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Bellator 280 ‘Bader vs. Kongo 2’ Play-by-Play, Results & Round Scoring

Sherdog's live Bellator 280 coverage kicks off at 1 p.m. ET.

Check out the MMA Forums to discuss the card or enter your comments and predictions below.

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Victor de Lima Verchere vs. Bourama Camara

Round 1

Welterweights kick off festivities, as Verchere (5-1) collides with a fellow Bellator debutant in Camara (4-1) at 170 pounds. Mike Beltran serves as your referee. The two men tap gloves, as they ease their feet in to their respective accelerators. Verchere staggers Camara with a left hook, then another, and establishes his superiority on the feet early. Despite his five-inch reach advantage, Camara fails to manage distance. Verchere mixes in leg kicks and overhand rights to keep his countryman off-balance. Camara backs Verchere to the fence with left hook-right cross combinations and starts to gain a foothold in the match. In an instant, Camara throws out a left hook and sends a straight right crashing into his counterpart’s face. Verchere collapses to the canvas in a dazed state and eats more punches, prompting Beltran to act on his behalf.

The Official Result

Victor de Lima Vechere def. Bourara Camara—KO (Punches) 3:06 R1

Youcef Ouabbas vs. Matthieu Letho Duclos

Round 1

They keep the line moving in the middleweight division, where the unbeaten Ouabbas (2-0) takes on Duclos (2-1). Bryan Miner officiates. Duclos operates behind an active jab and leg kicks. Duclos drops his adversary with a crackling right and swarms for a potential finish, though his initial efforts fall short. Ouabbas returns to an upright position and tries to avoid further damage while he clears the proverbial cobwebs. Duclos shuts down a weak single-leg attempt and continues to fire punches upstairs, keeping Ouabbas in retreat mode. Duclos cuts off another attempted takedown, settles briefly in the clinch and moves back into open space. Another right hand snaps back Ouabbas’ head. Duclos follows up with a partially blocked head kick, walks through return fire and stalks his prey to the fence. An overhand right from Ouabbas suddenly alters the direction of the bout and sets Duclos on wobbly legs. He fires back and backs up Ouabbas but never recovers. More punches find their mark, leading Miner to call for the standing stoppage.

The Official Result

Youcef Ouabbas def. Matthieu Letho Duclos—TKO (Punches) 4:17 R1

Lucie Bertaud vs. Katarzyna Sadura

Round 1

Women’s flyweights are next to the stage, as Bertaud (3-3) squares off with Sadura (5-4). Beltran steps back in the cage as our referee. Bertaud sets the tone with a left hook inside the first 10 seconds. Sadura leans heavily on kicks, just as one would expect from a taekwondo practitioner. She switches gears and swoops in for a surprising takedown. Bertaud defends with rubber guard and initially neutralizes her Polish counterpart. She stalls the action and forces Beltran to restart the action on the feet. Bertaud closes the distance, clinches along the fence, then separates. Bertaud executes a takedown of her own and looks to navigate Sadura’s long-legged guard. Sadura wall walks back to her feet without much effort but struggles to free herself from Bertaud’s clutches. Bertaud pins her to the fence, throws in a knee to the body and returns to her corner after a closely contested round. 10-9 Bertaud

Round 2

Caution marks the start of the second round. Sadura probes from the outside with her kicks and scrambles out of a takedown attempt as the two women once again clinch against the fence. Bertaud works behind close-quarter knee strikes to the body and tries to make her opponent uncomfortable as the action slows. Sadura cannot get off the fence and continues to absorb knees to the body and legs. Points add up, and frustration builds for Sadura. Bertaud completes another takedown and wheels around to the back but fails to corral Sadura on the canvas. Back to the clinch they go. Bertaud stays busy enough to avoid a restart and seizes control of the fight. 10-9 Bertaud.

