Bellator 191 Results: Letourneau Shines in Debut, McDonald Wins Despite Breaking Hand

Valerie Letournea

In Bellator’s last event of 2017 and last event on Spike TV, two ex-UFC title challengers made their Bellator debuts on the same night at Bellator 191, each in the main and co-main events. Starting things off in the co-main event was Valerie Letourneau who took on fellow former UFC competitor, Kate Jackson(who was also on season 23 of The Ultimate Fighter). Letourneau was one of the UFC fighters in the Strawweight division who was suffering the most from the lack of a Flyweight division. Which led to her release which brings us to now.

The fight started off with each looking and moving pretty loose and relaxed. Each tried to set up varied strike combos, leading with lots of low kicks and jabs. Each traded cage control through the first half of the opening round and for each fighter, they were having there best success when leading. We saw some clinch work late in the first round from Letourneau where she was able to land some good shots in tight but the time clinching didn’t last long.

Round two began pretty similarly to the first but with each being more active with their striking attempts. Jackson was on the back peddle for the start of the round but still was finding good openings to land her kicks and punches, as was Letourneau. Jackson eventually shot in for a surprise takedown that she ended up getting but Letourneau immediately started attacking with an armbar from the guard that turned into a triangle and back to an armbar. Jackson was able to roll through enough to escape and Letourneau stood up.

In the third and final round, Letourneau came out strong and was continually landing a right hook to left body kick combo. Jackson began to look a bit lost when starting the action, she had more success with her counters but Letourneau’s pressure and activity were making it difficult.

Letourneau kept control of the action for the rest of the way, avoiding any big shots leading to a successful Bellator debut.

Letournea speaking about the fight:

“I never feel like I’m doing enough. That’s the first thing I ask my coach: ‘Was it a good fight?’ I think experience has taught me to be patient in the fight and to fight smart. You always want to put on a show, but sometimes it can cost you the fight. In my last fight, I didn’t do enough because I was too careful. I wanted to bring all that experience together and make the best of it.”

 “This was a very important fight for me. I’m 34, my daughter’s a teenager now. I’ve sacrificed a lot of things for my career. But I want this Bellator belt so bad. It was really hard for me to watch Ilima Macfarlane and Emily Ducote fight for it first. I have so much respect for both of them, but I wanted to be the first one to fight for the title. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen but to me that’s the only thing I have on my mind right now. Ilima knows I want to fight her and she had a really good performance in her last fight. When it happens, I think it’s going to be a really good matchup. It’s going to be an exciting fight.”

Michael McDonald took on another Bellator newcomer in Peter Ligier in the main event.

As the action started, the size advantage was very evident in favor of McDonald. He started the fight out patiently with his hands high and Ligier trying to pick his shots but occasionally ate a jab every time he came in to close the distance. Although he was controlling the cage for most of the round, McDonald was looking for counters more than engaging first. This made for somewhat of a lackluster round.

More of the same from round one carried into the second. McDonald was controlling the cage and went in for a clinch about a minute in, putting Ligier up against the cage briefly. A very good punch exchange followed moments after where Ligier appeared to hurt McDonald somewhat before clinching up giving McDonald a whizzer to escape before getting a takedown, positioning him right into side control. Ligier impressively was able to work his way up relatively quickly. As the round came to a close, McDonald charged in trying to land a flying knee followed that missed but was followed by a clean uppercut but no finish came to fruition.

McDonald put the pressure on best in the final round where he clinched up quickly and hit a beautiful trip after taking an elbow that split him open atop the head. McDonald would control for all of the round after this with the exception of a momentary scramble where Ligier was able to get up. Ligier even found an opportunity to get on top to finish the fight but it wasn’t enough to earn him the victory.

After the fight, McDonald told Jimmy Smith in his post-fight interview that he broke his hand in the second round.

“I was happy with the performance. He ate some heavy punches. I hit him hard enough to break my right hand again, so he’s very durable and I expected that from him. I’ve seen him get put down and keep coming. He was very impressive, I’m honored to have fought him and he really stepped up to the occasion. I think that I have some pretty high accolades for a bantamweight, but I really have no idea how that stacks up to the other guys in my division. We will let this hand heal up and find out soon.”

 

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 12/15/2017