Welcome to Bellator 17 live from the Wang Theatre in a messy, downtown traffic-filled area of Boston, MA. We have myself, Nick Colon and fellow featured columnist Ben Duronio covering the fights. Ben's going to be taking care of this live blog, and I will be writing the follow-up articles after the fights.
Bleacher Report will be bringing you all the live updates and results from the Citi Performing Arts Center throughout the night. The event kicks off at 7pm EST. Be sure to follow Bleacher Report all night for all the goods from Bellator 17.
Bellator's 17th event features local favorites Dan Bonnell and Greg Rebello, as well as notable fighters such as Roger Huerta, Eddie Alvarez, and Toby Imada.
7:02 pm: The event's just about to tip off with the first bout, and the event center is filling in modestly. First up...
Damien Vitale (5-2) vs Chuck O'Neil (6-3)
7:10pm: Vitale was in control for a good portion of the first round after taking down and avoiding submission attempts from O'Neil. O'Neil reversed Vitale and ended up in his guard. A low blow by O'Neil halted the action as Vitale was able to get to his feet
7:17pm: Vitale takes down O'Neil again and controls him for the first half of the second round. Vitale got to side control but wasn't able to do much damage. Vitale mounted O'Neil and unwisely went after a leg submission and the two stood up. The crowd gets into it as O'Neil tried for a superman punch but is subsequently put against the cage.
7:20pm: In the third and final round O'Neil came out with a vengeance, landing a flurry of punches and stuffing Vitale's takedown. As O'Neil is stuck against the cage defending a double from Vitale he lands some viscious elbows to the side of Vitale's head and cut him badly. The referee stops the fight to check on the cut, and subsequently calls the fight. O'Neil was getting dominated on the ground but his conditioning and heart proved to be the difference in his third round TKO victory.
Result: Chuck O'Neil TKO via referee stoppage RD. 3
7:24pm: Nick spots Dan Miragliotta looking huge as always and Bellator C.E.O. Bjorn Rebney is doing an interview right next to us with mmadiehards.com. We'll be getting some words from Bjorn shortly.
Dan Bonnell (9-6) vs Josh LaBerge (5-4)
7:30pm: The Greg Jackson trained Josh LaBerge dominates Bonnell before you can blink an eye. LaBerge looked absolutely dominant in his quick knockout victory.
Result: Josh LaBerge first round KO via ground-and-pound RD. 1
7:44pm: Since LaBerge took care of Bonnell so quickly, there is about 20 minutes of downtime before the next fight occurs, featuring Carey Vanier and Toby Imada. This will be the semi-final match-up in the lightweight tournament. The winner of the upcoming match will face-off against the winner of the following fight between Roger Huerta and Patrick Curran.
The next four fights are all being televised and the crowd is really starting to fill up the arena. These next fights are sure to be exciting and action packed with some quality fighters ready to step into the ring and throw down.
Carey Vanier (8-2) vs Toby Imada (8-2)
Carey Vanier (8-2) vs Toby Imada (8-2)
8:11pm: Vanier is the aggressor to start throwing a few straight punches in his southpaw stance and attempting a takedown. Imada stuffed it but Vanier eventually took him down into side control. Imada stood back up only to see Vanier connect with some sharp kicks and punches. Vanier scores another takedown into side control, but Imada attempts a knee bar and escapes. Vanier suplexed Imada with a little more than a minute left in the round but wasn't able to keep Imada down for long. Imada landed a huge right hand as Vanier looked a bit gassed towards the later part of round one. Vanier took round one, in our opinion.
8:22pm: Imada stuffed Vanier's takedown and hit him with a knee as Vanier stood back up. The pace seems a lot slower in round two and Imada looks a lot more confident in the beginning stages of round two. Vanier's strikes are not nearly as accurate as they were to start the fight. Imada purposely dropped into a kneebar and then punched Vanier in the foot, an odd mma move to say the least. Imada attempts another slick submssion, this time locking up the armbar on Vanier and forcing him to tap.
