Michael Chandler closed his contract with Bellator with a second more categorical victory over Benson Henderson at the headliner of the Bellator 243.
Chandler knocked Henderson down with a right-to-left that set up a first round knockout at 2:09 off the opening frame.
Both fighters looked to pick things up earlier in an upcoming four-year rematch. With three rounds instead of five, Chandler, who as the champion beat Henderson in a close split decision at the Bellator 165, sought to get in with his fists. Henderson, on the other hand, worked the body from a distance with kicks and punches. Several hard shots tied to Chandler’s midsection, inviting a potential problem in deep water.
But when Chandler managed to corner his enemy double, his left hand grabbed Henderson’s chin before he could be blocked. The former UFC champion got down to his knees and the first follow-up with the right hand that appeared to touch the top of the head put him facing the canvas.
An ecstatic Chandler let out several cries as he celebrated the victory, which does his best as he officially becomes a free agent.
“Every lightweight on the entire planet, you are warned,” he said afterwards. ” [Bellator President] Scott Coker, you’re on the clock. Let’s do something. “
But Chandler also hedged his bets.
“If this is the last time I walk into that Bellator cage, everyone around that cage, you have no idea what impact you’ve had in my life,” he says.
Johnson earns second straight first-round victory
Timothy Johnson again refused to be a stepping stone.
Johnson beat his UFC veteran colleague Matt Mitrione with a flurry of punches that forced referee Mike Beltran to intervene at 3:14 of the first frame.
Johnson took an early hiatus when Beltran missed an accidental heads-up clash that put him on top. He made the most of the position, hitting with punches until Mitrione tried to force his way to freedom against the cage. On her hands and knees, Mitrione couldn’t see the incoming gunfire, and it turned out to be her downfall.
Four fights in his Bellator career, Johnson rebounded from a two-fight skid to win back-to-back fights where he was the underdog. Mitrione’s slide continues with three losses and a no-contest in his previous four outings.
Jury size pays off against tough Karakhanyan
Featherweight Georgi Karakhanyan had no trouble keeping up with veteran lightweight Myles Jury. His speed even gave him a slight advantage in stand-up. Where it didn’t help was in the pullout attempts and in the clinch, where he struggled to handle his opponent up close.
Jury made better use of his size in the second, fighting from a distance with punches and kicks. Karakhanyan took a lot of punches as he made his way inside, and he couldn’t hold Jury back when he performed a pair of takedowns. Persistence put a few points on Karakhanyan’s side, but it was a tight turn.
Karakhanyan kept pushing his way, taking punches and elbows to give them. Unable to outsmart Jury, he threw caution to the wind and stepped up to a surprised guillotine that forced Jury to pause. The jury waited and took dominant positions, closing the fight with ground and pound.
In the end, two of the three judges awarded the victory to Jury, while one oddly gave the shutout to Karakhanyan.
Homasi grinds Millender
Homasi fired a quick on Millender with an intimidating routine that prompted an official to intercept him before the opening bell. A series of winged overhangs was just a prelude to an easy dismantling, which allowed Homasi to close the frame with the ground and pestle.
Homasi wasted little time in the second round, taking advantage of his grappling hook, pushing the takedown again. Even when he lost his position, Millender was unable to capitalize with D’Arce and guillotine attempts.
Advised by his corner to pick it up, Millender opened up the third with a more aggressive attack, throwing straight punches that forced Homasi to come back. Regardless of the danger Homasi faced, he managed to escape, fighting out of a choke halfway through the frame and surviving a final blast of earth and pestle.
Full results of the Bellator 243:
Michael Chandler won. Benson Henderson via KO (strikes) – Round 1, 2:09
Timothy Johnson bat. Matt Mitrione via TKO (grèves) – Round 1, 3:14
Myles Jury def. Georgi Karakhanyan by split decision (27-30, 30-27, 29-28)
Sabah Homasi beats. Curtis Millender via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Adam Borics defeats. Mike Hamel by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Cris Lencioni beats. AJ Agazarm via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
A Valerie Loureda. Tara Graff via KO (strikes) – Round 2, 5:00
Grant Neal defeats. Hamza Salim via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-24)
Charlie Campbell won. Nainoa Dung via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 1:42
Dalton Rosta defeats. Mark Gardner via TKO (doctor stop) – Round 1, 5:00