Bellator 197 just wrapped up from St. Charles, Missouri with crowd favorite Michael Chandler putting Brandon Girtz to sleep with a beautiful Arm Triangle in the opening round. Chandler picked up his 15th Bellator victory, making him the winningest fighter in the promotion’s history. Will we ever get to see the Michael Chandler vs. Brent Primus rematch?
A.J. McKee picked up the biggest win of his career by outclassing MMA vet Justin Lawrence on the feet, to earn 30-27’s on each scorecard. McKee’s professional record is now 11-0, and the undefeated standout hopped up on the mic to call out James Gallagher, and also requested to compete on a card along his father/coach, Antonio McKee.
Also on the card, four-time All American wrestler Logan Storley kept his perfect record intact as he dominated Joaquin Buckley in the grappling department for just about every minute of every round. It didn’t take very long for Kevin Ferguson Jr. to open up the main card, dropping Devon Brock before slapping on a Rear-Naked Choke to earn the tap in just over 90 seconds into the first round.
Michael Chandler def. Brandon Girtz by technical submission (arm-triangle) at 4:00 of round 1: Lightweight
Chandler came out trying to feint his opponent into opening up, but ate an illegal blow to the cup to halt the action. Just when the action resumed, Chandler inadvertently poked Girtz in the eye, causing another early break in the action. Girtz started to find some success with his punching combos as Chandler looked to close the distance, but Chandler responded with a big takedown and landed in side control. When the moment was just right, Chandler cinched up an air-tight arm-triangle that put Girtz to sleep. Wow!
Girtz started to come alive before Chandler found the takedown:
A.J. McKee def. Justin Lawrence by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Featherweight
These top featherweights began the bout by standing on the outside exchanging kicks. McKee started to land with his in and out movement, prompting a brief takedown for Lawrence. The jab cross combo for McKee found a home multiple times, as Lawrence would try to punch his way into the pocket.
McKee continued to make the most of his reach advantage into the second round, jousting in and out with his jab, disrupting the rhythm of Lawrence. A freak misstep caused Lawrence to roll his ankle on his own, forcing the veteran to backpedal while McKee turned up the aggression. To put an exclamation point on the round, McKee landed a beautiful stepping side kick to the face of his foe in the final 15 seconds.
McKee shifted gears and went for a takedown to start the third round, but after a brief stint with his back to the cage, Lawrence was able to remain vertical and find open space. The long punches continued to score for McKee, leaving Lawrence a bit bloodied up in the face. The role of matador proved to be a wise strategy for McKee, as he remained relatively safe for the bulk of the bout to pick up the unanimous nod.
Check this sweet chin music courtesy of A.J. McKee:
There wasn’t much of a feeling out process to this bout:
Logan Storley def. Joaquin Buckley by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26 x2): Welterweight
Storley instantly initiated the takedown, securing top position after a few chained attempts. Buckley did manage to make it back to his feet, only to be put right back on the mat where he stayed for the rest of the opening round.
The takedown was again realized early for Storley to open up the second stanza. Buckley struggled to do much of anything off of his back, giving up full mount to the four-time NCAA All American wrestler. Storley racked several ground strikes in the last 20 seconds of the round, but Buckley defended well enough to survive the round.
It took less than 15 seconds for Storley to plant his opponent on his back in the final frame. Anytime it appeared as if Buckley was going to scramble back to his feet, Storley dragged him right back down to the ground. Rinse and repeat was the theme of the rest of the round, with Storley’s wrestling pedigree proving to be too much for Buckley.
Storley is so beastly with the takedowns, that he actually recovered from this botch right away to find top position:
Kevin Ferguson Jr. (Baby Slice) def. Devon Brock by submission (RNC) at 1:34 of round 1: Catchweight of 160 pounds
Baby Slice caught his opponent early with a heavy right hand, dropping Brock in less than 90 seconds into the opening round. Ferguson quickly followed his foe to the floor, landing several ground strikes before taking the back, and sinking the RNC.
Look at Baby Slice putting it down to open up the main card: