Some may disagree, but Logan Sturley is the interim Bellator welterweight champion.
Friday night at the SSE Arena in London, Storley faced hometown champion Michael Page in the main event of the Bellator 281. With welterweight champion Yaroslav Amosov currently in Ukraine to defend his country against the Russian invasion, a temporary title was made for this fight. To the dismay of the English public, it was Storley who left the arena with the gold, winning a fight that can only be described as lackluster.
Venom started the match well, using his signature karate style to set a long distance and Pepper Storley with punches early on. But the NCAA All-American finally managed to grab Page and bring him down. Paige proved difficult to maintain, and Sturley had to spend most of the round holding onto his strike specialist, rather than taking damage.
This pattern continued into the second and third rounds, with Storley constantly taking Page to the mat but failing to generate an effective attack. Meanwhile, Paige didn’t do much better, but in limited exchanges on the feet, Paige was landing shots, causing some bruising to Sturley’s right eye.
In the fourth round, Paige finally managed to dodge the exchanges struggle for a long time, and as a result, he made his best round, but he still gave up the elimination late in the fourth round. When the fifth started, Storley quickly got back to work with wrestling, and this time, he was able to take down Paige while keeping a half-guard for some time.
In the end, Storley dominated most of the fight, but it was Page apparently who did the most damage. However, the judges did not choose to reward him for it, and Sturley won by split decision 48-47, 47-48, 49-46, to win his first world title.
The win drives Storley to 14-1 of his career and likely set him up for a title reunification match against Amosov if the undisputed champion can return to the sport soon.
In the evening’s co-main event, Fabian Edwards took a signature win of his career, opening the doors for Lyoto Machida in just over three minutes.
Machida went off looking to use his signature footwork and movement to set range, but Edwards simply wouldn’t allow “Dragon” to continue, and after an early grab, Edwards shook Machida with a nasty elbow at the break. From there, Edwards poured on the penalty, by dropping the former UFC champ’s left hand and some followers turning off the lights completely.
The win resulted in two fightbacks slipping for Edwards, and Friday’s fight is now Machida’s fourth loss in a row.
In the women’s flyweight match, Kana Watanabe made a statement that she was ready for another break at Liz Carmouche, introducing Dennis Kielholtz in the second round.
Kielholtz came in strong at first, hurting Watanabe early on and then offering up some attacking when she was brought down. But flyweight champ Bellator Kickboxing struggled in the second, as he gave up an early takedown and proved unable to escape the grappling exchanges forced by Watanabe. In the end, Watanabe closed in a choke triangle about halfway through the second round to secure victory.
Paul Daly Authors thrilling return in his last fight
In a featured welterweight match on the main card, Paul Daley faced Wendell Giacomo for what Daley said would be the final of his illustrious MMA career – and he had a difficult experience early on.
Giacomo spent the entire first round and a good portion of the second round bringing Dali down and taking him to the ground. Late in the second round, though, Dalí was able to reverse the situation to the ground, and when the two men got up, Dalí threw a series of fierce punches against the fence, with a right hook ending the job and planting Giacomo’s face.
It was a fitting end to the career of Daly, who walked away from the sport with a record of 44-18-2.
In the opening main card, Luke Trainer and Simon Biyong went to war for 15 minutes.
Coach started strong, dominated the first round with his wrestling and nearly finished the fight with a naked rear choke. Momentum shifted in the second round though Biyong brought down Trainer and spent most of the rest of the round smashing Trainer and looking for a finish. It was more of the same in the third, as Biyong again dropped Trainer and then went to work with the ground and the pounds.
In the end, Biyong won by a clear unanimous decision in a very good clip.
Check out the full Bellator 281 results below.
- Logan Storley defeated. Michael Page via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46)
- Fabian Edwards def. Lyoto Machida via KO (punches) – Round 1, 3:18
- Kana Watanabe def. Dennis Kielholtz by submission (Triangle choke) – Round two, 3:03
- Paul Daly defeated. Wendell Giacomo via KO (Punch) – Round Two, 4:09
- Simon Byung Def. Luke Trainer by unanimous decision (29-27, 28-27, 29-28)
- Daniel Weichel def. Robert Whitford via KO (Kicks) – Round 1, 1:12
- Elena Kaleonido vs. Kate Jackson via TKO (Strikes) – Round Two, 4:53
- Oliver Encamp def. Mark Liminger via submission (choke buggy) – third round, 0:25
- Draw announced with Alfie Davis vs Tim Wilde (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)
- Andrew Fisher Def. Attila Korkmaz by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Charlie Ward def. Alan Carlos by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25)
- Maciej Rozanski def. Lee Chadwick by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Chiara Pinko def. Lanchana Green by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)