Bellator returned to live action for the first May card on Friday night, Bellator 258 from the Fightsphere inside Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.
It served as Bellator’s fourth card of 2021 since its April 2 return.
Fight Called Off:
One fight was withdrawn from the event on Friday, as an anticipated Logan Storley vs. Omar Hussein contest was postponed upon the latter not being medically cleared to compete.
All told, the final version of Bellator 258 featured an 11-fight card.
Of the 11 fights that made up the card, six ended in stoppages, resulting in a 54.5percent stoppage rate on the evening.
Since April 2, Bellator MMA has now presented 49 fights, with 22 ending in stoppages, resulting in a 44.8 percent stoppage rate across the promotion.
Exiting Friday night’s action, Sports Drink has now seen 398 MMA fights, with 206 ending in stoppages, resulting in a stoppage rate of 51.7 percent across the board.
The Fights Themselves:
Erik Perez vs. Blaine Shutt:
The Bantamweights got the action started as Erik Perez (20-8) battled Blaine Shutt (8-5) for the first fight of the evening.
Perez took control of the opening round, grappling with Shutt from the top position after reversing a takedown from the latter.
He then scored with repeated elbows from ground and pound in round two, nearly knocking Shutt out in the process.
Round three was a carbon copy of rounds one and two, as Perez continued to pepper Shutt with elbows from the ground and pound, mixing those up with knees to Shutt’s body from the clinch.
Although the bout went to the scorecards after 15 minutes, it was merely a formality, as Erik Perez scored the unanimous decision.
Weber Almeida vs. Johnny Soto:
Featherweights Weber Almeida (4-1) and Johnny Soto (4-1) were the third and fourth fighters to walk to the cage.
Almeida took the first round with a variety of shots against Soto.
Soto was able to reverse the script in round two, taking back position against Almeida, whose hands went to the mat multiple times—with Soto very nearly finishing him by rear-naked choke.
He then went back to the well in round three, again trying a rear-naked choke, which Almeida fought off for the second round in a row.
The judges returned a unanimous decision for Johnny Soto, who scored the victory in his Bellator MMA promotional debut.
Henry Corrales vs. Johnny Campbell:
The show reached its quarter-pole with this Bantamweight attraction between Henry Corrales (18-6), who moved down from Featherweight, and Johnny Campbell (21-13, one no-contest).
It was an evenly-matched affair throughout the first round-plus, with each man having his respective seminal moments.
Late in the second round, Campbell established some much-needed separation and providing the rear-naked choke submission after a Corrales knockdown for the first stoppage of the night.
No. 6 contender Johnny Eblen vs. Daniel Madrid:
Your first fight involving a ranked competitor took place here in its fourth prelim as sixth-ranked Johnny Eblen (8-0) fought Daniel Madrid (18-7) at Middleweight .
This one lasted a short time, as Eblen peppered Madrid with relentless ground and pound shots midway through the first round, scoring the knockout for the second stoppage in a row.
No. 2 contender Patchy Mix vs. Albert Morales:
As the Bellator 258 undercard began to wind down, it did so with this Bantamweight contest between second-ranked Patchy Mix (14-1) and Albert Morales (10-7-1).
While Morales scored with punches early in round two, Mix took him down via slam, advancing to a body-triangle submission hold, before landing ground and pound shots as a means of softening him up for a submission.
He then tried a rear-naked choke, to no avail, scoring with more ground and pound shots later in the second round.
Mix finally got that elusive submission in round three (arm-triangle) halfway through round three for stoppage number three on the night.
Co-Featured Prelim: Lorenz Larkin vs. Rafael Carvalho:
Any other night, this Middleweight bout between Lorenz Larkin (23-7) and Rafael Carvalho (16-6) could have been a main card fight, but on Friday, the fight was slotted as the co-featured prelim.
Larkin repeatedly scored with vicious elbows in round one, giving him the period.
Carvalho became the aggressor in round two, evening the fight.
Despite a slowed pace in round three due to the fighters grappling in the clinch, Carvalho continued to apply the pressure on Larkin, who attempted a takedown late in round three.
Carvalho’s defense remained stout down the stretch, and this fight was decided by the judges.
After 15 minutes, Larkin scored the split decision.
Featured Prelim: No. 7 contender Josh Hill vs. No. 4 contender Raufeon Stots:
Your first all-ranked bout took place as the featured undercard contest, a Bantamweight fight between seventh-ranked Josh Hill (20-4) and fourth-ranked Raufeon Stots (16-1).
It was all Stots, all the time in round one, as he controlled the period with grappling from back mount.
