Bellator 27’s main card will go down in MMA history for obvious reasons, but while the televised fights were definitely good competitive matches, it was the local fighters that really delivered with the action, fighting in front their screaming hometown fans.
It was a good back and forth fight on the feet that started with a feeling out process, eventually devolving into a brawl. Neither fighter was overly technical, both mens’ chins were high in the air, and punches were whipped from all directions without much connecting. The fight was decided by the takedowns of Peterson who walked away with a unanimous decision, much to the dismay of the crowd and the hometown boy De La Cruz.
Fualkner had the crowd as a San Antonio fighter, but Jon Kirk is no stranger to the Texas MMA scene. Kirk fought in typical Jon Kirk fashion, throwing caution to the winds and snapping out wild haymakers and high kicks. Faulkner was successful in the first two rounds with takedowns, positioning, and ground and pound but the veteran Kirk was never out of the fight, often reversing position and giving as good as he got. In the third round though, Faulkner slowed a bit in his ground attack, and after a ref standup was caught with a high kick. Kirk pounced and ended a fight he was on the way to losing with some viscous ground and pound for the TKO. Faulkner was slow to get up and exit the ring, and I was informed by the medical staff he was treated for dehydration but was otherwise OK.
Andrew Chappelle is a scary looking dude. He backed it up too, coming out like a whirling dervish of leg kicks and hooks. Christopher should receive major credit for making it through the fight, but part of that may have been due to what appeared to be Chappelle punching himself out at the start. Chappelle would go on to land digging leg kicks for the rest of the fight, making both Christopher and the crowd wince in pain. Chappelle walked away with the unanimous decision, and Christopher walked (as well as he could) away with a proven heart and chin.
Andrew Craig came into this fight a major underdog. By all accounts, Craig was a gifted jiu jitsu and muay thai practitioner training with Travis Tooke in Houston. It almost didn’t seem fair that his opponent was Rodrigo Pinheiro, a multiple Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Champion who trains with Pete Spratt and Aaron Rosa in San Antonio. Pinheiro had also personally sold 100 tickets for the event, I was told by his cornermen, and the crowd was definitely pro-Pinheiro. Pinheiro and Craig started cautiously, exchanging on the feet. Both looked comfortable standing, and Pinheiro even smiled and egged Craig on when they exchanged. In the second round though, things started changing. Pinheiro appeared to be hurt in an exchange, and landed a takedown. He seemed to be actively looking for submissions, but referee Jon Schorle saw fit to stand them up. Craig was cut badly over his right brow, but it was Pinheiro who was now on the receiving end of the standing punishment. The fight quickly became a blood bath, with both fighters cutting each other, but it was Craig who left the victor in one of the biggest upsets of the night when the doctor stopped the bout midway through the third round due to Pinheiro’s cuts.
In a plodding heavyweight affair, local favorite Richard Odoms took a questionable split decision over Dale Mitchell. Odoms was dominated the first two rounds by Mitchell’s ground attack, but came back in the third with some absolutely thunderous knees in the clinch and heavy ground and pound. It looked like some serious hometown favoritism on display here as Mitchell clearly won the first two rounds, but neither fighter really did enough in this bout to cry “robbery”.
What a way to end the night. Every punch and kick had knockout written all over it but both fighters lasted until the final bell. Jimenez looked to be the dominant fighter at first, landing seemingly at will with punches, kicks, and knees, but Barringer scored takedowns and some viscous ground and pound stayed in the fight. Jimenez and Barringer would constantly reverse each other on the ground, and trade ground and pound and submission attempts – this was the fight of the night for sure. At the final bell, I honestly had no clue who won. There were so many shots landed by both fighters, so many positional changes, I honestly couldn’t assess who won the fight. I felt that Jimenez had been in control for most of the fight, and the judges apparently felt the same awarding Jimenez a unanimous decision victory. Hope that Bellator finds a way to get this fight on TV.
R. Scott Reis is an avid MMA fan and amateur MMA writer who has competed in jiu jitsu bouts all over Texas and recently made his amateur MMA debut. He writes and trains out of Austin, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @TXMMAScott.