UNCASVILLE, Conn.—A packed Mohegan Sun Arena cheered on local favorites in the undercard of Bellator 134 on Friday night. All but one of the six preliminary bouts ended by knockout or submission.
Hartford’s Matt Bessette edged Fall River’s Josh Laberge in the striking battle before dropping him on the mat through a hard leg-sweep to decisively win the opening stanza. In the second stanza, a Bessette upkick stunned Laberge before he laid hands flush on Bessette. The exciting standup war reconvened on the ground, where Bessette beat Laberge into a bloody pulp. The cageside physician waved off the featherweight bout before the final frame began.
Lightweight Mike Mangan coaxed a tap from Dean Hancock to win his pro debut via rear-naked choke 1:33 into the match.
Raphael “The Silencer” Butler lived up to his nickname by muting supporters of Groton, Connecticut’s Josh Diekmann. The 260-pounder applied a guillotine choke so tight that it elevated his 238-pound opponent off the canvas. Diekmann, whose dramatic walk to the cage included such props as an American flag and an electric guitar, saw his time in the cage end anticlimactically just 64 seconds into the fight.
Towering Tamdan McCrory made quick work of Jason Butcher just after the one-minute mark of the first frame. Butcher survived an onslaught of strikes from the 6’4” middleweight before issuing a quick verbal submission due to an armbar. After eating a knee, Neiman Gracie latched onto Bobby Flynn in an anaconda-like vice that ultimately ended in a rear-naked choke just past the halfway point of the first round. Local Blair Tugman grounded and pounded his way to a lopsided decision victory over Marvin Maldonado.