Reigning Bellator MMA bantamweight monarch Darrion Caldwell looked right at home at featherweight in the Bellator 204 main event on Friday night.
“The Wolf” trounced Noad Lahat and stopped him via punches in the second frame. Caldwell took the Israeli down repeatedly and dominated him on the canvas for as long as the bout lasted. “Neo” remained patient with Caldwell on top, looking for openings to sweep or escape, but the New Jersey native never allowed Lahat to get into rhythm.
Caldwell ignited the capacity crowd inside Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, when he hovered over Lahat and slammed punches from all angles. The champ never stopped throwing hands until Lahat (12-4) collapsed against the cage and referee Mike Beltran rushed in to save him. Lahat bowed out officially at 2:46, allowing Caldwell to win his fourth fight in a row. After the match, Caldwell (13-1) called out reigning Bellator 145 champ Patricio Freire.
Welterweight prospect Logan Storley was dominant once again as he tormented A.J. Matthews for nearly two rounds before getting the stoppage. Storley, a four-time Division I All-American wrestler, took “The Mercenary” down whenever he pleased. From there, “Storm” dished out an assortment of elbows and punches to the head and knees to the legs and body.
Matthews (9-8) couldn’t escape or sweep his opponent and eventually had to be rescued by referee Jason Herzog, who finally intervened at 3:56 of the second. The win allowed the highly-touted Storley to improve to 9-0 with his seventh TKO.
After being away for 14 months, Ireland’s James Gallagher was expected to make an explosive return to the Bellator cage Friday night in his bantamweight debut. He was brimming with confidence, got in opponent Ricky Bandejas’ face before the bout began and kept shouting, “I’m back!” As it turned out, Bandejas was much tougher than expected as he destroyed “The Strabanimal” in the first round.
Bandejas rubberized Gallagher’s legs with a straight right to the jaw and then sent a shockwave through his nervous system with another. With Gallagher (7-1) reeling, the New Jersey fighter blasted him with a side kick to the face, dropping him.
Bandejas, a former Cage Fury Fighting Championships champion making his Bellator debut, wasted no time and rained down a storm of punches until Gallagher was out cold. Referee Bobby Wombacher pulled Bandejas (11-1) off, officially ending the mugging at 2:49.
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After a week of trash talking and boiling blood, it was Tywan Claxton who reigned supreme in a grudge match with fellow featherweight Cris Lencioni. “Speedy” used his tremendous wrestling prowess to take his nemesis down repeatedly and control him on the canvas. Claxton nullified most of what “Sunshine” tried and coasted to an easy unanimous decision. Claxton won by scores of 30-27 across the board to improve to 3-0. Lencioni fell to 3-2.