Round 3

Sadura moves to the center with a sense of urgency, perhaps knowing she is likely behind on the scorecards. However, she engages Bertaud in the clinch and once again winds up with her back to the fence. Sadura sneaks in a trip takedown, settles in top position and goes to work, only to be cut off by Bertaud’s defensive guard. Sadura mixes in a few short hammerfists but cannot find an avenue to do real damage. Valuable time ticks off the clock. Bertaud threatens with an armbar, and though the submission fails to materialize, her efforts gave Sadura something to think about. Bertaud escapes to her feet and moves out into open space, where she lets her hands go and lands a solid combination. Sadura closes the distance and winds up back in the clinch, unable to offer any potential fight-stopping offense as precious seconds bleed away. The bell sounds. 10-9 Sadura (29-28 Bertaud)

The Official Result

Lucie Bertaud def. Katarzyna Sadura—Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Yves Landu vs. Gavin Hughes

Round 1

Lightweights now answer the call to arms, as Landu (16-9) takes aim at Hughes (10-2) at 155 pounds. Miner climbs back into to the cage for his second assignment of the night. Landu takes to the air with an acrobatic switch kick, but eats a counter from the Englishman and moves out of range. Hughes controls the center of the cage and pressures Landu backward, doing what he can to negate the Frenchman’s reach advantage. Landu punctuates a flurry with a pair of right hooks and welcomes the standup exchanges. Hughes wisely closes the distance to force a clinch but concedes a takedown. He utilizes an effective whizzer to get back to his feet, only to absorb a series of brutal knees to the body. Landu creates some space at close range and folds Hughes with a kick to the abdomen. Miner arrives on the scene seconds later to precent further damage.

The Official Result

Yves Landu def. Gavin Hughes—TKO (Kick to the Body) 3:01 R1

Soren Bak vs. Charlie Leary

Round 1

They keep the ball rolling with a catchweight clash between former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder Soren Bak (14-1) and 39-year-old journeyman Charlie Leary (17-12-1) at 160 pounds. The 29-year-old Bak has rattled off seven consecutive victories, one of them at the expense of Paddy Pimblett. Miner officiates. After a brief feeling-out process, the Dane throws out a leg kick, follows with a right hand, clinches and separates. Leary strings together a few punches but wanders back into the clinch and eats a knee upstairs. Back in open space, Leary gets his jab going, rolls through a head-and-arm throw and lands in top position. He settles in side control, then resets on the feet. Bak closes the distance on his experienced counterpart, probes for weaknesses at close range and connects with a right hand off the break. Leary, as expected, holds a clear advantage in the standup. Bak’s bids for trip takedowns fail and he finds himself force to trade punches with roughly 15 seconds left on the clock. 10-9 Leary

Round 2

Bak gets into the game with leg kicks but seems flummoxed by his inability to get the fight to the ground. Leary works behind jab-straight combinations, keeps Bak on his back foot and continues to build momentum. Bak clinches along the fence, slows the pace and hunts for openings, only to come up empty-handed. Leary pops him with accurate punches down the middle, cuts off a takedown attempt and forces his adversary to exchange on his terms. This is not going well for Bak. Jabs and crosses find their mark and breathe additional life into Leary’s chances. Bak pursues the clinch again but absorbs a right hand on the break and retreats to the center of the cage. 10-9 Leary

Round 3

Nothing changes initially at the start of Round 3, but persistence finally pays for Bak. He grounds Leary, moves into top position and settles in half guard. Bak drops short elbows, but they are not particularly effective. Leary draws upon all his guile and experience and largely neutralizes Bak from his back. Does Bak know he needs a finish? He applies suffocating control and pairs it with forearm strikes and elbows, but his efforts lack oomph. Leary seems content to play defense off of his back—a strategy that could pay dividends provided the judges were awake at the wheel during the first 10 minutes. Bak moves to full mount late in the round, drops punches and briefly threatens with a rear-naked choke. Learly successfully defends his neck and hangs on until the fight ends. 10-9 Bak (29-28 Leary)

The Official Result

Soren Bak def. Charlie Leary—Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)

