After two events and eight fights in the Featherweight Grand Prix, Bellator has four quarterfinal fights lined up over the end of 2019 and into 2020. The fights were determined via a “selection show” during Bellator 228 following the conclusion of the opening round.
The eight winners from the opening round randomly selected an order to choose either an month in which their quarterfinal fight would take place or the opponent they’d face. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire, who scored a big win over Juan Archuleta to defend his featherweight championship, was gifted the “champion’s choice” and given the final decision on who he would fight and at what event.
After the festivities, the final matchups for still to be confirmed dates on the Bellator schedule are:
- December — AJ McKee vs. Derek Campos
- January — Darrion Caldwell vs. Adam Borics
- February — Daniel Weichel vs. Emmanuel Sanchez
- March — Patricio Pitbull vs. Pedro Carvalho
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CBS Sports was be with you the entire way Saturday updating this story with results, recaps and highlights of the main card fights.
Bellator 228 results, live updates
Gegard Mousasi def. Lyoto Machida via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27): With Machida in his trademark karate stance, it didn’t take long for Mousasi to crack him with big shot that sent him reeling. That one shot defined a very methodical opening round between the two former UFC foes. The slow pace continued into Round 2, but Machida had failed to get off much of anything meaningful while Mousasi at least had moments. Machida finally landed a left and a body kick in the final 30 seconds of Round 2 before circling away from any return fire from Mousasi. Round 3 remained a slow-paced affair before Mousasi caught a Machida kick and turned it into a takedown. While Mousasi attempted to work from top, Machida locked him in a deep guillotine choke that may have finished the fight had time not ran out on Machida and the fight.
Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (c) def. Juan Archuleta via unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 49-46): Archuleta found himself in serious danger in Round 1 with Pitbull locking in a guillotine choke and looking to torque it for a finish. The challenger managed to survive, however, only to find himself stuck underneath Freire. Pitbull unleashed a heavy flurry as the opening round came to a close. A rough eye poke from Archuleta in Round 2 broke up the action, but the champ was able to continue on in the fight. Pitbull responded by attempting to amp up his pressure both in striking and with pressure in a body lock against the cage, a position he held for the remainder of the round to the crowd’s displeasure. A right hand from Pitbull dropped Archuleta in Round 3, but Archuleta — bleeding badly from a cut on the right side of his head — managed to power back to his feet. Archuleta amped up his output following the knockdown but was saved by the bell while caught in a deep guillotine choke in the final seconds of the third round. Archuleta seemed to be fighting with a renewed urgency in Round 4, but was dropped by a Pitbull strike again and was forced to play defense against the attacking champ. In the championship rounds, Archuleta was forced to fight like a man who knew he was behind on the cards, leading to an increase in mistakes which Pitbull was able to take advantage of. The left hand of Pitbull was a frequently employed — and frequently effective — shot in Round 5.
A.J. McKee def. Georgi Karakhanyan via first-round TKO (punches): McKee comes out and fires a vicious series of shots and Karakhanyan is out cold. That’s an eight-second knockout for McKee. A massive left hand put Karakhanyan down and McKee dropped some ground and pound to force the stoppage in near record time.
Darrion Caldwell def. Henry Corrales via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27): Caldwell scored a single leg takedown into side control slightly more than a minute into Round 1. He briefly jumped to mount but couldn’t hold it for even a few seconds. It took most of the round for Caldwell to really open up on the ground but when he did, he opened a cut above the left eye of Corrales. Caldwell again scored with a takedown early in Round 2, but Corrales managed to defend much more capably throughout the round, bouncing back to his feet or stuffing the takedowns entirely. Still, the pressure of Caldwell seemed to be enough to put him comfortably ahead entering the final round. Corrales failed to open up with his offense in Round 3, allowing Caldwell to comfortably move around the cage and pick his spots while the boos began to rain down from the crowd. Caldwell would be given a warning by the ref for hesitancy to engage and responded with a takedown attempt with a minute left in the fight. He finished the takedown into an attempted guillotine choke from Corrales as the final seconds ticked away.
Daniel Weichel def. Saul Rogers via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28): Rogers hurt Weichel twice in the opening 30 seconds with heavy right hands. Weichel seemed troubled by Rogers’ pressure until he landed a left hand that took Rogers’ legs in the final moments of the opening frame. Rogers was unable to take the fight to the ground through the first two rounds, leading the fight to turn into a complete stand-up battle, with Rogers relying heavily on his overhand right and Weichel leaning on his left hook and doubling up on the jab. It was a pair of big Weichel right hands in Round 3, with the fight hanging in the balance, that seemed to tilt things in his favor.