Bellator Featherweight Champion Patricio Pitbull will look to defend his belt in a rematch against Emmanuel Sanchez in the main event of Friday night’s Bellator 255 card. The bout, which will take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA, is part of Bellator’s ongoing Featherweight Grand Prix, which is in the semi-final stage.
A full preview of the card can be read here.
Preliminary Card (6:00PM EDT / 5:00PM CDT) (Youtube)
Main Card (9:00PM EDT / 8:00PM CDT) (Showtime / Youtube)
Bout 12: Patricio Pitbull (31-4) vs. Emmanuel Sanchez (20-4) (Bellator Featherweight Championship)
Pitbull Defends Belt, Advances To Grand Prix Finals With Submission Win Against Sanchez
Patricio Pitbull defended his Bellator Featherweight Championship within a round, choking Emmanuel Sanchez out in the main event of Bellator 255.
The win advanced Pitbull into the grand finals of Bellator’s Featherweight Grand Prix, matching him with undefeated finalist AJ McKee.
Pitbull applied a guillotine choke while on the feet, then pulled guard to take the fight to the ground after. He kept the choke until Sanchez went unconscious, making the referee stop the fight in the fourth round.
Pitbull had scored the submission win just moments after dropping Sanchez with a left hand.
The bout was Sanchez’s second time fighting Pitbull. He first battled him in 2018, competing for five rounds before losing via unanimous decision.
Sanchez has earned three wins since then, including wins in the Bellator tournament over Ty-wan Claxton and Daniel Weichel.
After passing through the first three rounds of Bellator’s 145-pound bracket, Pitbull is now set to face McKee. The grand final bout between Pitbull and McKee does not have a scheduled date currently.
Pitbull defended his belt in the earlier rounds of the bracket, defeating Juan Archuleta and Pedro Carvalho.
Bout 11: Neiman Gracie (10-1) vs. Jason Jackson (13-4) (Welterweight)
Jackson Takes Scorecard Win Over Gracie, Calls For Title Fight
Jason Jackson prevailed in a close three-round battle against Neiman Gracie, earning a unanimous decision for his fourth consecutive win in the promotion (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
A large portion of the fight was judged off control on the ground, as the fighters would switch positions frequently through the rounds.
There was an odd injury early in the fight, as Jackson’s left eye got caught in the Bellator cage. It forced Jackson’s eye to shut early on, although he was able to continue to the end of the fight.
Jackson called for a title fight afterwards.
Gracie was returning to the cage after earning a submission win over Jon Fitch last year.
Bout 10: Tyrell Fortune (9-1) vs. Jack May (11-7) (Heavyweight)
Fortune Avenges No-Contest Fight Against May With First Round Stoppage
Tyrell Fortune used ground and pound to defeat Jack May within a round, avenging a no contest fight that he had against the fellow heavyweight last year.
Fortune finished the fight by landing dozens of shots from half guard on the ground. The referee opted to stop the fight after a long series of punches from Fortune went unanswered.
There was some tension after the fight, as Fortune shouted at May right after the stoppage. The rivalry between the heavyweights was evident earlier in the week, with a heated face-off and May being open to the fact that he was trash-talking leading up to the bout. However, Fortune claimed they “finished it here.”
Fortune called out Valentin Moldavsky following his win.
Fortune fought May last year, although their bout ended early via no contest due to a groin shot. Fortune picked up a win since then, defeating former Titan FC Heavyweight Champion Said Sowma via decision.
May took the bout on short notice, stepping in for veteran Matt Mitrione.
Bout 9: Usman Nurmagomedov (11-0) vs. Mike Hamel (7-4) (Lightweight)
Nurmagomedov Earns Scorecard Win Against Hamel In Bellator Debut
Undefeated lightweight Usman Nurmagomedov had a strong showing in his Bellator debut, defeating Mike Hamel for a unanimous decision win (29-28, 30-27 & 30-27).
Nurmagomedov kept a consistent pace of strikes through all three rounds, landing jabs, among other strikes, that put visible damage on Hamel.
Nurmagomedov now has 12 wins as a pro. He entered Bellator after a strong 2020 that saw him pick up three wins. Usman had former UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib in his corner for the fight.
Nurmagomedov said afterwards that the pressure of his Bellator debut got to him a little.
“Because it was my debut and because there was pressure I didn’t fully open up,” said Nurmagomedov through a translator.
Hamel was returning after losing a split decision to Adam Borics last year.
Bout 8: Kana Watanabe (9-0-1) vs. Alejandra Lara (9-3) (Flyweight)
Watanabe Takes U.S. Debut Win Over Lara In Split Decision
Kana Watanabe won her U.S. debut on Friday, defeating Alejandra Lara via split decision after a close three-round fight (29-28 Lara, 29-28 Watanabe & 29-28 Watanabe).
Lara had the better start to the fight, although Watanabe gained control of the match in the second half and did enough to get the nod from two judges.
Lara connected with sharp striking early in the feet, clearly hurting Watanabe with combinations of punches. Watanabe was able to score numerous takedowns in the fight, often using the level changes to stop Lara’s success on the feet.
Watanabe completely dominated the third round, scoring a clinch takedown then keeping control on the floor for the rest of the time.
Watanabe admitted afterwards that she was worried about the decision before it was read.
“[I] was very stressed about the results,” said Watanabe through a translator during her post-fight press conference.
Watanabe kept her undefeated record with the win on Friday. Her previous bout was in late 2019, where she won her Bellator debut by finishing Ilara Joanne.
Similarly, Lara was returning after over a year outside of action. She had two wins in Bellator from 2019 before Friday’s loss.
