Bellator 232 was the place where the winner of the company’s welterweight Grand Prix was decided. Douglas Lima took a unanimous decision over Rory MacDonald to become the promotion’s welterweight champ for the third time — he also wins the welterweight Grand Prix and takes home a $1,000,000 payday. Lima stayed on his feet for the bulk of the fight, and was the one landing the better strikes. It wasn’t until the end of the fifth frame that Rory found top position, but wasn’t able to do much with it. Perhaps we’ll get a trilogy bout??
In the co-main event, Paul Daley did what Paul Daley does. He stopped Saad Awad by dropping him with his lethal left hook and sealing the deal with a set of hammerfists. This is the first time Daley has seen back to back wins since 2016, and requested to fight in England in his next outing. Earlier on the card, Patrick Mix put on a grappling clinic on Isaiah Chapman. He found an early takedown, took the back, and ultimately locked up the ever-cool Suloev Stretch in the first round. Mix remains undefeated and now moves to 12-0. The bellator bantamweights better be on the lookout for this guy, who is a proven submission machine.
Nick Newell and Manny Muro went the distance in a grapple heavy 160-pound catchweight. Each man had their moments of dominant positions, but it was Muro who left the cage with the split decision. In his post-fight interview, all Muro asked for was a Bellator contract. Opening up the main card, Baby Slice, Kevin Ferguson, made quick work of Craig Campbell. Ferguson fought off an early takedown attempt with some brutal elbows and hammerfists. Campbell was caught with his pants down and was stopped in just 38-seconds. Baby Slice is now 4-2 in his young career.
Douglas Lima def. Rory MacDonald by unanimous decision (50-45 x2, 49-46): Welterweight Title
The opening round had a slower pace to it. Lima landed the better strikes, but also spent a lot of time with his back to the fence. Despite having his back to the fence, Lima was able to remain on his feet the whole round. The second round had a similar pace as the first frame. Lima was able to land a lot more strikes, and didn’t allow Rory to control him against the fence for very long. The crowd booed throughout due to the lack of violence.
The third round was more of the same. Lima stuffing takedowns and getting the better of the exchanges. He also refused to allow MacDonald to pin his back to the cage. Come round four, Lima started to light up the lead leg of Rory. He continued to remain vertical and force MacDonald to fight on the feet. His jab was a consistent factor throughout. In the final act, MacDonald was able to blast a solid takedown, but Lima used the momentum to take top position. He was able to sprinkle down blows and mind his P’s and Q’s as Rory rolled for sub attempts. MacDonald ultimate scrambled into top position, but there wasn’t enough time on the clock for him to manifest a needed finish.
Paul Daley def. Saad Awad by TKO at 1:30 of round 2: Welterweight
Awad looked to stick and move to start the bout, but Daley did a good job of pressuring and making it a fight. Daley did a great job of stuffing the takedowns and keeping the match on its feet. Daley landed the better strikes throughout the round. Daley came out aggressive for the second act. He was utilizing the uppercut to left hook combination. He slipped being aggressive and Awad was able to take the back as Daley stood up. Daley freed himself from the clutches of his opponent and got right back to work. He landed his patented left hook that dropped Awad, and followed up with ground strikes to earn the TKO victory.
Patrick Mix def. Isaiah Chapman by submission (Suloev Stretch) at 3:49 of round 1: Bantamweight
It didn’t take very long for Mix to secure a takedown and transition to the back. He locked up the body triangle and began to land a bunch of elbows and punches. Chapman did a sound job of keeping his neck safe, but just couldn’t get Mix off of him. When Chapman stood to his feet with his foe attached, that’s when Mix grabbed a hold of the leg and pulled off the ultra-rare Suloev Stretch.
Manny Muro def. Nick Newell by split decision (29-28 x2, 27-29): 160 pounds
Muro pressured right out of the gate and closed the distance. Newell was able to grab ahold of the neck, prompting Muro to drop down to the ground. Newell pretty much controlled from the top for the remainder of the round. Nick got back to his grappling attack in the second act. He was able to take the back and control for a bit. Muro did a sound job of defending the subs, and then employed his own grappling attack. He stuffed the takedowns and was able to take Newell’s back, racking up his own control time. The third round was pretty much all Muro. He owned the grappling exchanges, taking the back of Newell and dropping a few ground strikes along the way.
Kevin Ferguson Jr. def. Craig Campbell by TKO at :38 of round 1: 160 pounds
Baby Slice went right at Campbell, throwing his punches in combinations. He landed a solid leg kick, but when he threw the next low kick Campbell shot in for the takedown. Baby Slice started going dropping some savage elbows, one to the back of the head, causing Campbell to drop down. Ferguson switched to hammerfists and the referee then had seen enough.
- Ryan Hardy Evans def. Demetrios Plaza by submission (RNC) at 3:03 of round 3: Welterweight
- Lance Gibson Jr. def. Dominic Jones by KO at 1:58 of round 1: Lightweight
- Devin Powell def. Marcus Surin by submission (Guillotine) at 5:00 of round 2: Lightweight
- John Lopez def. Dan Cormier by unanimous decision: Flyweight
- Jornel Lugo def. John Douma by unanimous decision: Bantamweight
- Zarrukh Adashev def. Tevin Dyce by KO at 1:39 of round 2: Flyweight