Welterweight contender Logan Storley cemented his spot as a legitimate threat to the Bellator 170-pound title with a unanimous decision win over Neiman Gracie at Bellator 274.

Storley outpointed Gracie over the full duration in Bellator’s first-ever five-round non-title main event, and said that his hard-earned victory was proof that he was ready for a shot at the gold.

“That fight right there, I had to dig deep,” he said.

“That’s those farm roots. That’s Midwest. Figuring out who you are in the fourth round and coming back.

“I was stung for a little bit but I was playing and moving. And then he started wearing himself out and I landed it. I’m a fighter now. That proved it right there.

“Any doubt I ever had about taking a punch, fighting the best guys – that’s the No. 4 guy in the world – and I just beat him. It was 25 minutes on the feet. That was the most fun I’ve ever had competing in my life.

“I want the belt. That’s why I got in this business. I didn’t get it done at the NCAA level and that drives me today. To be the best in the world. Once I’m the best in the world, then it’s time to go do something else. I want to be the best in the world and I want the title next.”

Another man with his sights set on the title is former champion Andrey Koreshkov, who folded Chance Rencountre with a superb spinning back kick to the body just 38 seconds into their co-main event bout.

But, rather than state his intention to challenge for his old title again, Koreshkov took aim at another big-hitting veteran, England’s Paul “Semtex” Daley.

“It’s what we prepared for. The spinning back-kick is like a tradition for Storm School.

“Hey Bellator, I know you prepare many tournaments in Europe. And I know one guy – Paul Daley – I want to kick his ass. He doesn’t like wrestling just like me. We will show a great stand-up fight and I will knock him out.”

The night also saw the return of Brennan Ward, who bounced back from a drug addiction that took him out of the sport for more than two years.

After his dominant performance in his second-round TKO victory over Brandon Bell, Ward paid tribute to the people who helped him get his life, and career, back on track.

“Everybody who came out, thank you. I got support from every aspect of my life. I know I got my Union brothers in here. I got my two coaches right there. They’ve been with me throughout this whole rollercoaster. And my family, my girl, my daughter, my parents, my sister, everybody – I came here tonight for myself and I came here tonight to show the world that you can go to hell and you can come back. You can come back.

“A lot of days away. Brandon Bell took some shots. I thought I was going to knock him out. He’s a tough guy, man. It felt good. It felt good to be back. I’ve got a lot more to show. And I got more to come. You know that you’re going to have to see me face a top 10 guy next. You know it. You know I have to.”

“I see a lot of these dudes in the top 10 I respect. I know Scott Coker is going to pick me out somebody good. Test one of these young guys that you got. Test one of these young guys like I used to get tested when I was a young guy coming up. I’m the gatekeeper now. Test one of these young boys against me!”

Bellator 274: Official Results

Main Card

  • Logan Storley def. Neiman Gracie via unanimous decision (48-47, 50-45, 49-46)
  • Andrey Koreshkov def. Chance Rencountre via TKO (spinning back kick) – Round 1, 0:38
  • Adam Piccolotti def. Georgi Karakhanyan via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Brennan Ward def. Brandon Bell via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 0:32
  • Davion Franklin def. Said Sowma via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

Preliminary Card

  • Nick Browne def. Mandel Nallo via TKO (ground strikes) – Round 2, 2:20
  • Jaylon Bates def. Chris Disonell via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 3:39
  • Bobby King def. Aviv Gozali via TKO (doctor stoppage) – Round 1, 5:00
  • DeAnna Bennett def. Justine Kish via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
  • Jordan Newman def. Cody Herbert via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Justin Montalvo def. Corey Samuels via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:43
  • Isaiah Hokit def. Theodore Macuka via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:59
  • Jonathan DiLorenzo def. Orlando Mendoza via submission (D’Arce choke) – Round 1, 1:07