With a drastically reduced MMA schedule over the next few months expected, Bloody Elbow’s European MMA writer, Scott Lagdon, is diving down into the archives to highlight some of the wildest, weirdest and most fun fights from the continent that MMA fans may have missed out on. Whether it’s looking at the early careers of fighters who would go on to become international stars, or some hidden fight of the year candidates BE will have fans covered!
With a wealth of long-running promotions across Europe regularly putting on highly entertaining contests over the years, there’s tons to choose from. So, let us know if there’s anything that deserves a little extra attention.
Fight (with records at the time): Raymond Daniels (0-1) v Wilker Barros (0-0) - Welterweight
Event: Bellator Birmingham in Birmingham, England.
Date: May 4th 2019
On Bellator’s sophomore outing of their European Series, all four main card bouts ended with a first-round stoppage. It was Raymond Daniels who kicked that streak off as he opened the television broadcast with a KO that went viral around the world. He was returning to MMA after an eleven year break from the sport and was eager to record his first professional victory over Wilker Barros, who was making his MMA debut. Daniels was most well-known for his decorated kickboxing and sport karate background.
Daniels came out with his hands down and landed a side kick to the body. Barros rushed in to try and close the distance but wasn’t able to cut his opponent off. A few moments after, Daniels threw a nice right jab and made sure that he always kept Barros at range. Moving in, Daniels fired off a one-two before attempting his patented flashy kicks. Barros managed to initiate the clinch with double underhooks but Daniels pummeled immediately to establish his own and broke free.
Barros continued his own offense when he landed some knees in the clinch before Daniels was able to shrug him off against the cage. The MMA debutant connected with a leg kick but Daniels returned with his own, followed by a right hand. It was the beginning of the end when Daniels landed a spinning back kick to the body which momentarily sent Barros to the mat. Once he got back to his feet, Daniels jumped in spinning and looked like he was going to throw a kick, but didn’t. Barros brought his hands down when gravity returned Daniels from the air, which resulted in the kickboxing champion connecting with a huge overhand right. The punch sent Barros crashing to the canvas and the fight was over. Barros didn’t have a full training camp for that bout as he was brought in as a late replacement and believes he could have won with proper preparation time.
“Despite the fact that I only had about three weeks to get ready, I was confident that I could still win the fight,” discussed Barros. “I had a brilliant gameplan to allow Daniels to express himself in the first round and also apply pressure to him so he would tire out. Then I would have been able to stick it on him for the rest of the fight.”
“Daniels was extremely agile and fast in there which I knew about already,” continued Barros. “I wanted to close the distance and keep him close. There was a moment when I managed to get him in the clinch and land some knees which were very effective. However, I made a mistake and allowed him to escape. It was an honour to share the cage with him and he has nothing but my utmost respect. He is a true warrior and extremely unpredictable.”
After nine months away from the cage, Daniels returned to competition in January and picked up another first round stoppage when he overcame Jason King. That took his record to 2-0 in Bellator whereas Barros hasn’t competed since the loss.