Fight Facts: Bellator 266

By Jay Pettry Sep 20, 2021

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 returned to the homeland of Strikeforce in the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. An extremely light preliminary card gave way to an emphatic main card, even if finishes came at a premium. Bellator 266 featured the biggest betting upset in a few years, a Gracie who is now a threat on the feet and a new heir to the throne of the most losses in Bellator history.

Please Explain: In the Bellator 266 main event, Phil Davis captured an unexpected split verdict over Yoel Romero when judge Jerin Valel handed a 29-28 scorecard in favor of “Soldier of God.” Even though he joined the roster in 2015, Davis has already been part of four split scorecards, tied for the third-most in company history. Davis trails John Teixeira (five) and Daniel Weichel (six).

44 Years Young: In the course of their three-round bout, Davis landed five takedowns on Romero. In his entire 13-fight UFC career, Romero had only been grounded seven times.

K-1 Gracie: For the first time in his career, Neiman Gracie won a fight with strikes. All nine of his previous stoppage wins had come by tapout, but he needed only 87 seconds to force referee Jason Herzog to intervene and award a standing TKO of Mark Lemminger.

I Don’t Need to Take People Down to Win Fights Anymore: Across all major MMA organizations, Neiman is the third member of the Gracie clan to record a knockout. Royce Gracie made Patrick Smith tap to strikes at UFC 2, and then stopped Ken Shamrock at Bellator 149 with a knee and follow-up punches. Additionally, Ryan Gracie starched Tokimitsu Ishizawa with punches and finished Kazuhiro Hamanaka with soccer kicks at Pride 10 and Pride: Bushido 1, respectively.

The Finishing Fifteen: The stoppage being his first knockout but his eighth overall finish inside the Bellator cage, Gracie is now the 15th fighter in company history to earn that many stoppages.

For Dad: In the hometown of her deceased father, DeAnna Bennett won an emotional decision over Alejandra Lara to snap a three-fight skid. Each of her last six wins dating back the last seven years has come on the scorecards.

Putting the L in Lara: Lara’s defeat under the Bellator banner was her fourth, tying the record for the most of any female fighter in organizational history. Six other women hold that spot, including former opponent Veta Arteaga.

Book Karakhanyan vs. Awad Next: Georgi Karakhanyan fell short against Saul Rogers after a wild three-round affair by unanimous decision. The loss was the 10th for “Insane,” putting him in the top spot for the most Bellator defeats along with Saad Awad.

Not a Point Fighter: The loss by decision was Karakhanyan’s eighth, extending his own record for the most in Bellator history. No other Bellator fighter has lost more than five times at the hands of the judges.

A Six-Month Gameplan: Shocking the SAP Center at the beginning of the main card, Ben Parrish smote Christian Edwards with punches in 38 seconds. All of his past wins had come by tapout.

Big Money for Big Tuna: Parrish came in as a massive +700 underdog to knock the -1100 favorite Edwards out cold. “Big Tuna” racked up the biggest Bellator betting upset of the year, and the most substantial since +775 Daniel Carey put -1200 Gaston Bolanos to sleep at Bellator 226 in 2019.

Not So Eazy in the Majors: Alex Polizzi snagged a split decision over Grant Neal, and in the process, reduced his impressive stoppage rate to 78%. “Eazy” started his career with six stoppages in a row, but two of his last three wins have come after the final bell.

Murdalizer Nullified: Winning a close decision over Khalid Murtazaliev, Anthony Adams lowered his career finish rate to 11%. Although his last victory saw him earn a first-round knockout, “Sugafoot” started his career with seven consecutive decision wins.

Vaeslugger: Abraham Vaesau earned his sixth win when he scorched Albert Gonzales in less than half a round. All six of his victories have come by first-round knockout.

A Tale of Two Gracies: Another Gracie competed at Bellator 266: Rhalan, who appeared for the first time in an MMA match since October 2007. Gracie fell short to Shane Keefe in his return. When Gracie last fought, only Karakhanyan had made his pro debut by then, and his foe, Keefe, was in high school.

Is Bellator Opening Flyweight? Edwin De Los Santos put Jonathan Adams away in the first round with a body kick and follow-up punches. In the process, he earned the seventh quickest stoppage due to strikes in Bellator flyweight history, finishing the job at 3:29.

Never Say Never Again: Coming into Bellator 266, Parrish had never earned a knockout (five fights), Neal had never been defeated (six fights) and Joshua Dillon had never competed beyond the first round (two fights).

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