Bellator 281 turned out to have a bit of everything, with some gritty performances mixed with thrilling submissions and electrifying knockouts.
The top of the card could have been a true homecoming for title challenger Michael Venom Page, but it was not to be. Logan Storley used his wrestling skill and physicality to earn a victory in enemy territory, capturing the interim welterweight title over the course of five long rounds.
Page gave it what he had, though:
Yet Storley soldiered on:
In the end, it was nothing but respect between the two, as it should be:
The co-main event featured Fabian Edwards taking on his biggest career opponent to date in former UFC champion Lyoto Machida. While it felt good to see Machida make the walk, it didn’t end great for him. Edwards took advantage in the close range and put his lights out.
This win should potentially put Edwards next in the running for the middleweight title, but that won’t be determined until current champ Gegard Mousasi faces his next challenge in Johnny Eblen. In the meantime, Edwards not only establishes himself further with a win over a big name, he adds another item to his highlight reel at home, making the hype very real.
Kana Watanabe faced rough waters early as she got stunned by a few hits from fearsome striker Denise Kielholtz:
But Watanabe weathered that storm and took control by the end of the first to end in dominant position raining blows.
After a takedown early in the second, she managed to control things further until an illegal kick from Kielholtz stopped the action momentarily. Kielholtz held her own for a bit fending off Watanabe’s offense, but got a bit greedy late in the second. Watanabe made her pay for that.
Paul Daley made his final walk to the cage against the very game Wendell Giacomo, who was not about to go easy on him in any way. Final fight in your hometown? Wendell isn’t here to placate you.
So things got a bit dicey when he tried to work some flypaper grappling early on:
But then Paul got comfortable and started finding a home for those hands.
It got emotional as expected when Daley brought his mother into the cage for a celebration. It was all love everywhere for Daley, and it probably couldn’t have gone any better.
Former RIZIN fighter Simon Biyong took on the younger Luke Trainer, and despite not having the best first round, managed to turn things around. All credit to Trainer, he really acquitted himself well when the fight started and shows a lot of promise.
In the end, Biyong remained a bit much for Trainer. and looked formidable en route to a decision win.
Daniel Weichel earned his 42nd career win against Rob Whiteford after a fight that had a finish that was a tad controversial. Weichel shows he’s still a problem for anyone in his weight class and can be a threat anywhere.
Elsewhere on the card, Karate specialist Oliver Enkamp was being controlled on the mat for most of his fight against wrestler Mark Lemminger, but ultimately slapped on a groovy buggy choke for the win:
@OliverEnkamp sinks in the submission to add an 1️⃣1️⃣th win to his pro record at #Bellator281.— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) May 13, 2022
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Full results below
Bellator interim welterweight championship: Logan Storley def. Michael Page via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46)
Fabian Edwards def. Lyoto Machida via KO (punches): R1, 3:18
Kana Watanabe def. Denise Kielholtz via submission (triangle choke): R2, 3:03
Paul Daley def. Wendell Giacomo via KO (right hook): R2, 4:09
Simon Biyong def. Luke Trainer via unanimous decision (29-27×2, 29-28)
Daniel Weichel def. Robert Whiteford via TKO (punches): R1, 1:12
Elina Kallionidou def. Kate Jackson via TKO (punches): R2, 4:53
Oliver Enkamp def. Mark Lemminger via submission (buggy choke): R3, 0:25
Alfie Davis vs. Tim Wilde ends in a majority draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)
Andrew Fisher def. Attila Korkmaz via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Charlie Ward def. Alan Carlos via unanimous decision (30-27×2 30-25)
Maciej Rozanski def. Lee Chadwick via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Chiara Penco def. Lanchana Green via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27×2)