Most people thought it was a foregone conclusion that Brandon Halsey would regain the Bellator middleweight title at Bellator 144. Rafael Carvalho however had other ideas as he earned the vacant belt with a second-round KO of the former champion. Bellator 144 took place October 23rd at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT with an undercard webstreamed at Spike.com, a main card broadcast on Spike TV.
Round one of the main event saw Halsey dictate the fight. Halsey quickly took Carvalho down and seemed close to finishing with an arm-triangle choke Carvalho escaped only to see the round end with Halsey mounted for strikes. Round 2 started more of the same until Carvalho fired off a kick to the liver that had Halsey doubled over instantly, a few follow-up punches sealing the victory. Carvalho emerges the new champion while his record improves to 12-1, Halsey takes his first loss to stand 9-1.
In the co-main event Brennan Ward overwhelmed Dennis Olson. Olson started out the aggressor as he quickly shot in for a takedown only to see Ward slap on a guillotine choke. From there the fight was all Ward as he twice backed away forcing Olson to stand before a punch to the temple floored Olson, the follow-up punches on the ground causing the KO with under half a minute remaining in the round. Ward now stands 12-3, 3-0 at welterweight. Olson exits 14-9, 0-3 in Bellator.
Also on the main card Goiti Yamauchi took three rounds to submit Isao Kobayashi while Michael Page made defeating Charlie Ontiveros seem easy with a first-round TKO.
Next up for Bellator is a return to St. Louis for a show with two title fights. At featherweight Patricio Freire faces Daniel Straus for a third time while in the co-main event Will Brooks takes on Marcin Held for the lightweight title.
Bellator 144 results
- Sam Watford def. T.J. Hepburn by unanimous decision
- Marius Enache def. Pete Rogers Jr. 2:37 R2 by scarf hold armlock
- Matt Secor def. Jeremie Holloway 4:54 R2 by Achilles lock
- Kevin Haley def. Mike Zichelle by unanimous decision
- Matt Bessette def. Kevin Roddy 3:47 R1 by heel hook
- Billy Giovanella def. Brandon Polcare 2:19 R1 by triangle choke
- Kin Moy def. Walter Smith-Cotito 3:53 R3 by rear-naked choke
- Michael Page def. Charlie Ontiveros 3:20 R1 by TKO
- Goiti Yamauchi def. Isao Kobayashi 3:50 R3 by rear-naked choke
- Brennan Ward def. Dennis Olson 4:37 R1 by KO
- MW title: Rafael Carvalho def. Brandon Halsey 1:42 R2 by KO
- Damien Trites def. Keenan Raymond 1:17 R2 by armbar
- Kemran Lachinov def. Ilya Kotau 2:57 R2 by heel hook