Fabacary Diatta vs. Jordan Barton

Round 1

Featherweights take the stage for the first time, with Diatta (8-0) putting his perfect record on the line against Manchester Top Team’s Barton (6-2-1). Beltran serves as the referee, his glorious facial hair in tow. Barton steps to the center of the cage, pumps his jab and backs it up with a clubbing right hand. Diatta stays composed, returns fire and sneaks in an uppercut. Barton chops away with leg kicks, but eats a few in response. Neither man has established a discernible advantage. Barton incorporates body-head combinations. Diatta answers with powerful kicks to the body and denies a takedown before being dragged to the mat from behind. Barton progressed to half guard with roughly 90 seconds left in the period but fails to maintain control and allows Diatta to get back to a standing position. Diatta connects with an elbow on the exit in what is shaping up to be a tremendous tactical battle. Barton clinches and trips Diatta to the floor, perhaps securing the round in his favor. 10-9 Barton

Round 2

Diatta cuts off Barton’s advances with a leg kick but concedes a takedown. Barton climbs to the back with Diatta in a standing position and fishes for a rear-naked choke. Diatta dives to the canvas in retreat and manages to escape, only to wander into a guillotine. He frees himself yet again and takes top position with two minutes gone in the period. Barton wall walks to his feet and drifts back into open space. Barton connects with a right hook to the body and a push kick to the lead leg. Diatta pumps out his jab, but many of his punches are falling short of their intended mark. Barton fires an ill-advised flying knee and winds up on his back, with Diatta in top position feeding him elbows. In danger of squandering the round, Barton swivels his hips into position for an armbar, but the attempt fails. Diatta continues to score with elbows in the closing seconds of a round that will be difficult to score. 10-9 Barton

Round 3

Jabs from both men touch off the action in Round 3. Diatta clearly ups his aggression early and flirts with a single-leg before exchanging punches and integrating an inside leg kick. A left hook sends an off-balance Diatta reeling backward, but it remains unclear how much damage the blow did. After finding the mark with a few punches, Diatte shoots on another single-leg and allows Barton to scramble to his back and ultimately settle in top position. That decision may haunt the Frenchman. Barton works from half guard, backing up his efforts with short punches and elbows. Diatta gets back to his feet but cannot shake his persistent opponent and absorbs knees to the thigh from close range. With a minute to go, they return to the center of the cage. Both land. Barton wisely closes the distance, advances to a rear waistlock and bleeds the remaining time off the clock. 10-9 Barton (30-27 Barton)

The Official Result

Jordan Barton def. Fabacary Diatta—Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Lewis Long vs. Thibault Gouti

Round 1

Welterweights are back in the spotlight, as Long (19-6) toes the line against a UFC veteran in Gouti (15-5). Miner officiates. Gouti charges at Long behind punches. Long plays the matador, sideswipes any potential danger and settles into a manageable pace. Gouti connects with a chopping right hand, eats a few leg kicks for his troubles and presses forward. Long continues to score to the legs, then mixes in a nice hook kick upstairs. Unimpressed, Gouti trudges forward behind thudding punches. Long’s kicks are undeniably effective and could pay dividends down the road, provided he can withstand Gouti’s punching power. Long fires back with a right hand and a body kick does little to dissuade Gouti’s forward movement. Gouti swarms late in the round and pieces a series of brutal punches together a standing elbow. Long hits the deck on the end of a sweeping left hook as the bell sounds. 10-9 Gouti

Round 2

Gouti charges out aggressively again. Long’s face is a mess. Gouti meets him with a three-punch burst, drives him to the canvas under further punishment and avoids an attempted kneebar. Gouti resets and flurries again, but he appears to be tiring. This pace may not be sustainable. Gouti gathers himself, unleashes his hands and forces Long to retreat to the mat, where he refuses to engage him. Back on the feet, Gouti feeds Long punishing jabs and clubbing rights. Long will not go away despite the blood pouring from his nose. He backs up Gouti with a leg kick but cannot keep him at bay for Long. Gouti chips away with his jab, pauses to rest and gets back to business with less than a minute to go in the round. An eye poke leads to a brief respite for both men. Gouti follows a calf kick with a jab, keeps his feet moving in spite of fatigue and lands more shots in the waning seconds. 10-9 Gouti

