DAYTON - Bellator women's champion Zoila Gurgel beat Casey Noland via unanimous decision on Friday, October 26, after missing nearly 18 months due a knee injury. Gurgel's win is one of many highlights from Bellator 78, including Jason Butcher's first round submission of Shaun Asher and Justin McNally's first professional victory.
Here are the results of the preliminary card:
Justin McNally (1-0) def. David Blattman (0-1) via submission (triangle choke) at 0:38 of the first round.
David Blattman attempted to get this fight to the ground quickly. However, it backfired when Justin McNally locked in a triangle choke less than a minute into the fight. Blattman tried his best to work his way out of it, but McNally locked in the choke even further.
Rob Hanna (2-0) def. Rocky Edwards (1-1) via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Rob Hanna remains undefeated in his professional career after grinding out the unanimous decision victory over Rocky Edwards. The fight was marked by some excellent grappling between the two men, which resulted in multiple sweeps, reverses, and transitions.
Hanna eventually sealed the victory by gaining the upper hand in the third round. With time running out, Hanna took Edwards to the ground, mounted him, and finally started doing some damage. The final bell rang with Hanna taking Edwards's back and working for a finish. Although he was unable to force a stoppage, Hanna did enough to earn the round and the fight via decision.
Mikkel Parlo (9-0) def. Jared Combs (8-3) via technical knockout (strikes) at 3:51 of the first round
Jared Combs appeared to be on his way to victory when he dropped Mikkel Parlo early in the fight. However, Parlo recovered quickly and landed a combo, which nearly knocked out his opponent. Combs did everything he could to stay in the fight, but he was out on his feet. Parlo rocked again with another combo, and that's all referee Gary Copeland needed to stop the fight.
Billy Horne (11-4) def. Trey Houston (10-1) via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:30 of the first round.
There were multiple finishes at Bellator 78, but few of them were as dominant as Billy Horne's first-round submission victory over Trey Houston. Horne controlled every aspect of the fight and put Houston away after taking him down and mounting him. Houston gave up his back, and Horne locked in the choke to earn the win.
Jason Butcher (5-0) def. Shaun Asher (2-1) via submission (guillotine choke) at 1:32 of the first round
It appears that Bellator may have found another gem in Cincinnati native Jason Butcher. The Jorge Gurgel product submitted Shaun Asher after catching him in a guillotine choke early in the fight. Asher tried to slam his way out of the choke, but Butcher hung on and forced the submission. With the victory, Butcher proved that he's definitely a factor in Bellator's middleweight division.
Zoila Gurgel (12-1) def. Casey Noland (4-3) via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
It may not have been her best performance, but Bellator women's champion Zoila Gurgel successfully returned to the cage with her unanimous decision victory over Casey Noland. Gurgel appeared uncomfortable throughout the first two rounds of the fight. She was slow to react to Noland's assaults against the cage while failing to listen to her corner's instructions.
Gurgel finally woke up in the third round. Noland continued to work in her knees from the clinch, but Gurgel started to land some counters of her own. Gurgel's shots hurt Noland, who went to the ground and turtled. Gurgel followed her to the mat and landed more shots, one of which opened a large cut on Noland's forehead. Moments later the final bell rang, and Gurgel was proclaimed the winner.