While their rivals promoted title fights in the sport’s two heaviest weight classes at UFC 220 in Boston, Bellator MMA put forth a stacked card of their own across the country at The Forum in Inglewood, California on Saturday night.
Bellator 192 featured the opening fight in the promotion’s heavyweight Grand Prix between Chael Sonnen and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Douglas Lima defending his welterweight title against Rory MacDonald, former lightweight champion Michael Chandler taking on Goiti Yamauchi, and the third fight in the pro career of highly-touted prospect Aaron Pico.
In the evening’s main event, Sonnen caused a minor upset by out-wrestling Jackson and taking a unanimous decision by scores of 29-28 across the board. Sonnen, who has now won two in a row since a submission defeat to bitter rival Tito Ortiz in his promotional debut, progresses to the semi-final stages of the Grand Prix, where he will meet the winner of April’s clash between former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir and former Pride FC heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko.
In the co-main event, former UFC title challenger MacDonald claimed the Bellator welterweight strap when he out-pointed Lima over five rounds despite suffering a grotesque shin injury and a seemingly broken nose. Scores were 48-47, 49-45, and 49-46, all in favour of MacDonald.
Further down the card, Chandler rebounded from his title defeat to Brent Primus at Bellator NYC last June, by dominating Yamauchi over three rounds and picking up a unanimous decision victory. The talented wrestler moved to 17-4 as a pro with the win, which was his fifth in six fights.
Pico, who was signed by Bellator as a teenager and without any professional experience, made his pro debut last June to much fanfare. However, he was finished by the much more experienced Zach Freeman just 24 seconds into a lightweight bout at Bellator NYC. He returned with a vengeance in September, however, starching the 7-3 Justin Linn with one-punch in the first round of a featherweight fight at Bellator 183. On Saturday, he added another one-punch KO to his resume, this time felling the 12-3 Shane Krutchen with a brutal left hook to the body after just 37 seconds.
Pico is now 2-1 in the paid ranks.
You can watch all the highlights from Bellator 192 below, via MMA Weekly.