Round 3

Long seems to need a finish as Round 3 begins. Gouti sends out his jab, sprawls out of a takedown and refuses Long’s offer to engage on the ground. Gouti snaps back Long’s head with a plunging right hand, scores with his jab and keeps his feet moving. Long answers with body kicks and a nasty leg kick but has thus far failed to alter the complexion of the fight. A jab-hook combination connects for Long, as he applies subtle pressure. However, he has no answer for the Gouti jab. Long shoot unsuccessfully for a takedown and continues to absorb punches to his already damaged face. Somebody get the needle and thread ready, and grab this man some Ibuprofen. Gouti begins to coast, perhaps sensing victory is near. A much closer round than the first two. 10-9 Gouti (30-27 Gouti)

The Official Result

Thibault Gouti def. Lewis Long—Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Pedro Carvalho vs. Piotr Niedzielski

Round 1

Featherweights close out the undercard, as Pedro Carvalho (12-5) locks horns with Piotr Niedzielski (16-4), who has won eight fights in a row and has not tasted defeat in more than five years. Referee Jacob Montalvo is in the saddle for the first time tonight. Carvalho takes the center, with Niedzielski circles on the outside. A left hook followed by a right sends Carvalho careening backward. He steadies himself but clearly did not like the taste of Niedzielski’s power. Niedzielski sticks him again, then avoids Carvalho’s attempt to clinch. If this stays at range, Carvalho could be in trouble soon. Niedzielski rips more punches to the head. A straight left sits down Carvalho. Niedzielski jumps into guard, perhaps unwisely, and applies some ground-and-pound. The action stalls. Niedzielski stands up, hunts for opening and finds none. 10-9 Niedzielski

Round 2

Round 2 starts with Carvalho needing to switch gears. Light on his feet, Niedzielski picks up where he left off, circling on the outside and firing punches to the head. Carvalho responds with inside leg kicks and a stiff jab. Niedzielski peppers him from the outside and executes a takedown, landing in side control. Nothing materializes, and the two men are back on their feet moments later. Neidzielski scores with another takedown and advances toward the back. Carvalho retreats to the cage and gets back to his feet, only to eat a series of punches to the head. Niedzielski secures yet another takedown, giving the Portuguese yet another weapon about which to worry. Carvalho continues to march forward behind kicks and knees to the body, forcing the issue as Niedzielski begins to wane. The Pole answers with a takedown once more, cutting off Carvalho’s advances. A low blow from Carvalho results in a pause to the action and gives the visibly fatigued Niedzielski a welcomed rest with five seconds left in the round. 10-9 Niedzielski

Round 3

Does Niedzielski have enough in the tank? They exchange kicks at the start of the final round. Another low blow from Carvalho leads to a stop in the action inside the first 40 seconds. Carvalho presses forward after the restart and attacks the backpedaling Pole with punches to the head and body. Niedzielski will need to stand his ground at some point. Carvalho denies a takedowns, uses the cage for balance and engages his adversary at close range. Not much unfolds, as precious time drips off the clock. Carvalho decks Niedzielski with a right hook, then dives into his opponent’s guard. Niedzielski hangs on from the bottom, as he attempts to regain his faculties and stave of fatigue. Carvalho gets busy with elbows, doing what he can to bring about the finish he needs. His initial advances fail with one minute to go. Carvalho chips away with short punches to the body and head but cannot crack Niedzielski’s defenses enough to make headway. 10-9 Carvalho (29-28 Niedzielski)

The Official Result

Piotr Niedzielski def. Pedro Carvalho—Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Mike Shipman vs. Gregory Babene

Round 1

Middleweights get the main card blood pumping, as Gregory Babene (21-11) puts his six-fight winning streak on the line against London Shootfighters standout Mike Shipman (14-3). Beltran draws the officiating assignment. Shipman swings recklessly, falls to the canvas and finds himself trapped in a guillotine choke. Babene eventually releases the hold and settles in half guard. The two men battle to a stalemate on the ground before returning to their feet. Babene unleashes a brutal combination of sweeping punches, levels Shipman with a right hook-left hook combo and follows-up with unanswered punches for a clean finish.

