At Bellator 192 in Los Angeles on Saturday night, Bellator MMA began the journey to crown a new heavyweight champion with first-round action of its Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament. Two of the biggest names in MMA history -- Chael Sonnen and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson -- battled one another in the main event of the evening to get the tournament rolling, and after these two went the full three rounds inside the cage, it's Sonnen who will be moving on after a grueling unanimous decision win over Rampage.
In the co-main event of the night, we were treated to what we knew would be a classic bout for the Bellator welterweight championship between champion Douglas Lima and challenger Rory MacDonald. Two of the best welterweight competitors in the world delivered on the big stage, but the night ended with a new champ as MacDonald was able to come away with the gutsy win after sustaining some serious damage from the former champ.
Here's a look at all the action that took place on the main card Saturday night during the Bellator 192 event.
Bellator 192 fight card/results
Chael Sonnen def. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson via unanimous decision
Bellator came right out of the gate to create some buzz for its heavyweight tournament by placing these two names in the main event, and in the first fight of the tournament, these two veterans went the distance. After three rounds of action, it was Sonnen who was able to hold off Jackson to earn the unanimous decision win.
No one expected this to be the fight of the night, and it certainly wasn't. Both fighters were spent by the end of the bout, but Sonnen was able to keep his wind long enough to continue to hold off any sort of onslaught that Rampage may have had in him. Most believed Sonnen would be able to come away with the easy win in this tournament opener, and he did just that.
Now, "The American Gangster" moves on in the Grand Prix bracket to face the winner of Fedor Emelianenko vs. Frank Mir.
Rory MacDonald def. Douglas Lima (c) via unanimous decision
Two of the best welterweight fighters in the world met one another on Saturday night as Bellator MMA welterweight champion Douglas Lima aimed to prove he is to be taken more seriously against a beloved challenger, Rory MacDonald, making just his second appearance with the promotion.
This was everything fight fans could have hoped for, and then some, as they fought to the distance. Methodically taking apart MacDonald with leg kicks throughout the early rounds and avoiding a full-on wrestling match, Lima proved that he belongs -- even though he really didn't have to. Once again, the toughness of MacDonald was on display, as he battled through a bloodied nose and a severely damaged shin from the Lima leg kicks to continuously get the upper hand on the champion.
In the end, this amazing battle probably could have gone to either man, but it was MacDonald who came away with the unanimous decision win on all three judges' scorecards. The former UFC star has now earned his first Bellator title and will look to continue rolling through the promotion.
Michael Chandler def. Goiti Yamauchi via unanimous decision
The battle between two of the best lightweights Bellator has to offer definitely delivered on Saturday night at Bellator 192. While Yamauchi put up a valiant effort and certainly had his moments despite a cut being opened up above his eye in the second round, the aggression of Chandler was just too much in this one. With the third and final round coming to a close after these two went back and forth with one another for the majority of the fight, Chandler started landing some vicious shots to the already-bloodied Yamauchi, putting the final stamp on his unanimous decision win.
A very entertaining bout between two impressive lightweights, but Chandler gets the win and possibly another title shot down the road.
Aaron Pico def. Shane Krutchen via second-round TKO
Aaron Pico continued his winning ways in Bellator after suffering a loss in his debut last year, earning his second consecutive first-round knockout. Saturday night in the second bout of Bellator 192, the 21-year-old came out with bad intentions, and he finished off his 33-year-old opponent, Shane Kruchten, not long after the fight got underway. After quickly knocking Kruchten to the mat in the first round, Pico landed a violent left-hook body shot that took the wind completely from his opponent and ended the bout at 37 seconds of Round 1.
Pico continues to rise in Bellator.
Henry Corrales def. Georgi Karakhanyan via unanimous decision
This fight had a little bit of everything, with the two trading punches for a good majority of Round 1, while Round 2 was more ground-based, with Karakhanyan trying to lock in the guillotine against the cage but to no avail; he could never really get his arms locked in on Corrales' neck. In the final seconds of the second round, though, the two stood and traded once again with Karakhanyan looking to land a huge headkick, but Corrales took it in stride. The third and final round had decidedly less action than the first two, with the nod more than likely going to Corrales for getting the better of Karakhanyan on the ground to begin the round while landing a few strikes while standing later in the round as well.
Bellator 192 prelims
Joey Davis got the exciting night of Bellator 192 action kicked off on Saturday night with a quick, explosive finish. Just 39 seconds into Round 1, Davis connected with an explosive spinning back kick to Ian Butler, before finishing him off early in the bout with punches. Davis, expectedly, got the easy win in this one over Butler, and provided us with our first big highlight on this packed night of fights.