TKO? Can anyone really be considered a winner in that fight? Most of the punches in the third were slow motion and hit air. Then one man fell over.

Kimbo Slice def. DADA 5000 by TKO, Round 3, 1:32

Melvin Guillard vs. Derek Campos

Round 1 — Melvin Guillard came out swinging and throwing elbows but was wobbled badly by a Campos counter and came very close to being stopped before they crashed to the mat. Things slowed then after a whirlwind opening thirty seconds. Campos maintained top control, and there’s a question as to how well Guillard had recovered, though he managed to be fairly active trying to escape. Campos however managed to throw some heavy punches from the top and looked to land a huge uppercut as Guillard got back to his feet. Back in the center of the cage, Melvin had his hands down squaring off with Campos, and the two looked to find an opening. Campos threw some wide, hard shots and Guillard started improving his movement, keeping space and landing kicks towards the end of the first. What a round.

Round 2 — Campos opened with a side kick, Guillard then got caught against the fence by a number of shots and the ref started taking a close look. More looping hooks by Campos and Guillard was almost out on his feet; the ref waved it off as Guillard went down. What a war!

Derek Campos def. Melvin Guillard by TKO, Round 2, 0:32

Emanuel Newton vs. Linton Vassell

Round 1 — The first round saw things open with a leg kick then immediately a low blow connected on Vassell. There was a very brief stoppage, then the fighters got back to action exchanging kicks. Vassell shot in and took Newton down; the Hardcore Kid quickly worked back up. Before long Vassell had dragged him back down again and was looking for a choke but didn’t have a ton of room to work against the cage. Still Vassell earned a lot of top time with Newton unable to escape from the bottom. Newton gave up his back halfway through the round, and things were looking a lot like the first fight between the two. While Newton would stave off several submission attempts, he couldn’t regain his feet until the final minute or so of the round, and wasn’t able to get off much offense.

Round 2 — In the second Newton looked to keep things standing, using some sliding steps and showing better footwork than in the first. He scored a couple of leg kicks early, only to have another low blow connect. This led to a longer stoppage, and an exchange of punches on the feet once the action was restarted. Vassell used his reach well, while Newton seemed the quicker of the two by a slight margin. Newton was able to stave off a takedown in the second then land a suplex and transition to the top, looking much more comfortable than in the first round. Another strong takedown by Newton followed. Though Vassell worked his way back up Newton pressed him up against the cage, but during the action there was another low blow suffered by Vassell. A point was taken and the action resumed after a sizable break. Vassell seemed obviously uncomfortable to finish out the round.

Round 3 — The third started with Newton needing to think about a finish due to the point deduction, though a draw was in the cards as well given how dominant he was in the second. In any case, never trust the judges. Vassell stuffed a takedown by Newton just under the four minute mark, but moments later Newton was able to muscle him down.  Vassell worked back up, and Newton pressed the action against the fence in a carbon copy of the latter half of the second round. Newton looked for a single and the two went into the spin cycle, reversing several times alongside the cage. Newton looked to be tentative about knees and kicks along the fence as a result of the point deduction for the low blow in the second. With about ninety seconds to go Vassell managed to drag Newton down, and maintained top control, throwing in some short punches, for the remainder of the round. Would the point deduction change things?

Linton Vassell def. Emanuel Newton by unanimous decision (30-26, 29-27, 29-27)

Daniel Pineda vs. Emmanuel Sanchez

Round 1 — The two fighters came out swinging strong, but Pineda managed to take things to the ground after about thirty seconds. Sanchez managed to roll out of a dangerous position, and secured top control, landing a few hammer fists before Pineda exploded back to his feet. With three minutes remaining in the first round they circled again in the center of the cage, but again, after some feeling out, Pineda switched to the takedown and dragged things back to the mat. Pineda looked to be working for an arm triangle or kimura, then worked for an arm-bar as Sanchez escaped out the back door, only to lose it. The submission clinic continued as Pineda worked for a calf slicer, but again Sanchez escaped. Pineda displayed a smooth ground game throughout the round and maintained top control as the round closed.

Round 2 — The second round continued the action with Pineda once again taking things to the mat and working to secure a submission. Pineda was the fresher fighter, while Sanchez seemed slower to escape in this round, and resorted to throwing elbows from the bottom and hanging on to his opponent. With ninety seconds to go the ref stood up a relatively active Pineda; the restart gave Sanchez a reprieve with which he was able to secure a bit of top time of his own. However after scoring a bit of ground and pound Pineda rolled into a knee-bar attempt before both men wound up back on the feet. Pineda scored one last takedown to end the round.

Round 3 — Sanchez entered this round most likely needing a stoppage, and while Pineda looked good early, Sanchez started coming on in the third. By the halfway mark Sanchez managed to push Pineda up against the cage and land some heavy blows, opening up his opponent’s right eye. Sanchez then dragged Pineda down and locked both hooks in on the exhausted fighter, and after contemplating a rear naked choke Sanchez spun around into top control only to allow Pineda to get back up. With under a minute to go, Sanchez landed a solid right but it was too late as Pineda was able to escape the round, fighting off Sanchez the entire time. Would the judges recognize the submission attempts of Pineda or the ground strikes of Sanchez?

Daniel Pineda vs. Emmanuel Sanchez def. Daniel Pineda by split decision (28-29, 29-27, 29-28)



Main Card

Royce Gracie def. Ken Shamrock by TKO, Round 1, 2:22
Kimbo Slice def. DADA 5000 by TKO, Round 3, 1:32
Derek Campos def. Melvin Guillard by TKO, Round 2, 0:32
Linton Vassell def. Emanuel Newton by unanimous decision (30-26, 29-27, 29-27)
Daniel Pineda vs. Emmanuel Sanchez def. Daniel Pineda by split decision (28-29, 29-27, 29-28)
Preliminary Card (

Justin Wren def. Juan Torres by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jeremy Mahon def. Davis Sylvester by TKO, Round 2, 4:22
Charlie Ontiveros vs. James Christopherson
Clovis Hancock def. Ruben Esparza by submission (Rear-naked choke), Round 3, 1:26
Adrian Yanez def. Ryan Hollis by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Isaac Villanueva def. Richard Knepp by TKO, Round 1, 0:42
Mike Trinh def. Joe Zamora by submission (arm-bar), Round 1, 3:49
Jason Langellier def. Anthony Ivy by submission (D’arce choke), Round 1, 2:09
Manny Lozoya  def. Jake Norsworthy by submission (Guillotine), Round 1, 2:33
Leomana Martinez vs. Casey Jones
Chris Soliz vs. Alex Macedo
Jonathan Davis vs. Shawn Solis
Hunter Scott-Gregg vs. Ricardo Deluque

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.