Result: Toby Imada submission via armbar RD. 2
With the win, Imada moves on to the finals against the winner of the next fight on the card, Huerta vs Curran. One thing is for sure about the finals: Imada will be throwing up slick unorthodox submission attempts if this fight was any indicator.
8:33pm: Lights flashing yellow and blue to the theme of Damian Marley's "Welcome to Jamrock" engulf the performance center. For a place that is used for plays and shows, Bellator made it work for this show. Curran's just about ready to enter the cage. The next fight should be a war.
Roger Huerta (21-3-1) vs Patrick Curran (10-3)
8:40pm: With the other semi-final match-up already completed, Huerta and Curran step into the ring set to put a show on for the fans.
8:42pm: Curran opens up the fight with a big right kick to Huerta's face. However, the strong-chinned Huerta seemed extremely focused and unphased by the big leg kick. Curran lands another kick as Huerta's face is starting to swell. Curran nicks the side of Huerta's face again, but Huerta responds with a solid body kick as Curran spun around after his attempted kick. Huerta had Curran pressed against the cage but Curran was able to land some knees. Huerta was taking a considerable amount of punishment in the first round. It would be hard to argue against Curran winning the opening round.
8:50pm: Huerta was more aggressive to open up the second round, pressing Curran against the cage and continuing to throw knees to the body, as his corner suggests. Huerta is controlling the pace and the two trade punches against the cage with 1:30 left in the round. Curran has landed stronger punches but Huerta has been more tactical and technical thus far. Curran ends the round with a small superman punch. The second round was much less eventful, but with Huerta's ring control, it looks like he took the round.
8:55pm: Huerta continues to control Curran as he holds him against the cage and works his right leg. In a pivotal third round, Curran has been much more passive. Huerta's corner is stressing the attack on the right leg. Roger attempts a sweeping single but Curran sprawled and avoided the takedown. Curran lands some nice strikes as Huerta is coming in. Both are showing more life in the late minutes of the round both throwing strikes. Huerta gets a takedown and takes Currans back but Curran escapes into a front headlock. Curran gets a huge takedown, but Huerta escapes quickly. Both fighters look gassed in the closing seconds of the fight as they trade punches. This was an extremely close round and fight. Both of us have the win going to Huerta, two rounds to one.
9:02pm: In the first decision of the night, the judges award Pat Curran with the unanimous decision victory, 29-28. The fans boo as Curran is awarded the semi-final victory and advancement to the Bellator lightweight finals against Toby Imada. Curran walked off limping as he came off of his huge upset win over former UFC lightweight Roger Huerta.
Result: Pat Curran by unanimous decision 29-28 by all three judges
Josh Neer (27-9-1) vs Eddie Alvarez (19-2)
9:11pm: The fans around the cage chant Eddie! Eddie! Eddie! as his "superfight" against Josh Neer is ready to begin.
9:15pm: In this non-title fight, Alvarez looks like a ball of muscle at 160lbs. Neer wasn't able to stop a single leg takedown attempt by Alvarez as he drove Neer down into the cage and into his guard. Dan Miragliotta warns Alvarez not to grab the fence again or a point will be taken away as Eddie was trying to advance his position. Alvarez got into the mount position, but rode too high as Neer got a reversal into Alvarez's guard. Alvarez escapes and lands a smooth double leg takedown with 40 seconds left in the round. Alvarez got into the mount once again as the round came to a close, easily winning the round.
9:25pm: Alvarez takes Neer down again and gets Neer's back. Once he gets his back he sinks in a deep rear naked choke. Neer was able to stand-up with Alvarez on his back, but he wasn't able to avoid a tapout as he fell to the floor and the ref called the fight.