Stots continued to exploit Hill’s weaknesses throughout round two, including scoring with strikes from the clinch.
Late in the third round, Stots dumped Hill for the second time in the fight, thus removing any lingering doubt as to who the winner was going to be—Stots by unanimous decision.
No. 2 contender Michael Page vs. No. 6 contender Derek Anderson:
A contracted catchweight of 175 lbs. kicked off main card action as second-ranked Michael Page (19-1) fought sixth-ranked Derek Anderson (17-4).
MVP was the aggressor in the early going of round one, peppering Anderson with combos.
He later was backed up into the clinch by Anderson in the hopes of landing a takedown, to no avail, before MVP landed a vicious kick to break Anderson’s nose in the process, following it up with right-handed shots, but Anderson recovered from the stunning shots—but due to the broken nose from the kick by MVP, Anderson was advised to not progress to the second round by the fight doctor.
The first-round TKO at the end of the period was the fourth stoppage on the evening.
No. 3 contender Patricky Pitbull vs. Peter Queally:
Your last bout prior to Friday’s co-main attraction saw Lightweight action between third-ranked Patricky Pitbull (23-10) and Peter Queally (13-5-1).
Pitbull attacked Queally’s leg repeatedly and relentlessly in round one, giving him hematoma and limiting his movement.
Queally returned fire in round two with punches, giving Pitbull a cut on his eye as he pawed at it during the round.
This cut bled continually throughout round two and Pitbull’s cornermen did not halt the bleeding adequately enough in the break between rounds two and three, a cut worsened by elbow strikes (all of which were legal) landed by Queally.
Due to the severity of the cut, the fight doctor waved off the fight —with Queally winning by TKO at one second into round three.
Co-Main Event: Bellator MMA World Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Quarterfinal No. 4: Anthony Johnson vs. Jose Augusto Azevedo:
Your co-headliner saw the last piece in the Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight Grand Prix semifinal puzzle get filled in as Anthony Johnson (23-6) made his Bellator MMA promotional debut against tournament alternate Jose Augusto Azevedo (7-3).
Augusto took this fight on a week’s notice amid the injury withdrawal of Yoel Romero.
Johnson’s movement told the story in the first round, as Augusto saw his right hand get injured by Johnson’s strikes.
Johnson smelled blood in the water, as he returned fire with a flurry of punches and kicks—but Augusto was able to flip the script with left-handed shots of his own before Johnson dumped him for the first takedown of the fight.
Round two only lasted 90 seconds as Anthony Johnson unloaded on a vicious right-handed shot to Augusto’s jaw—finishing the fight with one hammerfist shot for the knockout, the sixth and final stoppage of the card.
Johnson now advances to battle Vadim Nemkov in the semifinals of the Grand Prix this July.
The semifinals are set:
With this result, the semifinals, due to take place during Bellator 262 and Bellator 263, are now set.
Here are the pairings:
Ryan Bader vs. Corey Anderson
Vadim Nemkov vs. Anthony Johnson (for Nemkov’s Bellator MMA World Light Heavyweight Championship)
Main Event: Bellator MMA World Bantamweight Championship: [C] Juan Archuleta vs. No. 1 contender Sergio Pettis:
The final act of Bellator 258 saw the promotion’s World Bantamweight Championship at stake between titleholder Juan Archuleta (25-3) and top-ranked contender Sergio Pettis (21-5).
Archuleta was in the zone right from his walkout, singing along to his entrance song, Mary Jane by Rick James.
Just as Anthony Johnson’s movement told the story in the co-main, Archuleta’s movement told the tale in round one of the headliner—yet Pettis was the aggressor in round one.
Archuleta scored two takedowns in the first two rounds, but was unable to advance on either, as Pettis reversed on the first and got up on his feet on the second.
Pettis repeatedly fired off jabs throughout the first two rounds, scoring with counterpunches for seemingly every Archuleta shot.
The third round saw the fight turn into a kickboxing match.
Each man was matching his opponent’s offensive prowess shot-for-shot, with Pettis maintaining a slight edge during the early portion of round three.
As the fight moved to its championship rounds, Archuleta took round three after landing the more impactful shots—with Pettis not having much of an answer in the third.
Although Archuleta landed a takedown early in round four, Pettis quickly returned to his feet—and Pettis proved to be the aggressor in that period.
Archuleta needed a finish against Pettis to defend the belt inside the final round, but he wouldn’t get it.
This one went to the cards after 25 minutes—with Pettis becoming the new champion at 135 lbs.