The night’s co-main event saw L.C. Davis (23-6) and Hideo Tokoro (32-28-2) combine for an instant classic and a candidate for “Fight of the Year”, with Davis eventually earning a hard-fought split-decision victory scored 29-28 Tokoro, 29-28 twice Davis. The action was fast-paced from start to finish, with both men finding success in brutal striking exchanges, as well as slick grappling sequences. It was the type of fight which truly produces no loser, but Davis did just enough to get the official victory.
“The guy has fought the best,” Davis said of Tokoro. “I knew he was going to be tough. I thought I was going to put him away but I wasn’t able to; hats off to him.
“Next fight, I would like a title shot or a No. 1 contender.”
Tokoro admitted he disagreed with the razor-thin call but declined to blame anyone other than himself.
“I don’t agree with the split-decision, but I have to respect the judges’ decision,” Tokoro said. “I think there were many things I could’ve improved in the fight, but I think I did very well with my wrestling.”
In a light heavyweight contest, Francis Carmont (23-10) earned a decision win over Guilherme Viana (6-2), but it certainly didn’t come easy. After nearly finishing Viana in the second round with strikes, Carmont found himself defending a series of choke attempts in the third. Carmont’s defense was sound, and was granted a decision win, 29-28 on all three cards.
In the night’s first main-card contest, Ryan Couture (10-3) picked up a quick submission win over Dakota Cochrane (18-8), earning the tap at the 3:23 mark in the first round. It was Cochrane who initiated the grappling game, but Couture made him pay by moving to his back and sinking in a rear-naked choke that ended the fight.
Rashad Coulter (5-1) wrapped up the preliminary card with an impressive first-round TKO of Jeremiah O’Neal (13-25). The Bellator MMA newcomer overwhelmed his opponent with heavy punches and brutal knees to the body, scoring the finish by strikes just 1:44 into the opening round.
In a spirited featherweight matchup, Emmanuel Sanchez (10-1) dominated early and then survived a late rally attempt from a game Alejandro Villalobos (17-4) to walk away with a decision win, 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
Sean Holden (3-1) couldn’t quite get a finish over Tim Roman (2-2), but he did just about everything he could to pick up a victory over fellow welterweight Roman. Dominating the action from start to finish, Holden ended the first round with a deep rear-naked choke attempt and finished the third punching away in full mount, but Roman simply wouldn’t go away. Still, Holden was awarded a clear win, 30-27 on all three judges’ cards.
In middleweight action, Neal Ewing’s wrestling game proved too strong for Logan Nail (1-1). Ewing (6-0) took the fight to the floor repeatedly throughout the three-round affair, and while he was never especially close to finishing the fight, he cruised to a decision win 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.
Although Stephen Banaszak (4-4) missed weight for a planned featherweight matchup with Brad Mitchell (4-2), he still picked up an impressive submission win. Banaszak declined to engage his opponent on the feet, instead searching for takedown opportunities at every turn. The strategy worked, as Banaszak picked up just the second omo plata win in Bellator MMA history, tapping out Mitchell at the 2:51 mark of the second round.
In flyweight action Klayton Mai (7-1) missed on early opportunity to finish Xavier Siller (5-4) via rear-naked choke but went back to the position later in the opening round. While he couldn’t quite get the choke, he adjusted the hold to a neck crank and scored the submission at the 3:55 mark of the first.
In the night’s first contest, bantamweight George Pacurariu (9-4) used a beautiful hip toss to throw opponent J.P. Cole (2-3) to the floor, where he immediately locked in a modified armbar to score the submission at the 2:59 mark of the first frame.