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Illness forced Josh Barnett to bow out of his Bellator MMA debut opposite Ronny Markes at the last minute and provided an avenue for Toby Misech to shine under the brightest of spotlights.
The Dana White’s Contender Series alum brought down Alliance MMA standout Erik Perez with punches less than a minute into their makeshift Bellator 235 main event on Friday at Neil S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu. Perez (19-7, 0-1 Bellator) met his end just 54 seconds into Round 1, his five-fight winning streak having run its course.
Misech (11-7, 2-1 Bellator) threaded the needle and leveled “El Goyito” with a straight left, trailed him to the canvas and blasted him with follow-up punches to prompt the stoppage. The setback was Perez’s first since June 7, 2014. He had never before been stopped by strikes.
Lara Batters Arteaga, Nets Decision
Combat Training Club export Alejandra Lara pocketed her second win in as many appearances, as she took a unanimous verdict from Veta Arteaga in a featured women’s flyweight scrap. Lara (9-3, 3-2 Bellator) swept the scorecards with 30-26 marks from all three judges.
Arteaga (5-4, 4-4 Bellator) remained competitive but gave her counterpart too much leeway to lead the dance. Lara, 25, leaned on damaging kicks to the body and head, straight left hands and nasty elbows inside the clinch. The Colombian floored Arteaga with a head kick in the third round and opened a gash on her forehead with a volley of close-quarters elbow strikes. Blood poured from the wound, obstructed Arteaga’s vision and removed any real hope of a late rally.
The 32-year-old Arteaga has lost back-to-back fights for the first time in her career.
Claxton Stymies Newcomer Akeo
Quick punching combinations punctuated by overhand lefts, a stifling clinch game and stellar takedown defense carried Tywan Claxton to a unanimous decision over organizational newcomer Braydon Akeo in a three-round featherweight feature. All three cageside judges scored it 30-27 for Claxton (6-1, 6-1 Bellator), who rebounded from his Sept. 7 submission defeat to Emmanuel Sanchez.
Akeo (3-1, 0-1 Bellator) was outmatched in every phase. Claxton slowly but surely built a lead across the first 10 minutes, then made his move. The onetime NCAA Division II All-American wrestler struck for a pair of takedowns in the third round, climbed to full mount, applied his ground-and-pound and threatened with a rear-naked choke in the closing seconds.
Unbeaten Davis Mauls Cisneros
Four-time NCAA Division II wrestling champion Joey Davis put away Chris Cisneros with ferocious ground-and-pound in the first round of their welterweight showcase. Cisneros (19-11, 0-3 Bellator) succumbed to blows 3:55 into Round 1.
Davis (7-0, 7-0 Bellator) executed a takedown inside the first 10 seconds, settled into a dominant position and hacked away at the Hawaiian with elbows, one of which opened a cut. Cisneros ultimately wilted under a combination of pressure and abuse. Davis bottled up the 39-year-old at the base of the cage and cut loose with elbows, punches and hammerfists until referee Mike Beltran had seen enough.
The loss snapped a two-fight winning streak for Cisneros.
In other action, Cass Bell (5-0, 5-0 Bellator) took a unanimous decision from Pierre Daguzan (5-4, 0-1 Bellator) in a three-round bantamweight affair; Joseph Creer (7-1-1, 2-1 Bellator) laid claim to a unanimous verdict over Jered Gwerder (4-1, 0-1 Bellator) in a three-round middleweight tilt; and Hunter Ewald (1-0, 1-0 Bellator) submitted Brysen Bolohao (0-2, 0-2 Bellator) with a rear-naked choke 1:42 into the first round of their welterweight pairing.