On Friday, April 10, Bellator MMA hosted its 136th event from the Bren Events Center in Irvine, Calif. Several Bellator stalwarts were featured on the night’s card, including Joe Schilling, Marcin Held, Alexander Volkov and Bellator lightweight champion “Ill” Will Brooks.
The event was headlined by a lightweight title defense by Brooks against challenger Dave Jansen. After weathering a barrage of strikes from Jansen to start the fight, Brooks asserted himself and used a variety of fist, leg and even shoulder strikes of his own to claim a unanimous decision victory. Brooks continued his ascent up the lightweight ladder in MMA, showing that he has a gas tank to go the distance along with his finishing power.
In the co-main event, Glory kickboxer Joe Schilling made his return to MMA against Rafael Carvalho. The two engaged in a physical back-and-forth that brought the crowd to their feet. Despite attempts at a finish by both men, Carvalho emerged with a split-decision victory in this closely contested affair.
The main card’s only finish came from Marcin Held, who once again used his unorthodox grappling skills to lock in a kneebar submission victory over Alexander “Tiger” Sarnavskiy. Much like former Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren, Sarnavskiy yelled out in pain when Held locked in the kneebar. “Big” John McCarthy, who was also the referee when Warren lost his featherweight title the same way, stepped in to award the fight to Held.
The main card began with a heavyweight tilt between Tony Johnson and former Bellator heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov. Johnson sports a similar build to UFC light heavyweight Daniel Cormier, and he also implemented Cormier’s favorite game plan of pinning his opponent against the wall of the cage and executing some dirty boxing. Johnson did not give Volkov any opportunity to use his height and reach to his advantage and grounded out a split decision victory.