Fresno’s rough showing heading into Bellator 148 continued on fight night Friday at Save Mart Center.
First, the city’s most recognized mixed martial arts fighter, Josh Koscheck, had to pull out because of injury a few weeks prior to the bouts.
Then Koscheck’s understudy, Chris Honeycutt, failed to put up much of a fight in the co-main event.
Honeycutt was sent to his knees and absorbed a flurry of hits to the head in losing to Paul Bradley via TKO just 40 seconds into the welterweight feature.
The referee stopped the fight with a red-faced Honeycutt unable to defend himself as Bradley connected again and again to both sides of the Fresno fighter’s head.
40 secondsTime it took for Paul Bradley’s TKO of Fresno’s Chris Honeycutt
Honeycutt suffered his first professional loss, falling to 6-1 with one no-contest.
“I saw him coming back up and I wanted to make sure he wouldn’t get back up,” Bradley said.
A huge fan favorite among a crowd of roughly 4,200, Honeycutt is originally from the East Coast but has lived in Fresno the past four years while training with fellow Fresno resident Koscheck.
Friday’s fight was a rematch from nearly a year ago, when Honeycutt and Bradley bumped heads and the bout was called a no-contest.
Paul Daley, who fought Andy Uhrich in Bellator 148’s main event, then continued to antagonize Fresno fans and Koscheck – who was sitting ringside. Ahead of Daley’s bout, a video showed Daley calling out Koscheck for failing to fight Friday.
Daley received several rounds of boos throughout the night.
But the 32-year-old from England backed up his talk, knocking out Uhrich within two minutes.
I was really searching for a face-plant knockout. Really happy with the performance ... here in (Koscheck’s) hometown. Josh’s time will come.
Paul Daley after knocking out Andy Uhrich in the first round
“I was really searching for a face-plant knockout,” Daley said. “Really happy with the performance … here in (Koscheck’s) hometown.
“Josh’s time will come.”
Bradley and Daley weren’t the only ones to score early KOs.
Patricky “Pitbull” Freire bloodied Ryan Couture early, then landed a final left hook to end it.
Couture, the son of former UFC headliner Randy Couture, was taken out on a stretcher. The public-address announcer said it was a precaution, with Couture reported to be responsive.