Friday, March 31 proved to be a day to remember for English light heavyweight prospect Luke Trainer as he picked up the biggest win of his young pro MMA career, then got engaged to his girlfriend.
Trainer was handed a stern test of his abilities in the form of undefeated American Sullivan Cauley, who had finished each of his prior opponents inside the first round.
But it was Trainer who claimed the first-round finish as put away his man with a rear-naked choke to improve his record to 7-1 and claim his fourth victory inside the Bellator cage.
The bout opened up with Cauley wasting no time in closing the distance, initiating the clinch and forcing the action against the cage fence as he put Trainer on the back foot early.
But the Englishman kept his cool and turned the tables on his opponent and attempted a guillotine choke as Cauley forced the action to the mat. Cauley escaped before Trainer worked his way back to his feet and turned the tables on his opponent.
Trainer dragged Cauley to the mat, then immediately jumped on his opponent’s back. After a little adjustment of his position, “The Gent” locked up a rear-naked choke to force the tap at the 2:58 mark of the opening round.
It was a statement win for Trainer, who dealt with the business of winning, before turning his attention to another task he’d set for himself in Temecula as he proposed to his girlfriend, Holly.
“Holly, soon-to-be Trainer, she is my person. She’s everything to me,” said Trainer after the fight.
“I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to do it. None of her friends are (here). I thought, live TV on SHOWTIME… I’m going to make a very happy husband. She’s the love of my life. I wanted to do that because I wanted to make my girl feel special. I know she’s going to be mad at me because she was a blubbery mess, and she would’ve preferred to do that without BBC Sport and SHOWTIME Sports taping. I knew bringing her into the cage would (make her feel special), so I did just that.”
Trainer also revealed his relief and happiness at picking up the victory over Cauley, who was as dangerous a test as he has faced so far in his professional MMA career.
“I’m going to be dead honest with you, this is the most nervous I’ve been for a fight. I had to learn how to manage my fear for this fight,” he admitted.
“The gameplan has gone to a ‘T.’ I’ve been finishing so many people from the back in this camp. I knew if I stayed calm, he would make mistakes. He hadn’t been in a dogfight. All he was saying was that I’ve got nothing but being tall; I’ve got bad jiu-jitsu, bad striking. He’s going to come back stronger. My dad is a proud veteran, and (Cauley) does a lot for (veterans), so I respect the guy. But I got the W tonight.”
Bellator 293: Official results
- Daniel James def. Marcelo Golm via knockout (punches) – Round 3, 0:26
- Cat Zingano def. Leah McCourt via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
- John Salter def. Aaron Jeffery via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Luke Trainer def. Sullivan Cauley via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:58
- Rakim Cleveland def. Christian Edwards via submission (standing guillotine choke) – Round 3, 3:55
- Mike Hamel def. Nick Browne via TKO (head kick and punches) – Round 1, 0:42
- Adam Piccolotti def. Mandel Nallo via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 4:26
- Sara Collins def. Pam Sorenson via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 2:43
- Jeff Creighton def. Joey Davis via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Lucas Brennan def. Josh San Diego via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:14
- Vladimir Tokov def. Lance Gibson Jr. via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 1:02
- Randi Field def. Ashley Cummins via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Bryce Meredith def. Brandon Carrillo via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 3:11
- Mackenzie Stiller def. Benson Henderson via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 3:17