Corey Anderson will kick off his Bellator career on Saturday night when he fights Melvin Manhoef in the main event of Bellator 251.
Follow along throughout the evening for live updates of the entire card, which is set to take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA.
Preliminary Card (4:45PM EST) (Youtube)
Main Card (7:00PM EDT) (CBS Sports Network)
Bout 10: Melvin Manhoef (32-14-1) vs. Corey Anderson (13-5) (Light Heavyweight)
Anderson Stops Manhoef In Second Round, Has Successful Bellator Debut
Corey Anderson had a successful Bellator debut in the main event, stopping Melvin Manhoef in the second round with ground and pound strikes.
Anderson finished the fight shortly after scoring a takedown in the second round. A consistent pace of punches made Manhoef cover up, causing the referee to step in eventually.
Anderson had a strong first round, taking Manhoef down numerous times.
After his fight, Anderson asked for a fight with the Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion, which is currently Vadim Nemkov.
The fight was Anderson’s first after a 15-fight career in the UFC. The last fight of his in the run was a loss to now-champion Jan Blachowicz.
The loss for Manhoef snapped a two-fight streak of wins he obtained in 2019.
Bout 9: Tyrell Fortune (8-1) vs. Said Sowma (6-1) (Heavyweight)
Fortune Sees Return To Winning Ways With Victory Over Sowma
Tyrell Fortune got a win in the co-main event, defeating Bellator newcomer Said Sowma via decision.
The slow-paced fight saw Fortune win the first and last round of battle.
The first round had Fortune as the more active striker in what was a slow-going battle. In the third, Fortune was able to land shots on the feet and out-wrestle Sowma.
The win for Fortune saw him bounce back from a rough 2020. Fortune took his first loss as a pro in February, losing a fight to Timothy Johnson. His return to the cage in September resulted in a no-contest after an accidentally groin strike took Jack May out of the fight.
Sowma entered Bellator on a six-fight streak of wins. His last before Thursday was a win over Bobby Brents to claim the Titan FC Heavyweight Championship.
Bout 8: Austin Vanderford (9-0) vs. Vinicius de Jesus (9-3) (Middleweight)
Vanderford Earns 10th-Straight Win, Defeating Short-Notice Opponent
Moving into the double digits of his undefeated record, Austin Vanderford defeated short-notice opponent Vinicius de Jesus after a damaging ground and pound performance.
Vanderford did his best work in the final two rounds, cutting de Jesus open with strikes when not looking for an arm triangle choke.
De Jesus took the fight on short notice, replacing Chris Curtis, who withdrew due to a positive COVID-19 test.
The win was Vanderford’s fourth in Bellator.
Vanderford versus de Jesus play-by-play.
Bout 7: Derek Anderson (16-3) vs. Killys Mota (12-1) (Welterweight)
Overturned Ruling In Fight-Ending Sequence Earns Anderson Win
Derek Anderson picked up a win on the main card after a kick took Killys Mota out of competition in the second round. The kick, which caused a pause in action at first as it was considered illegal, was ruled fair upon replay and caused the fight to end.
The kick was thrown as Mota was on one knee, making him a grounded fighter and making the kick illegal, however, it connected as the knee was lifted, making it completely allowed.
Mota was not able to continue after the kick, causing the fight to end.
Anderson was meant to fight in October, although he was pulled from a fight after his opponent, Paul Daley, had a health scare during his weight cut.
The win is Anderson’s third-straight in Bellator. Previous victories over Zak Bucia and Guilherme Bomba came via decision in 2018 and 2019.
Mota’s previous fight was his Bellator debut, finishing Mandel Nallo with leg kicks in 2019.
Bout 6: Bryce Logan (12-4) vs. Georgi Karakhanyan (29-11-1) (Lightweight)
Karakhanyan Defeats Logan, Gives Him First Loss Since Championship LFA Run
Georgi Karakhanyan got a win to finish the prelims, getting a split decision victory against Bryce Logan. The fight saw Karakhanyan have his best moments with takedowns while Logan was the better striker.
The fight snapped a three-fight losing streak for Logan, who was making his return to Bellator after three-straight wins in LFA, including a championship victory over Jacob Rosales.
Karakhanyan’s previous fight was a split decision as well, although it was a loss to Myles Jury in August.
Bout 5: Julius Anglickas (8-1) vs. Alex Polizzi (7-0) (Light Heavyweight)
Anglickas Hands Polizzi First Loss
Julius Anglickas took the undefeated record of Alex Polizzi on the prelims, winning a unanimous decision after 15 minutes of action.
The first two rounds saw Anglickas land a large number of strikes, also being able to resist takedowns and get back on the feet quickly.
Anglickas won a large part of the third round by scoring two takedowns, keeping Polizzi on his back in the final moments of action.
Polizzi’s previous fight was his Bellator debut, defeating former Bellator champion Rafael Carvalho.
Anglickas’ last fight, also his Bellator debut, was a win over Jordan Young in November of 2019.
Both fighters are former LFA champions prior to their Bellator run.
Bout 4: Janay Harding (5-4) vs. Jessy Miele (9-4) (Featherweight)
Harding Wins on Scorecard Over Miele
Janay Harding returned to the win column on the prelims, defeating Jessy Miele via decision. The fight was a back-and-forth battle throughout, where both fighters often had their best moments on the ground.
Harding earned her first win since March of 2019 with the fight. Her last bout was a loss, dropping a bout a year ago to Amanda Bell.
Harding had a good close to the fight, locking up a rear naked choke before the clock ran out of time.
Miele’s previous fight was in August, where she lost a decision to former Bellator Featherweight Champion Julia Budd.
Bout 3: Piankhi Zimmerman (5-4-1) vs. Ali Zebian (4-2) (Lightweight)
Zebian Scores Takedowns To Win First Bellator Fight
Ali Zebian landed a high volume of takedowns on Piankhi Zimmerman to win a unanimous decision on the prelims.
Zimmerman’s moments on the feet were strong, being able to use his distance to land strikes on Zebian. Those moments, however, were often short-lived as Zebian was quick and consistent with his takedowns.
Both fighters were returning to the cage after a loss on the regional scene.
Zebian’s previous fight was a loss on an LFA show in October. Zebian competed in Bellator once before in his pro career, losing a split decision to Matt Probin.
Zimmerman was stopped in the first round on a CFFC card in August.
Bout 2: Jaylon Bates (0-0) vs. Joe Supino (0-0) (Bantamweight)
Bates Dominates Supino For Three Rounds To Win Pro Debut
Jaylon Bates had a stellar pro debut on the prelims, defeating Joe Supino via decision after three rounds of controlling grappling.
Bates had control on the ground for a large portion of the fight, landing a high volume of strikes to Supino while in the position.
Despite the strong showing, Bates said after the fight “I’ll be better.”
The fighters got in each other’s faces after the fight concluded, although tensions seemingly cooled before the decision was read.
The fight was the pro debut for Supino as well.
Bout 1: Sumiko Inaba (0-0) vs. Jessica Ruiz (0-1) (Flyweight)
Inaba Successful In Pro Debut
Sumiko Inaba scored a first-round stoppage win in her pro debut, stopping Jessica Ruiz late in the round with strikes. Inaba was able to finish the fight with strikes from full mount shortly after landing a takedown from the clinch.
A large portion of the fight was in a clinch, where Inaba landed a series of punches and knees.
The fight was Ruiz’s return to action after being absent from the cage since 2018. Her previous fight, her debut as a pro, as a loss to Jennifer Chieng.