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Lyoto Machida and Phil Davis went back-and-forth for 15 minutes in the first of two events that Bellator MMA is holding this week.
The main event of Bellator 245 saw Davis (22-5, 1 NC) edge out Machida (26-10) over three rounds. The two fighters tested each other on the feet throughout the bout with neither man coming close to finishing the fight or significantly hurting the other. However, Davis was the quicker man and was able to stay more active than the Brazilian. The Penn State wrestling alumnus was awarded a split decision with two judges scoring it 29-28 Davis, while the dissenting judge thought Machida won two rounds.
The two mixed martial artists previously fought in 2013 at UFC 163, where Davis won a unanimous decision.
In the co-main event, Cat Zingano earned her first win since 2018 by largely dominating a game Gabrielle Holloway. Zingano (11-4) outlanded and controlled her opponent easily in the first two rounds, but Holloway (6-6) battled back and managed to gain full mount in Round 3. Ultimately, the late comeback wasn't enough as Zingano secured a victory on scorecards of 29-27, 30-26, and 30-26.
Taylor Johnson made a successful promotional debut and quickly submitted Ed Ruth for the biggest win of his career. Johnson needed just 59 seconds to lock up an inverted heel hook that forced Ruth (8-3) to tap. With the victory, Johnson advances to 6-1 and is someone to watch at middleweight.
The main card kicked off with a welterweight contest between Raymond Daniels and Peter Stanonik. Unfortunately, it ended as a no contest after Daniels (2-1, 1 NC) landed two groin shots from spinning back kicks that left Stanonik (4-4, 1 NC) in tears. The fight was officially called off at 1:00 of Round 2.
In preliminary action, Alex Polizzi (7-0) outworked former middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho (16-5) to earn a trio of 30-27 scorecards; Leslie Smith (12-8-1) earned a unanimous decision win (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) over Amanda Bell (7-7); the heavyweight contest between Tyrell Fortune (8-1, 1 NC) vs. Jack May ended in a no contest after an errant knee struck May (11-6, 1 NC) low at 2:42 of Round 1; and "Killa" Keith Lee (7-3) won a unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) over Vinicius Zani (11-7).