If necessary, Goiti Yamauchi can jumble up electrical connections. On Friday at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the main event of Bellator 284, featuring the most prolific submission artist in Bellator MMA history, Neiman Gracie, was knocked out by a punch. Gracie (11-4, 9-4 Bellator) got knocked out for the first time in his 15-fight career at 3:58 of Round 2.
Right away, it was clear that Yamauchi (28-5, 14-4 Bellator) was the superior fighter. In the opening round, he knocked Gracie down with a left jab and went on to perform several takedowns and hold his own against Gracie in the much-anticipated ground exchanges. In the second round, Yamauchi set a trap for his opponent. He ducked under a couple of blows, lured Gracie in, and then led him straight into a crushing right uppercut. The Brazilian was knocked to the ground where he stood and was unable to mount a defense against the subsequent assault. Ref Jason Herzog stopped the fight after a couple more blows were exchanged.
Meanwhile, Valentin Moldavsky’s heavyweight co-main event with Steve Mowry ended in a first-round no-contest after Moldavsky accidentally poked Mowry in the eye. The previously unbeaten Mowry called it quits after a lengthy sabbatical, citing exhaustion and emotional exhaustion. It was 54 seconds into the opening round when the stoppage was ordered.
In another bout, former women’s flyweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane won a majority decision after three rounds against Team Nogueira product Bruna Ellen. Three out of the three games were decided by a 29-28 score.
Macfarlane (12-2, 11-2 Bellator) used constant pressure, strong counters, and strategic takedowns to win. Although Ellen had some success in the first two rounds because of her clean one-twos and left hooks, her most significant advancement came in the third. There, she clamped her teeth around a particularly tight guillotine and hung on for several painful seconds.
Macfarlane eventually freed herself by pressing into a modified shoulder choke, which she bridged on the rail to apply, breaking the Brazilian’s grip. In the nick of time, the Hawaiian positioned himself atop Ellen and reinforced his advantage with some effective ground and pound.
Macfarlane had not won a bout since December 21, 2019, therefore this win ended a two-fight losing streak.
Finally, in the first round of their middleweight exhibition, former champion Aaron Jeffery knocked out Austin Vanderford with punches. With 1:25 remaining in the first round, Jeffery (13-3, 2-0 Bellator), a late replacement for Anthony Adams, finished things.
There was never any breathing room for Vanderford (11-2, 5-2 Bellator). After knocking him down with a right punch, Jeffery moved to a more open area and finished him out with another right hook to the head, this time behind the ear. Referee Bobby Wombacher eventually had to step in after the Canadian swamped Vanderford with standing-to-ground hammerfists.
Jeffery, who is only 29, has won six of his seven matches thus far.
Gokhan Saricam (8-1, 4-1 Bellator) defeated Said Sowma (8-4, 2-3 Bellator) via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) in their three-round heavyweight bout; Marcos Breno (15-2, 1-0 Bellator) defeated Josh Hill (21-5, 3-2 Bellator) via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) in their three-round bantamweight bout; In a rematch at women’s flyweight, DeAnna Bennett (13-7-1, 3-1 Bellator) claimed a unanimous decision victory against Justine Kish (8-6, 1-2 Bellator), with all three judges scoring the bout 29-28; In the first round of their light heavyweight bout, Sullivan Cauley (4-0, 4-0 Bellator) knocked out Tyson Jeffries (14-12, 0-2 Bellator) with a knee strike; Pat Downey (1-0, 1-0 Bellator) submitted Keyes Nelson (0-4, 0-1 Bellator) with an arm-triangle choke 36 seconds into the first round; and Bailey Schoenfelder (3-0, 2-0 Bellator) submitted Mark Currier (1-2, 0-1 Bellator
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