Kyle Crutchmer def. Oliver Enkamp via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Spike Carlyle, def. Dan Moret via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:58 of Round 3
Mike Hamel def. Killys Mota via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Justin Montalvo def. Jacob Bohn via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Levan Chokheli def. Vinicius de Jesus via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Kai Kamaka III def. John De Jesus via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Alexander Shabliy def. Bobby King via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Main Card Results
Johnny Eblen def. Collin Huckbody via TKO (strikes) at 1:11 of Round 1
Josh Hill def. Jared Scoggins vis KO (strikes) at 0:56 of Round 2
Jeremy Kennedy def. Emmanuel Sanchez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Sergio Pettis def. Kyoji Horiguchi via KO (spinning back fist) at 3:24 of Round 4
Never Saw it Coming
In the final fight of the year for Bellator, reigning bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis successfully defended his title and gave us a comeback for the ages.
Through three rounds, Kyoji Horiguchi was in complete control and appeared to be cruising his way towards regaining the title that he never lost. All of that changed at the 3:24 mark of the fourth round. Pettis threw a head kick that Horiguchi ducked under. As Pettis came back around, he delivered a spinning back fist that landed perfectly. Horiguchi never saw it coming.
Pettis’ out of nowhere comeback earned him the win via knockout, his first knockout finish in more than eight years. The last time Pettis earned a knockout was on June 21, 2013, against Dillard Pegg at RFA 8.
Prior to the bout, Pettis acknowledged that he had something to prove as Horiguchi, a former bantamweight champion in Bellator, never lost the title. He vacated the title due to injury, and a fight between Juan Archuleta and Patchy Mix was signed to crown a new king of the bantamweight division. Archuleta emerged victorious at Bellator 246 but lost his first defense against Pettis at Bellator 258 in May.
Pettis knew that a win over Horiguchi would solidify his status as champion, but Pettis may still be carrying that chip on his shoulder despite the finish on Friday. “I came out here and had to get beat up for nearly four full rounds,” said Pettis. “I came out and said to myself that I’m losing this fight and need to do something spectacular to turn this around.” That is exactly what he did.
Pettis’ criticism is not without merit. Looking at the stats, Pettis only landed a total of 19 strikes throughout the three-and-a-half-round affair. Of those 19 strikes, 13 were punches, 6 were kicks. Horiguchi landed 73 total strikes throughout the bout, 48 punches, 21 kicks, and four knees. He also mixed in takedowns landing four out of seven attempts.
Pettis gave us a spectacular finish, but there is definitely some room for debate within the MMA community on how a rematch would go down. Horiguchi was in complete control of the fight up until that hail mary spinning back fist. He effectively shut down Pettis’ striking and was essentially on cruise control until Pettis hit the brakes. One wonders how a rematch would play out. Luckily, we may get the chance to find out.
Their Time to Shine
During the broadcast on Friday, Bellator announced that their next Grand Prix tournament will take place in the bantamweight division and feature eight of the promotion’s top 135 pound fighters.
The field of competitors will have eight of the organization’s top talents, including current bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis and the man he defeated on Friday to retain his title, Kyoji Horiguchi.
Also signed for the bantamweight Grand Prix are former bantamweight champion Juan Archuleta, Irish favorite James Gallagher, the #5 ranked bantamweight Leandro Higo, the Dagestani standout Magomed Magomedov, former title challenger Patchy Mix and rising contender Raufeon Stots.
No match-ups were announced for the first round of the tournament, but the promotion is targeting the first quarter of 2022. As with previous Grand Prix tournaments, the winner will receive $1 million in addition to being crowned the Bellator bantamweight champion.
Don’t Call it a Comeback
Sergio Pettis wasn’t the only fighter to have an epic comeback at Bellator 272. Spike Carlyle, making his promotional debut, made a big first impression with an improbable comeback against Dan Moret in the prelim portion of the event.
Through most of the fight, Carlyle was getting pieced up by Moret. It looked like it was just a matter of time before Moret would secure the finish. Carlyle dug deep, managing to reverse a late takedown by Moret. Carlyle took Moret’s back and put him to sleep with a rear-naked choke.
“I feel like dog crap,” Carlyle said after the fight. “I don’t feel good at all right now, but I had to dig deep. This was not my power, that’s for sure. That was supernatural what just happened right there.”
In his promotional debut, Carlyle entered the fight on short notice and rallied back from the brink of defeat to earn a crowd-pleasing victory. UFC fans likely remember Carlyle well during his tenure with the company, but it is safe to say that he gained a lot more fans on Friday night.
And Still Undefeated
The first-round finish in just over a minute is typically a reason to celebrate, but not for Johnny Eblen.
At Bellator 272, Eblen extended his undefeated streak to 10-0, 6-0 in Bellator, with a technical knockout over Collin Huckbody just 71 seconds into the fight. Backed up against the fence, Huckbody could only try to cover up as Eblen reigned down a series of strikes on him until the referee had seen enough.
Despite the quick finish, Eblen’s body language displayed disappointment in his performance. “Honestly, I’m a little bit disappointed,” Eblen said during a post-fight press conference. “It didn’t go the way I wanted it to go. I wanted to land some bigger shots, put on a little bit longer of a show. If it ends that quick, I want it to end like my Daniel Madrid knockout or something like that. I did land some heavy shots, but not ideal for me.”
When pressed, Eblen was a little more specific about his disappointment. “Where I literally send somebody to the metaverse,” Eblen said. “I’m trying to send people to the metaverse instead of the shadow realm. I think the shadow realm is getting kind of clogged up. So, switch to the metaverse. I’m trying to send motherf*ckers there.”
What Comes Next?
Bellator 272 was the final event of the year for the promotion. No official announcements have been made regarding 2022 events, venues, dates, or locations at this time, but Bellator CEO Scott Coker said to expect some announcements in the coming week.
The bantamweight Grand Prix is expected to start in the first quarter of the year. Other match-ups anticipated for 2022 include Ryan Bader vs. Valentin Moldavsky, Michael “Venom” Page vs. Yaroslav Amosov and the final of the light-heavyweight Grand Prix between Corey Anderson and Vadim Nemkov.
Coker also stated that “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko will have his final fight this summer under the Bellator banner with a big event in Moscow, Russia.
Featured Image Credits To Embed from Getty Images