Bellator 145 Recap

Written on location- Scottrade Center, St. Louis MO

Lawrence vs. Sanchez

Pacific, Missouri native and UFC veteran Justin Lawrence opened the night, going toe-to toe with Emmanuel Sanchez. Clearly wanting to put on a show in front of a home-area crowd, the unorthodox Lawrence landed a kick square on the chin of Sanchez within the first thirty seconds.Lawrence caught Sanchez with body blows that left him with his back against the cage wall and from there, it was largely clinch work.

Often considered a boring aspect of MMA, clinch fighting/standing grappling is deceptively draining as each man looks for control. Lawrence landed deep, thudding punches from in close and finished by separating from his opponent for a short flurry. Still, it’s hard to connect when you’re backing up (unless you’re Chuck Liddell.)

With a fair pace to kick things off, it could be said that leg kicks and relatively equal exchanges from in tight along with constant pressure of Lawrence, allowing him to control the cage, won Sanchez the first.

In Round 2, Lawrence seemed somewhat lackluster but did manage to open up cuts above the eyes of Sanchez. Those cuts were courtesy of a previous bout just six weeks ago. Commentator Jimmy Smith summed up the second with two words directed at “El Matador” but could apply to both: ineffective aggression….before a head kick that left “The American Kid” groggy at the sound of the bell.

In an almost all grappling-based third, effort for a takedown finally seemed to payoff as Sanchez took the back of Lawrence before the hometown hero found himself on top in the guard of Sanchez. After a failed attempt for both a kimura and knee bar from Sanchez, both clawed their way to their feet in the final :15.

The end of the bout saw Lawrence again on top again just before the stand-up as he rained down hammerfists from side control. However, the shots were null and void thanks to the previous ten minutes. Cageside saw things differently than the hometown fans...Split Dec. - Emmanuel Sanchez

Lashley vs. Thompson

Seemingly wanting to up the tempo right away, 13-2 Bobby “The Dominator” Lashley (undefeated at 3-0 in Bellator with 2 KOs and one submission and the rumored next opponent of Kimbo Slice) made short work of rival James Thompson.

Saying in the pre-fight promo that he wanted to “throw hands”, the former Fenton, Missouri resident Lashley, a star for Impact Wrestling as well as Bellator, actually used his championship-winning amatuer wrestling ability to score a single-leg takedown (inadvertently injuring his adversary in the process.)

After forcing the brawling Englishmen onto his ribcage, and with his face being forced into the canvas, a barrage of bombs connected with flesh. Lashley, a hyena on raw meat, put Thompson away in just under a minute, making short work of both his opponent and the writings of journalists.

“...I had a great training camp. I felt light, I felt fast today so I knew that I could that I could probably do anything I wanted in that fight.”

TKO- Bobby Lashley, 0:54 Round 1

Michael Chandler vs. David Rickels

Coming into his first bout against David “The Caveman” Rickels, “Iron” Michael Chandler was facing--by Rickels’ own admission--”an ape who didn’t understand the tools he had.” The second time around? Rickels said he was “ a sharpened tool, a spear” that he definitely planned on using.

What resulted looked like what happens when a cheetah gets turned into a fur pelt as Mizzou’s Chandler forced the action with wild, wide-reaching hooks before a takedown into top position. “Iron” then controlled from top with the Kansas native Rickels wriggling in diamond position.

A brief flash of red and blue gloves eventually lead to a double-leg for Chandler as Rickels tried to battle off a half-guard sweep as the last sixty seconds ticked away.

“Caveman” opened the second by sprinting to meet Chandler in the center of the cage. Trading leg kicks did little to stop Chandler as he again secured a takedown (left single/right leg trip combination.) As both stood, Chandler found his mark with a right uppercut/ and left hook. With his rival slowing, Rickels also connected with a hook before a counter left put him in guillotine position. Commentator Jimmy Smith thought a tooth of Rickels went flying as they quarreled, “swimming in blood” before Rickels was put away with old school ground-and-pound.

TKO- Michael Chandler, 3:05 Round 2

Will Brooks (Lightweight Champion) vs. Marcin Held

A ground war for all 25 minutes had boos coming from far up in the stands of Scottrade as wrestler “Ill Will Brooks and Jiu Jitsu player, Poland’s Marcin Hel spent the opener battling to stand. Marcin Held caught Brooks in a kneebar, leg locks being his specialty.

Rounds 2-3 were highlighted by a takedown for Brooks and most notably two failed attempts at an arm-triangle choke followed by a key lock, but Brooks couldn’t keep the left arm of Held flat to the canvas before the sound of the bell. A stuffed shoot attempt from Held, short elbows and body blows from top by Brooks and what could have been a Russian belly-down armbar from Held brought the lackluster contest past its midway point.

Within 15 seconds into the championship rounds, Held proved something that has been known to happen time and time again throughout MMA’s history: Fighters can fall in love (with a maneuver that is) as he again looked for the kneebar. He was once again smothered by the Chicagoan.

Technical fans would love the 4-1 performance of Brooks, but as others power-napped through the fifth, Brooks managed to keep his title. After being the center of controversy earlier in the week (which you can read here courtesy of Dan Ryno) the stalemate came to an anticlimactic conclusion.

“Take him to dinner!” -Fan quote during Brooks vs. Held, Round 1

"In the first round when he got me down, he [Held] pulled a leg-lock with his legs and my knee popped and “Big John” [referee John McCarthy] heard it...I thought I was okay but then once we came out in the second round I went to plant on my leg, felt it buckle, and I was like no I gotta’ take this to the ground and hope I can survive there… Every time I would bounce or try to hit a pivot step, my knee would buckle…I did what I had to do..."

Unanimous Dec. “ILL” Will Brooks

MAJOR Announcement

InsideSTL’s 2015 MMA live event calender ended with a bang as it was announced at the evening’s Bellator 145: With A Vengeance, that the organization's February 2016 event from Houston will feature a UFC 1/5 rematch under the Bellator banner--Ken Shamrock vs. Royce Gracie III!