Result: Eddie Alvarez submission via rear naked choke RD. 2
Pat Bennett (1-0) vs Cole Konrad (2-0)
9:36pm: The last televised fight features the first heavyweight battle tonight, between Brock Lesnar's training partner Cole Konrad against the undersized Pat Bennett.
9:40pm: Konrad scores a big time bearhug takedown into the cage and gets into the half-guard position. The much bigger Konrad is using is weight to his advantage as he smothers Bennett on the mat for most of the first round. Cole got into the mount and threw some heavy blunt strikes with his forearms. Konrad lands some heavy punches from the mount position as the round comes to a close, a dominant round one victory for Cole.
9:46pm: Konrad threw some good punches forcing Bennett to the cage to start the round. The second round was pretty uneventful as both seemed to be sucking wind. Konrad tried some unorthodox and unsuccessful leg attacks. The fans begin to boo as the round ends.
9:52pm: Bennett came out strong in the third round attacking with a flurry of punches and avoiding a takedown attempt by Konrad. Bennett is likely trailing two rounds to none at this point so he needs to make something happen in order to win this fight. The round slows down and the fans being to boo once again. Some fans get behind Bennett by chanting his last name but he doesn't press the action. The fight ends with both fighters trading punches. Nick has Bennett winning two rounds to one while I have Konrad giving it two to one. The difference could be the domination Konrad put on in the first round as we await the judges decision.
Result: Cole Konrad by unanimous decision 30-27 by all three judges
10:00pm: Konrad was not nearly as impressive as hoped. He was full of hype coming into this fight but he put on a lackluster performance and looked extremely tired in the later part of the fight. He got the unanimous decision, but he could have fought a much better fight.
Lance Everson (11-8) vs Justin Torrey (6-0)
10:10pm: Both fighters start off very aggressive, chasing each other around while attempting some strikes. Everson scores a takedown into side control and works some Georges St. Pierre-like knees to the body. Torrey is able to get the fight back into his guard but Everson remains in control as he slams Everson into the cage. Everson took the round due to his takedown and dominant control throughout the period.
10:16pm: Torrey opens the second round with a takedown, albeit for only a few seconds as Everson stands up and escapes Torrey's control. Torrey uses a nice duck under and then gets a huge knee into the side of Everson's body. Torrey got Everson to the ground and landed some viscious knees once again to go along with a devastating punch, leading to Everson balling up and giving Torrey his back. The fight was stopped due knees to the ribs while Everson was down. Everson looks seriously hurt as the doctors come in to check him out.
Result: Justin Torrey by TKO via knees to the ribs RD. 2
John Doyle (8-11) vs Greg Rebello (10-2)
10:27pm: The final fight of the night features local fan favorite and T.U.F. 11 competitor Greg Rebello against John Doyle. Rebello lost his match to get into the house for this season's show.
10:30pm: Doyle starts off with a takedown attempt and drives Rebello into the cage but Rebello ends up taking Doyle down as the crowd goes crazy. The fans are definitely behind Greg in this fight. Rebellow doesn't do much damage but controls Doyle for pretty much the entirety of the round. It's easy to give the first round to Rebello.
10:35pm: Doyle takes down Rebello to start the second, right into Rebello's guard. Rebellow makes a smooth sweep just as his coach Mark DellaGrotte tells him to. Rebello takes Doyle's back and goes for a rear naked choke but is reversed just as the round ends and gets a right hand to the face from Doyle.
10:41pm: Once again, Doyle starts off with the takedown again but eventually Rebello escapes and turns Doyle into the cage, leading to another takedown. Rebello got into the mount and started throwing some strong punches as the fight ends. It looks as if Rebello took at least the first and third rounds, and possibly the second as well. We would be very surprised if Rebellow did not wind up the victor.
Result: Greg Rebello by unanimous decision 30-27 by all three judges
10:50pm: That's it for the live blogging. It's been a great night of fights as Eddie Alvarez and Toby Imada continued their Bellator success, while Pat Curran began his with a huge upset victory over former UFC star Roger Huerta.