The Official Result

Gregory Babene def. Mike Shimpan—KO (Punches) 2:11 R1

Lorenz Larkin vs. Kyle Stewart

Round 1

Bellator keeps its spotlight on the middleweight division, where Larkin battles Stewart at 185 pounds. Larkin, 35, has won five fights in a row. Beltran officiates. Larkin operates behind his lightning-quick jab, hammers away with leg kicks and then looks to counter. He backs up Stewart with an overhand right, keeps him on the outside and sights in his cocked right hand. Stewart paws with his jab, as the crowd showers the men with boos for their perceived inaction. A right hand gets through for Larkin, who follows with a body kick and a beautiful standing elbow. He drives Stewart to the mat in a crouched position and feeds him three or four knees to the ribs. Stewart regains his footing briefly, retreats to the mat for a second time and eats more knees to the body. This time, he does not survive, as Larkin throws in a few punches for good measure and prompts Beltran to act.

The Official Result

Lorenz Larkin def. Kyle Stewart—TKO (Knees to the Body and Punches) 4:44 R1

Davy Gallon vs. Benjamin Brander

Round 1

Lightweights are next to the stage, as Gallon (20-7-2) puts his four-fight winning streak on the line against Switzerland’s Brander (13-8) at 155 pounds. Montalvo is your referee. Gallon starts with an inside leg kick and trips Brander to the floor. He passes guard and moves into side control. Brander scrambles but finds his path blocked by an attempted guillotine that allows Gallon to maintain a dominant position. Gallon floats from one position to another, denies a takedown, feeds Brander hammerfists and threatens with a front choke. Brander retreats to his back to relieve the pressure and escape imminent danger. Heavy ground-and-pound from Gallon keeps the ball in his court with a minute left in the round. However, Brander escapes to his feet and presses the Frenchman into the fence before the two men head back into open space. Gallon bullies him to the canvas again and continues to pile up the points. 10-9 Gallon

Round 2

Leg kicks tip Gallon’s spear at the start of Round 2. His strength advantage readily apparent, he presses Brander to the cage and executes an exquisite takedown. Gallon makes a pass at a guillotine, powers into top position and stays on the neck. He progresses to side control and then the mounted crucifix. Unanswered punches, elbows and hammerfists begin to fall, as blood begins to flow from Brander’s face. Gallon continues to punch until Montalvo decides he has seen enough.

The Official Result

Davy Gallon def. Benjamin Brander—TKO (Punches) 3:18 R2

Yoel Romero vs. Alex Polizzi

Round 1

Light heavyweights line up for the co-main event, where Romero (13-6) confronts Polizzi (10-1) at 205 pounds. Winless since February 2018, Romero enters the cage on the heels of four straight losses. Beltran officiates. Polizzi starts with a leg kicks, as Romero gives ground and searches for openings. Romero uncorks a left hand, sprawls out of an attempted takedown and fires two more lefts. Polizzi clips the onetime Olympic silver medalist with a left hook and dodges a head kick. Looks to by a typical Romero fight, marked by periods of inactivity and bursts of sudden violence. He connects with a leg kick and relies on his sprawl on another failed takedown attempt from Polizzi. Romero shoots on a late double-leg takedown and hammers away with punches to the bell. 10-9 Romero

Round 2

Romero sends out a rang-finding left hand to start the middle stanza. Polizzi answers with an inside leg kick, then absorbs a left hook. He staggers on impact, and Romero gives chase with power punches. Romero follows a backfist with a sharp left hand, then returns to his comfort zone on the perimeter in attempt to walk Polizzi into one of his traps. A brutal leg kick gives the former Northwestern University wrestler pause, and Romero amuses himself with a hammerfist to the thigh. Polizzi appears to be making the same mistake as so many others before him, fighting the Cuban at his preferred pace. Romero floors him with a devastating left but chooses not to follow for a possible finish despite the fact that his opponent was teetering on the brink. 10-8 Romero

Round 3

It feels as though we are watching a predator toy with his prey. Romero remains content to operate at a safe distance, cutting loose with quick, powerful punches whenever the mood strikes him. Midway through the third round, the situation looks quite grim for Polizzi. Romero drops him with another overhand left and allows Polizzi to get back to his feet. Romero fires another left hand into his face and sets him on rubbery legs, with Beltran looking on intently. The American Top Team star could probably end it whenever he wants to but shows no real interest in burying Polizzi. Romero lets fly with a blistering combination, decks Polizzi and slams home a right uppercut as the bell sounds. Beltran had to steady the badly dazed Polizzi afterward and awarded the TKO to Romero.

