Liam McGeary made his first defense of his Bellator Light Heavyweight championship one to remember last night, at Bellator’s “Dynamite” event in San Jose.
It would be enough to headline Dynamite, one of the biggest shows in the promotion’s history. (The show was co-promoted by Glory kickboxing and featured both a ring and a cage.) But the wiry Englishman McGeary would face Tito Ortiz, who is unquestionably the biggest star in the promotion and the greatest challenge in his career.
According to some betting sites, McGeary was as much as a ten to one underdog.
Yet McGeary notched not just a submission win over Tito Ortiz, to score one of the year’s biggest upsets — but it was a submission by way of one of the most unusual moves in the sport: an inverted triangle choke.
The bout began about as expected, with Ortiz taking McGeary to the mat after a brief stand-up exchange. But after absorbing a few strikes, McGeary attacked — first with an armbar, then the choke — and forced the submission with seconds left in the round.
Earlier in the night, Phil Davis won a four man, one night tournament to earn the next shot at the champion. Davis defeated former Bellator champion Emanuel Newton by submission, then Francis Carmont (who replaced an injured Muhammad Lawal) via knockout.
Also, Fedor Emelianenko appeared to announce his return to MMA. The Russian heavyweight legend will fight on a New Year’s Eve event to be televised on Spike TV, and presented by Japanese MMA promoter Nobuyuki Sakakibara.
Liam McGeary def. Tito Ortiz via submission (inverted triangle) at 4:41 of round one
Phil Davis def. Francis Carmont via KO (left hook) at 2:15 of round one
(Glory Kickboxing) Saulo Cavalari def. Zack Mwekassa via majority decision (48-46, 48-46, 47-47)
Josh Thomson def. Mike Bronzoulis via submission (kata-gatame) at 0:39 of round three
(Glory Kickboxing) Paul Daley def. Fernando Gonzalez via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
(Glory Kickboxing) Keri Anne Taylor-Melendez def. Hadley Griffith via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Phil Davis def. Emanuel Newton via submission (Kimura) at 4:39 of round one
Muhammed Lawal def. Linton Vassell via decision (scores not announced)