Welterweight contenders collided in the main event of Bellator 284 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Friday night, with Goiti Yamauchi prevailing with an impressive second-round finish of touted contender Neiman Gracie.
Yamauchi handed Gracie the first stoppage defeat of his career with a solid uppercut that folded up the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ace, and propelled Yamauchi as close as he’s ever been to a shot at the Bellator welterweight title.
Yamauchi looked good in Round 1, and had Gracie in trouble with his strikes in the opening stanza. But he pushed his advantage one step further in the second round as he put Gracie on the back foot, both on the feet and on the mat.
Deep in the second round, Yamauchi, holding his hands low to bait his opponent, connected flush with a big uppercut that dropped Gracie hard. A flurry of follow-up punches was enough to force the finish and give Yamauchi the 28th win of his career.
Hopes were high that the co-main event would produce a new contender for the Bellator heavyweight title, but former interim champion Valentin Moldavsky’s bout with undefeated contender Steve Mowry ended disappointingly, with an accidental eye poke on the American forcing the fight to be halted and ruled a no contest after just 54 seconds of the opening round.
Former women’s flyweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane lost out at Bellator 279 as she looked to bounce back from losing her title to Juliana Velasquez, but she finally returned to winning ways with a unanimous decision over Brazil’s Bruna Ellen.
Turkish heavyweight Gokhan Saricam moved his career to 8-1 with a split-decision victory over Said Sowma. Both men had their successes in a bout that saw momentum swing one way, then the next. And, as the scores were being collated, the identity of the winner was far from certain. Eventually, it was Saricam who edged the fight with scores of 29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
There was also a landmark victory for Canadian middleweight contender Aaron Jeffery, who needed just 85 seconds to demolish former title challenger Austin Vanderford in their main card clash.
Bellator 284: Official Results
- Goiti Yamauchi def. Neiman Gracie via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 3:58
- Valentin Moldavsky vs. Steve Mowry ruled a no contest (accidental eye poke) – Round 1, 0:54
- Ilima-Lei Macfarlane def. Bruna Ellen via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Gokhan Saricam def. Said Sowma via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Aaron Jeffery def. Austin Vanderford via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:25
- Marcos Breno def. Josh Hill via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- DeAnna Bennett def. Justine Kish via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Sullivan Cauley def. Tyson Jeffries via knockout (knee) – Round 1, 1:39
- Pat Downey def. Keyes Nelson via submission (arm triangle choke) – Round 1, 0:36
- Bailey Schoenfelder def. Mark Currier via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:35
- Mitchell McKee def. Tony Ortega via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 1:28