Two-division Bellator champion Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire produced a scientific efficiency to retain his 145-pound title and transfer into the ultimate of the $1million featherweight grand prix.
Freire, 33, who holds Bellator’s titles at each featherweight and light-weight, showcased his punch energy, then his grappling expertise, to defeat American contender Emmanuel Sanchez through first-round technical submission in the primary occasion of Bellator 255 – claiming a report twentieth win below the Bellator banner.
The bout additionally fashioned the second semi-final of the promotion’s featherweight world grand prix, with the Brazilian transferring on to the finale the place he’ll tackle undefeated American contender AJ McKee for the undisputed title and prize of $1million (£723,000).
Freire had already defeated Sanchez through unanimous resolution in an earlier title conflict at Bellator 209 in Tel Aviv, Israel, again in November 2018. But, within the rematch at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, the Brazilian made his punch energy pay as he related with a giant left hand that dropped his man to the canvas halfway by way of the opening spherical.
With Sanchez shocked, the champion adopted his man to the mat and locked up a guillotine choke that rendered the challenger unconscious at the three:35 mark. It gave Pitbull a report twentieth victory contained in the Bellator cage, and his thirty second profession win general. It was additionally the primary time that Sanchez had been completed in his 25-fight profession.
Reflecting on the guillotine choke that earned him his seventh consecutive victory, Freire mentioned: “It’s like a normal movement for me, it’s [in] my veins. It’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu. That’s a position I love very much. So he was there, I saw his neck, and that’s that.”
After the struggle, Freire and McKee exchanged heated phrases as they confronted off forward of the grand prix ultimate later this 12 months. McKee, 25, has an ideal 17-0 report, and has made no secret of his need to defeat Pitbull twice to say each the featherweight and light-weight titles.
“I told him, I’m bringing that leash and a kennel, and I’m ready to take him to the pound!” he declared.
Jackson closes in on title shot
In the night time’s co-main occasion, Jamaican welterweight contender Jason Jackson overcame a freak mid-fight eye damage to defeat former title challenger Neiman Gracie and transfer one step nearer to a shot at the Bellator 170-pound title.
Jackson, 30, coped nicely towards Gracie’s much-vaunted grappling as he reversed positions on the Brazilian and landed the extra impactful strikes by way of their gruelling three-round battle.
However, issues virtually got here to a untimely finish halfway by way of the opening spherical when Jackson raked his personal eye towards the cage fence. After a short pause for the physician to examine his damage, Jackson was allowed to proceed.
With his left eye visibly closing, Jackson emerged from his nook for spherical two sporting a broad grin, then related with some strong strikes as he stung the Brazilian with a leg kick, then a giant proper hand as he confirmed he was very a lot an element within the struggle.
While Gracie continued to threaten along with his takedowns and grappling, the Brazilian was unable to place Jackson in any critical hazard on the mat, whereas Jackson continued to land the cleaner work within the stand-up exchanges.
That putting superiority proved essential within the ultimate reckoning, because the three cageside judges all scored the struggle within the Florida-based fighter’s favour, with scores of 29-28 on all three scorecards to enhance Jackson’s report to 14-4 and prolong his Bellator successful streak to 4.
Nerveless Nurmagomedov claims debut win
Just two weeks after his cousin Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement from MMA was confirmed, 22-year-old Usman Nurmagomedov made his Bellator debut, and the Russian light-weight prolonged his excellent skilled report with victory over American Mike Hamel.
With his famous person cousin in his nook, Nurmagomedov appeared calm and relaxed all through his three-round 155-pound matchup with Hamel, who appeared to push the tempo however was unable to make an actual impression.
Hamel’s willingness to plough ahead and throw pictures performed into the arms, and toes, of Nurmagomedov, who picked off the American virtually at will by way of the matchup as he left Hamel’s face bloodied and bruised.
Hamel, who had moved up a weight class to compete at light-weight, appeared stuffed with struggle and vitality, however regardless of his efforts, he was unable to knock the Makhachkala native out of his stride as Nurmagomedov used his slick putting expertise to earn a unanimous resolution victory with scores of 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 to take his profession report to 12-0.
Cyborg’s subsequent task confirmed
In addition to the motion within the cage in Uncasville, it was additionally confirmed that Bellator ladies’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg will put her 145-pound championship on the road towards American Leslie Smith at Bellator 259 on 21 May.
The pair met within the UFC again in May 2016, when Cyborg claimed a first-round TKO victory in a struggle Smith felt was stopped prematurely. Now, with each ladies competing below the Bellator banner, the pair will face off once more with the title on the road.
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