Bout 7: Magomed Magomedov (17-1) vs. Cee Jay Hamilton (15-7) (Bantamweight)
Magomedov Submits Hamilton With Rear Naked Choke For Second Bellator Win
Magomed Magomedov picked up his second Bellator victory on Friday, catching Cee Jay Hamilton in the second round with a rear naked choke. Magomedov applied the choke while mounted on the back of Hamilton, keeping it on as they went to the ground and a tap came.
Magomedov had prevailed over Hamilton earlier in the bout with ground and pound.
Magomedov is now on a five-fight win streak that includes his 2020 Bellator debut win over Matheus Mattos.
Hamilton was given the Bellator fight after picking up two wins on the regional scene in 2019.
Bout 6: Mandel Nallo (7-1) vs. Ricardo Seixas (9-2) (Lightweight)
Nallo Returns To Win Column With One-Round Stoppage Over Seixas
Mandel Nallo had a dominant win over Ricardo Seixas, stopping the fellow lightweight within a round with strikes to return to the win column.
The controlling fight saw Nallo constantly walking forward with shots throughout the bout. The match came to an end after he dropped Seixas with a right cross, causing the referee to end the bout.
Nallo earned his eighth finish victory as a pro, coming back after a loss and no contest in his two previous bouts. The win on Friday was his first since 2018.
Seixas took the fight on short notice, stepping in for Keoni Diggs.
Bout 5: Fabio Aguiar (17-1) vs. Khalid Murtazaliev (14-2) (Middleweight)
Murtazaliev Defeats Aguiar on Scorecards In Bellator Debut
Khalid Murtazaliev scored his first Bellator win on the prelims, defeating fellow promotional newcomer Fabio Aguiar via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 & 30-27).
A large portion of the scoring in the fight relied on takedowns and control in positions.
Aguiar had a good strong first round, staying persistent with takedown attempts on his opponent. Murtazaliev was issued a warning during the round due to grabbing the cage.
Murtazaliev was able to stay in full guard against Aguiar for most of the second round. Control gave Murtazaliev the second round as well, taking Aguiar down numerous times in the frame.
Murtazaliev was appearing for the first time since his one-fight UFC run in 2018, which saw him defeat CB Dolloway after a round of action.
Aguiar entered the bout after a long win streak on the regional scene.
Bout 4: Roger Huerta (24-12-1) vs. Chris Gonzalez (5-0) (Catchweight 160 lbs)
Gonzalez Defeats Veteran Huerta In First Bellator Stoppage Win
Chris Gonzalez earned the most notable win of his career on Friday, defeating veteran Roger Huerta in the third round with strikes on the ground. Gonzalez scored strikes while on the back of Huerta late, causing a tap to stop the fight.
Gonzalez’s finish win came after three strong rounds.
Gonzalez had Huerta in trouble late in the first round, switching between landing punches and looking for chokes while on his back.
Gonzalez scored two takedowns in the second round that kept Huerta on his back for long periods of time.
The third round started with a back-and-forth striking battle, although it eventually returned to the ground once Gonzalez shot in.
The win on Friday was Gonzalez’s sixth as a pro, including five in Bellator. Friday’s fight was his first under the promotion that came via stoppage.
Huerta entered the fight having lost the previous three bouts in his ongoing Bellator stint. The losses came against big names in the promotion like Benson Henderson and Patricky Pitbull.
Bout 3: Jose Augusto (6-2) vs. Jonathan Wilson (9-3) (Light Heavyweight)
Augusto Lands First-Round Submission Win Over Wilson In Bellator Debut
Jose Augusto scored a last-minute submission victory in the first round of a bout against Jonathan Wilson for his Bellator debut win. Augusto applied an arm triangle choke late in the round that caused Wilson to tape just before the round expired.
The tap-out victory for Augusto came after he controlled Wilson on the ground with strikes.
Augusto was making his Bellator debut after putting together a win streak on the regional scene.
Wilson, a former UFC fighter, had a two-fight win streak before Friday’s fight.
Bout 2: Roman Faraldo (4-0) vs. Trevor Gudde (2-1) (Welterweight)
Faraldo Stops Gudde Early With Punches
Roman Faraldo showcased his heavy fists to stop Trevor Gudde quickly on the prelims. Faraldo scored numerous knockdowns with punches in the first round before the referee stopped the bout.
Despite Gudde going to the ground numerous times, Faraldo would let him get up before going back to fighting.
“I just wanted to jump on him real quick, touch him, and get out of there,” said Faraldo on the quick performance in his post-fight interview.
Both fighters were returning after earning their first Bellator win in their previous fight.
Faraldo’s first Bellator fight saw him score a flying knee finish over Pat Casey. He now remains undefeated through five pro fights.
Gudde used his stand-up game to stop Khonry Gracie back in November.
Bout 1: Jordan Newman (2-0) vs. Branko Busick (2-1) (Middleweight)
Newman Lands Ground and Pound For Stoppage Win Over Busick
A steady stream of ground and pound from Jordan Newman earned him his third pro win, stopping Branko Busick in the second round of action.
Newman started the round with strikes from side control, although he moved into crucifix position with punches and elbows before the referee eventually stopped the bout.
Newman succeeded with takedowns in the first round as well, looking for a choke and scoring with shots in the opening frame.
Newman looked for a choke early, although he was not able to secure it.
“A choke would have been good. It would have been the first submission of my career … But a win is a win,” said Newman during his post-fight press conference.
Newman’s two previous MMA wins came during his rookie year as a pro in 2019.
The fight was Busick’s first for Bellator. He now has an even MMA record of two wins and two losses.