Mansour Barnaoui introduced himself to the Bellator lightweight division in fine style as he submitted Adam Piccolotti via second-round rear-naked choke to immediately thrust himself into the group of contenders in the promotion’s 155-pound division.

France’s Barnoui was put under pressure early as Piccolotti launched into a takedown and began chasing a host of submissions. But Barnaoui worked his way out of a succession of dangerous predicaments, then turned the tables as he transitioned to Piccolotti’s back and locked up a body triangle.

Then the Frenchman showed some offensive grappling of his own as he first looked for a rear-naked choke, then appeared to go for a twister submission, but Piccolotti used the leverage of the cage to stay safe on the mat trouble.

Barnaoui kept the pressure on, however, and punished his man with ground strikes to leave the American bloodied up and bemused as he returned to his corner at the end of Round 1.

Piccolotti started fast in Round 2 as he looked to put Barnaoui on the back foot early. But the Frenchman quickly escaped and took Piccolotti’s back before eventually locking up a rear-naked choke for the win to serve notice to the rest of the lightweight division’s top contenders – he’s coming.

Edwards wrestles to win

In the co-main event, middleweight contender Fabian Edwards added another solid win to his Bellator resume after a gruelling three-round decision victory over teak-tough Irishman Charlie Ward.

After a lengthy feeling-out process, Edwards appeared to make the breakthrough with a head kick that put Ward on wobbly legs. Edwards followed up with two more head kick attempts, but slipped on the last kick to give Ward the chance to fall on top and connect with some solid ground strikes while he recovered his senses.

The second round saw Edwards switch gears and turn to his own wrestling game as he exploded into an early takedown on the Irishman, but he wasn’t able to find his way to a submission, despite taking Ward’s back.

After some brief stand-up exchanges and an accidental knee to the cup from Ward, Edwards took Ward to the mat again and hammered his man with elbows from the top before attempting an arm-triangle choke that Ward did well to survive.

It meant the action went into the final round, and once again Edwards took the action to the canvas. This time he swiftly took Ward’s back and looked to lock up a rear-naked choke.

And, with Ward trash-talking Edwards for not being able to finish him, the pair exchanged words all the way to the final bell, before embracing in a show of respect at the fight’s conclusion.

The result was far from in doubt, however, as Edwards ran out the unanimous decision winner with scores of 29-28, 30-27, 30-27.

Wilde edges Rogers after bloody battle

The all-English lightweight bout between Saul Rogers and Tim Wilde served up a real clash of styles, with Wilde’s stick-and-move approach prevailing over Rogers’ wrestling-based attack.

Rogers made the stronger start of the pair, using his wrestling and grappling skills well to put Wilde on his back, then put him on the defensive as he threatened with guillotine chokes and a pair of Peruvian necktie attempts. But Wilde defended well and was greeted by applause from the Milan crowd after escaping Rogers’ clutches.

Wilde turned to his hands, and his feet, as he outboxed Rogers through Round 2 to set up a winner-takes-all final round. And, despite Rogers gamely pushing forward looking to take matters to the mat and attempting another Peruvian necktie, Wilde’s striking was just enough to edge the final frame and give him the split-decision win, with scores of 28-29, 29-28, 29-28.

Gonzales outpaces Fisher

The speed factor was there for all to see when rising featherweight contender Justin Gonzales took on English veteran Andrew Fisher in the main card opener, as the American ran out a convincing winner on the scorecards.

During three one-sided rounds, Gonzales consistently beat Fisher to the punch as he busted up the Brit on the feet, and sprinkled in a little wrestling for good measure.

Gonzales’ pace and precision on the feet were simply too much for Fisher, who hung in there for the full 15-minute duration, but was unable to put his opponent in any serious trouble.

The J-Train’s dominance was reflected in the judges’ scores, with the scorecards reading to improve Gonzales’ record to 14 wins, one loss.

Trainer bounces back

Earlier on the preliminary card, English light heavyweight prospect Luke Trainer bounced back from his first career loss with a dominant performance as he finished Lucas Alsina in the first round.

Trainer caught Argentina’s Alsina clean with a snapping front kick to the face, then took his man to the mat.

“The Gent” then went to work on the ground where, after missing out on a D’Arce choke moments earlier, he locked up a rear-naked choke to force the tap at the 1:54 mark of the opening round and bounce back into the win column.

Trainer’s record improved to 6-1, and the English fighter will be closely watching Bellator’s early-2023 calendar with his sights set on a spot on an upcoming event in either London or Dublin in Q1 next year.

Bellator 287: Official Results


  • Mansour Barnaoui def. Adam Piccolotti via submission (rear-naked choke) Round 2, 2:51
  • Fabian Edwards def. Charlie Ward via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Tim Wilde def. Saul Rogers via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Justin Gonzales def. Andrew Fisher via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)


  • Daniele Scatizzi def. Davy Gallon via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Costello van Steenis def. Kamil Oniszczuk via submission (D’Arce choke) – Round 2, 3:02
  • Alfie Davis def. Thibault Gouti via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Chiara Penco def. Manuela Marconetto via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
  • Yves Landu def. Walter Cogliandro vis unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Simon Biyong def. Dragos Zubco via TKO (ground strikes) – Round 2, 3:36
  • Nicolo Solli def. Bourama Camara via unanimous decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Luke Trainer def. Lucas Alsina via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 1:54
  • Steven Hill def. Andrea Fusi via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-27, 30-26)
  • Sarvardzhon Khamidov def. Jose Maria Tome via TKO (liver kick) – Round 1, 1:01