Corey Anderson made his Bellator MMA debut last night in the main event of Bellator 251, which went down at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. There he met, and utterly dominated, veteran journeyman Melvin Manhoef.
Their fight lasted midway into the second round. That’s when Anderson coupled his takedown successes with brutal ground and pound. Throughout the fight he had been getting former K-1 kickboxer Manhoef down to the mat with ease. But once he got him down in the second, Anderson wouldn’t let him back up, drilling the Dutchman with punches and heavy elbow strikes. The referee came in and stopped the fight after Manhoef ate a series of hard elbows. Manhoef complained, but there is no intelligent argument for letting that fight continue.
Anderson improved his record to 14-5 with the win. With the win, and the style in which it came, Anderson does exactly what Scott Coker was probably hoping for: turn himself into an immediate contender at light heavyweight.
That title is currently held by Vadim Nemkov, who dethroned Ryan Bader with a TKO back in August.
Anderson hopped over to Bellator on the back of a KO loss to current UFC light heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz (a man he beat back in 2015). Before succumbing to ‘Polish power’ Anderson was on a four fight winning streak with victories over Johnny Walker, Ilir Latifi, Glover Teixeira and Patrick Cummins.
Also on the main card Austin Vanderford, husband of bare knuckle fighter Paige VanZant (who makes her BKFC debut over Superbowl weekend), took a convincing win over Vinicius de Jesus to keep his record perfect at 10-0. Vanderford thoroughly outclassed de Jesus with his wrestling and ground and pound (which left de Jesus a bloody mess). Vanderford took a unanimous decision, earning a 10-8 round on one of the scorecards.
The weirdest incident of the night came in the Derek Anderson vs. Killys Mota fight. Towards the end of their second round welterweight clash, Mota was down and making it to his feet when Anderson caught the Brazilian flush with a head kick. Mota went back down and Anderson immediately began apologizing.
Mota was unable to continue and, at first glance, the kick from Anderson appeared to be an illegal blow to a downed opponent. However, referee Mike Beltran used the tools that were available to him and checked out a replay of the questionable strike. After viewing the footage, Beltran ruled that both of Mota’s knees were off the mat at the moment of impact.
The prelim card started with a finish, with pro debutante Sumiko Inaba using ground and pound to beat Jessica Ruiz. After that it was all decisions with Julius Anglickas handing Alex Polizzi his first loss with a unanimous decision and Georgi Karakhanyan taking a split devision over Bryce Logan.
Corey Anderson def. Melvin Manhoef via TKO (strikes), round 2 (2:34).
Heavy shots from @CoreyA_MMA as round 1️⃣ of the #Bellator251 main event winds down.— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) November 6, 2020
Catch round 2️⃣ LIVE & FREE now on @CBSSportsNet in he U.S. and with @SkySports Mix in the U.K.#MMA #Bellator pic.twitter.com/BL1EwMzpHw
Tyrell Fortune def. Said Sowma via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Austin Vanderford def. Vinicius de Jesus via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27).
Some nasty ground & pound from @AustinV170MMA to close out the third and final round.— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) November 6, 2020
The #Bellator251 main card is LIVE NOW on @CBSSportsNet in the and @SkySports Mix in the . pic.twitter.com/Zi3z12WG4l
.@AustinV170MMA is looking relentless in the first moments of round 2️⃣.— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) November 6, 2020
The #Bellator251 main card is LIVE NOW on @CBSSportsNet in the U.S. and with @SkySports Mix in the U.K. pic.twitter.com/rNUsGn7mWB
Derek Anderson def. Killys Mota via KO (kick), round 2, (4:27).
Georgi Karakhanyan def. Bryce Logan via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Julius Anglickas def. Alex Polizzi via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Janay Harding def. Jessy Miele via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Ali Zebian def. Piankhi Zimmerman via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Jaylon Bates def. Joe Supino via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-27, 30-27)
Sumiko Inaba def. Jessica Ruiz via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 4:59