Whether their friendship played any role, there was little in the way of action between Darrion Caldwell and Henry Corrales at Bellator 228.
Friends would become enemy combatants at Bellator 228 when ex-bantamweight champ Darrion Caldwell faced off against Henry Corrales. The bout was a promising component of the promotion’s featherweight grand prix, whose opening round came to a close on Saturday. Promising, but ultimately disappointing.
The action at The Forum in Los Angeles kicked off with Caldwell holding center, Corrales on the outside, circling around him. Corrales would then take center himself, while Caldwell fired off a kick. There was little in the way of actual action in the opening minute, however, as the two looked to get their timing down.
Caldwell made the first significant move. Dropping for a takedown, he planted Corrales on his back. From side control, he moved into position for a crucifix, at the behest of his corner. He briefly flirted with mount, but Corrales trapped him back in half guard, avoiding catastrophe for the time being.
A Caldwell elbow from the top was anything but friendly, but whether their friendship had any bearing on it, there was little damage done in the opening frame until the final minute or so. The elbow, however, opened up Corrales, and resulted in Henry becoming more active off his back. Caldwell answered with several more elbows; Corrales escaped, only for Caldwell to launch a knee that looked questionable, based on Corrales being a grounded fighter. However, Corrales’ own knee came up, and Caldwell’s attack missed.
Between rounds, Caldwell was warned about the knee attempt. Whether that might make him hesitate later in the fight remained to be seen. Another warning, to both fighters, came after the start of the second, regarding fingers to the eyes.
A left high kick by Caldwell was followed up by a takedown, and while ‘OK’ Corrales made it back up, the former bantamweight champ was in the driver’s seat. He had a body lock cinched tight, and worked for a trip. This was something of a theme in the second: Caldwell in control. Between the second and the third, Corrales’ corner was blunt, knowing their fighter needed to make something happen.
Caldwell launched an uppercut to start the third, while it was Corrales who had all of five minutes to turn the fight around. The threat of the takedown ever-present, however, Henry Corrales seemed hesitant to move in too quickly, instead plodding forward. The lack of urgency was striking, as time slipped away.
Darrion Caldwell, meanwhile, didn’t help things by simply coasting through the third. To the point that he was warned by the ref for timidity. In the final minute, Corrales broke out a guillotine as Caldwell drove him into the fence; as they went to the ground, he couldn’t hold onto it. That spelled doom for Henry Corrales, as Caldwell would advance in the grand prix.
Result: Darrion Caldwell def. Henry Corrales by unanimous decision (29-27, 30-27, 30-27)