Former UFC and WEC champion Benson Henderson recorded a decision win over Irish fan favourite Peter Queally in the main event of Bellator Dublin at 3 Arena on Friday night.
The atmosphere was electric for the main event, with the crowd breaking into choruses of "Zombie" by the The Cranberries - Queally's entrance song - on several occasions.
The first round saw Henderson open up a cut on Queally’s left brow. At the beginning of the second, the Waterford lightweight suffered a low blow, which cost Henderson a point as a penalty. In the third and fourth rounds, Henderson landed clean elbows from the clinch and controlled the fight from top position. The fifth played out mostly on the feet, with Henderson smothering Queally against the fence for large portions.
All three judges scored the fight 49-45 for Henderson.
Despite Queally’s defeat, Dublin’s Straight Blast Gym recorded an amazing night, taking eight wins in nine outings.
Earlier, Belfast’s Leah McCourt bounced back into the win column following her loss to Sinead Kavanagh in February with a decision win over Dayana Silva.
Now representing Next Generation Liverpool - the home of UFC stars Paddy Pimblett and Molly McCann - "The Curse" put on one of the best striking displays of her career in the first round. The fight became more competitive in the second and third, but McCourt still walked out of the cage with two 30-27 cards in her favour out of three judges who scored the fight.
In a meeting of elite of elite featherweights, SBG’s Pedro Carvalho claimed a massive scalp with a decision victory over Danish dynamo Mads Burnell.
Carvalho, a former featherweight title contender, had the best of the action on the feet, but had to evade Burnell’s constant grappling onslaught. The Dublin-based Portuguese fighter took control of the fight in the final round, landing crisp strikes before taking the fight to the canvas, where he controlled Burnell until the final bell sounded.
Still undefeated, Ciaran Clarke had it all to do in round-three against short notice opponent, Rafael Hudson. The Brazilian caused Louth native a lot of trouble over the opening two rounds, opening a cut over his left eye.
Clarke came out hot in the third, quickly taking Hudson to the ground before locking up a rear-naked choke. The victory saw Clarke improve to 6-0 with every win being secured under the Bellator banner.
Opening the main card, former Cage Warriors light-heavyweight champion Karl Moore scored one of the biggest wins of his career with a sensational comeback submission over surging Swede Karl Albrektsson.
Albrektsson had the Belfast man in a lot of trouble at the end of the first. After dropping the SBG fighter, he rained down shots, with the referee stepping in to stop the action when the bell sounded to end the first
Moore appeared a different fighter in the second. After taking the Swedish wrestling standout down, he wrapped up a rear-naked choke to end the contest.
Following the bout, Moore called for a clash with legendary Cuban Yoel Romero, who recorded a third-round knockout win over Melvin Manhoef in the co-main event. In the aftermath of the clash, Manhoef, a legend in his own right, bid an emotional farewell to combat sports after 27 years of activity.
Wexford’s Brian Moore clocked his eleventh Bellator bout with a dominant display over Brazilian Arivaldo Lima da Silva.
SBG’s Moore peppered his counterpart with shots throughout the 15-minute affair. In his post-fight interview, "The Pikeman" called for a showdown with Lima da Silva’s compatriot, Leandro Higo, who is currently ranked seventh in the promotion’s bantamweight rankings.
Also representing SBG, highly-touted prospect Darragh Kelly was forced the distance for the first time over the course of his amateur and professional career despite a dominant performance over Kyle Stevens. With the win, the Donegal lightweight improved to 2-0 as a professional.
Making their Bellator debuts on the night, SBG’s Luca Poclit, Asael Adjoudj and Kenny Mokhonoana all recorded resounding victories. Blanchardstown’s Mokhonoana stopped Alex Bodnar with a first-round guillotine, Adjoudj dispatched Jordan Barton with a first-round head kick and Poclit finished a rare choke submission on Dante Schiro in the curtain jerker.