The Official Result

Yoel Romero def. Alex Polizzi—TKO (Punches) 4:59 R3

Bellator Heavyweight Title Fight:
Ryan Bader vs. Cheick Kongo

Round 1

Bader (29-7) puts his heavyweight championship on the line against Kongo (31-11-2), as their rematch serves as the headliner. Their first encounter ended in a no contest due to an accidental eye poke at Bellator 226 in 2019. Montalvo draws the officiating assignment. Kongo, who turns 47 in 11 days, gives ground to the champion and allows himself to get backed into the cage. Bader drops in for a takedown, trips the Frenchman to the floor and moves to a rear waistlock as he stands. He chips away with knees to Kongo’s thighs and drags him to the canvas through a blatant cage grab. A questionable low blow results in a brief respite. After the restart, Bader shoots on Kongo’s hips yet again and chases the takedown. The crowd does not appreciate Bader’s efforts and lets him know about it. Bader, of course, pays them no mind. He secures the takedown with 30 seconds left in the round. 10-9 Bader

Round 2

Kongo immediately retreats in the face of forward pressure, negating his 10-inch reach advantage. The Frenchman lands a few shots and forces Bader to reset, but the champion smartly moves in for a takedown and starts to impose his will. The two trade insignificant shots on the ground, but Bader seems to be right where he wants to be. Kongo simply cannot break free and absorbs knees to the backside and thighs while attempting to get to a more advantageous position. Bader appears to be one step ahead of the challenger at every turn, and one gets the feeling this is not going to turn out well for Kongo. 10-9 Bader

Round 3

Bader dodges a stepping knee, takes the center of the cage and pushes Kongo to the fence. The champion clinches and starts the rinse-and-repeat process all over again. Bader blasts Kongo with two right hands before taking him down again, forcing him to operate from a kneeling position. The challenger gets back to his feet but cannot free himself from Bader’s clutches. Kongo’s face seems certain a little more than halfway through the fight, unless something drastic changes. Bader pushes him to the fence after a restart, walks through a pair of leg kicks and pursues the clinch. Kong appears to be unwilling or unable to change course. 10-9 Bader

Round 4

Kongo has wandered into the deepest of waters against a man who has never lost a decision. Bader takes the center, moves forward and executes a double-leg takedown. Not much happens, other than Bader sprinkling in short punches on the seated challenger. Bader grapevines the legs in a bid to corral Kongo, but the Frenchman frees himself and gets to one knee before returning to his feet. Bader stays attached and continues to handle Kongo in close quarters. The phone booth does not favor the Frenchman. Bader delivers another takedown, bleeds more time off the clock and steers clear of danger. Kongo scores with short elbows from a seated position, but they did little other than annoy the champion. 10-9 Bader

Round 5

They meet in the center of the cage for Round 5. Kongo clearly needs a finish. Bader executes another double-leg takedown, as they come to rest at the base of the cage. Kongo looks like a man who is resigned to his feet but nevertheless struggles to get back to his feet. Bader runs him right back to the ground. Kongo simply has no space to maneuver. Bader fires off intermittent punches and make sure he stays attached to the challenger, neutralizing all his weapons in the process. Kongo forces a restart with 90 seconds left, and he lets his hands go. The crowd goes crazy, until Bader shuts them down by closing the distance and trapping Kongo in the clinch. We are headed for the scorecards. 10-9 Bader (50-45 Bader)

The Official Result

Ryan Bader def. Cheick Kongo—Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
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