Bellator 233 is officially over, and was closed out with John Salter hanging on to win a unanimous decision over a surging Costello van Steenis. Salter got ahead early on the scorecards, owning the grappling in the first-two rounds. He started to fatigue in the third, eating all sorts of strikes, but pulled off a takedown to escape the round. In 21-fights, this is the first time that Salter has gone the distance, and that is downright bonkers! In his post-fight interview, Salter respectfully asked for a rematch with middleweight champ, Rafael Lovato Jr.
In the card’s co-main event, Andrew Kapel made good on his promotional debut with a quick first-round knockout of longtime MMA vet “King Mo” Lawal. Kapel showed off some pretty striking technique, and definitely made the most of his moment. Bellator’s light heavyweight division has a lethal new contender to keep an eye on. As for King Mo, he left his gloves in the cage and called it a career with a record of 21-10 — with 13 KO’s, zero subs, and eight decisions. The former Strikeforce champ had a quite a career.
Before that, Arlene Blencowe scored the biggest victory of her career with a unanimous decision over longtime veteran Leslie Smith. Blencowe used her crisp boxing combos to score often, and showed of some sound takedown defense. Now on a three-fight winning streak, Blencowe is eyeing the upcoming winner of Bellator’s featherweight title fight between Julia Budd and Cris Cyborg.
Opening up the main card, Tyrell Fortune looked sharp and composed against more experienced Zu Anyanwu. The collegiate wrestling standout was landing his right cross en route to a second round TKO. Now at 8-0, the sky seems to be the limit for this prospect, who called out heavyweight boxing elite, Tyson Fury, in his post-fight interview.
John Salter def. Costello van Steenis by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Middleweight
Costello started fast, looking to be aggressive, but ended up getting taken down for it. Salter took top position and landed a ton of ground strikes, most of them just softening punches. Costello did not return to open space.
Costello was willing to grapple again in the second round, but again Salter was a step ahead there. Salter was able to control the back for a lot of the round, proving to be the stronger grappler of the two. When Costello finally took top position, he allowed Salter to stand back up, just to get taken down again.
The final round saw Costello come alive. he began to land his strikes on the feet as Salter started to fade. He was landing hard punches and partially getting through with his head kicks. Just when Costello started to run away with the round, Salter realized a takedown and was able to control a bit from the top.
Andrew Kapel def. King Mo by KO at of round 1: Light Heavyweight
Kapel came out throwing hard leg kicks and body jabs. King Mo connected with a hard right hand, but Kapel wore it well. Then, Lawal caught a kick, but quickly ate a right hand that sent him crashing to the canvas. Kapel was quick to begin his ground attack, landing heavy shots and putting King Mo out. Eek!
Arlene Blencowe def. Leslie Smith by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): (W) Featherweight
Blencowe looked sharp right out of the gate, landing crisp boxing combos as well as leg kicks. Smith started to bring the pressure, backing up Blencowe and grinding away against the cage. Several softening knees scored for Smith, and she even connected with a spinning elbow before the bell.
The second round saw Blencowe popping her jab and using her footwork to prevent Smith from clinching with her. Smith was landing solid body kicks, but Blencowe was landing the better strikes. Arlene also did a great job of not allowing her foe to close the distance like she did on the first frame.
The final round was tightly contested. Smith tried to work her body and head kicks, but they didn’t seem to phase Blencowe much. The jab continued to be there for Blencowe. She started to throw more variety, too, adding in kicks to her boxing combos. Smith was able to close the distance this round, but Blencowe stayed on her feet and avoided the big blows.
Tyrell Fortune def. Zu by TKO at 1:56 of round 2: Heavyweight
Zu came out looking to move forward, but Fortune quickly took command of the cage. He started to lead the dance, without really throwing a lot of strikes. The whole round was low on volume, but the few quality strikes that were landed were scored by Fortune. The second round saw Fortune moving forward, feinting and throwing his right cross. The straight right kept landing, and ended up rocking Zu. Fortune landed a knee to the gut and then went upstairs with one. He dropped Zu with another cross and finished him off with ground strikes.
- Tyree Fortune def. Chuck Campbell bu split decision: Light Heavyweight
- Logan Storley def. E.J. Brooks by TKO (injury) at 5:00 of round 1: 175 pounds
- Julius Anglickas def. Jordan Young by unanimous decision: Light Heavyweight
- Amanda Bell def. Janay Harding by TKO at 4:44 of round 3: (W) Featherweight
- Kyle Crutchmer def. Robert Gidron by unanimous decision: Welterweight
- Romero Cotton def. Jason Perrotta by submission (injury) at 2:16 of round 1: Middleweight
- Christian Edwards def. Cesar Bennett by KO at :16 of round 1: Light Heavyweight
Grant Neal def. Jimmy Lugo by unanimous decision: Light Heavyweight
Lucas Brennan vs. Jacob Landin: Featherweight
Aaron McKenzie vs. Sean Clements: Lightweight