Fight Facts: Bellator 223

By Jay Pettry Jun 26, 2019

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Fight Facts is a breakdown of all of the interesting information and cage curiosities on every card, with some puns, references and portmanteaus to keep things fun. These deep stat dives delve into the numbers, providing historical context and telling the stories behind those numbers.

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Bellator MMA on Saturday returned to London with a card sporting an unusual broadcasting schedule. Bellator 223 featured the most MMA fights the promotion has ever staged at a single stop, one of the fastest finishes in company history and a title fight most audiences were unable to witness.

A LITTLE OVERKILL: With 19 fights on the card, this event tied Bellator 199 for the most MMA fights scheduled for a single show in company history.

JUDGES BEWARE: Ten of the 19 bouts at Bellator 223 went to a decision, joining Bellator 209 with the most decisions at any Bellator offering.

SO, SO CLOSE: Of the eight bouts on the card with betting odds, seven betting favorites emerged victorious. Mike Shipman, a -175 favorite, was upset by +135 underdog Costello van Steenis.

WATER WE DOING HERE?: The main event championship match was not shown on the tape-delayed broadcast on Paramount Network or Dazn, and at the time, the only way to watch the title fight was on the Bellator App. The promotion advertised Paul Daley-Erick Silva as the “main event,” from both the commentary team and cage announcer Michael C. Williams.

AGREE TO DISAGREE: The middleweight championship contest between Gegard Mousasi and Rafael Lovato Jr. ended with the latter earning a majority decision. It was only the second verdict of its kind in Bellator championship history. The first came at Bellator 166, where Eduardo Dantas beat Joe Warren by majority decision after the Brazilian lost a point for landing groin strikes.

THE ECSTASY OF GOLD: Lovato Jr. improved his unbeaten record to 10-0 by defeating Mousasi, and with the championship victory, he became the 10th undefeated fighter to ever win Bellator gold.

MERCIFUL MELVIN: By taking Kent Kauppinen the distance, Melvin Manhoef won a decision to earn just his third win on the scorecards in his 31 career victories. All 28 of his other wins came by knockout within two rounds.

FABULOUS FABIAN: Fabian Edwards kept his perfect record intact at 8-0 by beating Jonathan Bosuku by unanimous decision. The bout was only Edwards’ second to go the distance, with the remaining six ending within the first two rounds.

LITTLE BRO ISN’T SO BAD EITHER: The younger brother of Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight Leon Edwards, Fabian now holds a longer winning streak than his older sibling. Meanwhile, Leon is currently riding the longest winning streak of his career, with seven consecutive victories.

MS. JACKSON IS FOR REAL: With Kate Jackson earning a doctor stoppage TKO against Lena Ovchynnikova at 4:21 of the opening round, she became the sixth female fighter -- and the quickest of those six -- to finish an opponent in that fashion.

THE LOSSES WENT IN TWO BY TWO: Ovchynnikova’s defeat lowered her record to 12-6 with one no contest. She now holds two losses by knockout, two by submission and another two by decision.

LOCK IT UP: Terry Brazier tapped Alessandro Botti with a keylock at 2:17 of the third stanza and in doing so scored the fourth submission of its kind below the welterweight division. Brazier performed the keylock later than any other fighter in Bellator history, with 62.5 percent of all keylocks in Bellator occurring in the first round.

SUBMISSION TO SOME, TKO TO OTHERS: Although recorded as a technical knockout stemming from a submission to strikes, Justin Burlinson earned the quickest tapout in promotional history when he made Wendle Lewis tap to strikes in nine seconds.

CURL OF THE BURLINSON: Burlinson’s nine-second finish of Lewis tied Dan Spohn’s knockout of Dane Bonnigson at Bellator 51 for the fourth-fastest finish in Bellator history. Only three six-second knockouts came faster, from Hector Lombard, Michele Martignoni and Mike Kimbel.

MLAMBRABO: Frans Mlambo scored the first brabo choke victory inside the Bellator cage since 2017 when he tapped Nathan Greyson. At 4:22 of Round 2, it was the latest submission of its kind in Bellator history, with none having taking place in the third round.

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN: Coming into Bellator 223, Justin Moore had never been knocked out (10 fights), Nathan Rose (eight fights) and Keith McCabe (six fights) had never lost on the scorecards and Kevin Fryer (nine fights) had never gone the distance.

Sherdog contributing editor Jay Pettry is an attorney and a statistician. Writing about MMA since he started studying the “Eminem Curse” in 2012 and working for Vice Sports and Combat Docket along the way, he put together many fight result and entrance music databases to better study the sport. You can find him on twitter at @jaypettry.
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