Bellator 223 London Recap

Gegard Mousasi (left) and Rafael Lovato Jr. (right) at face-offs ahead of their Bellator 223 middleweight title fight taking place Saturday, June 22 from the SSE Arena in London, England (photo credits to Bellator MMA)

Bellator made its latest overseas stop on Saturday with Bellator London, which took place at The SSE Arena.

Rafael Lovato Jr. pulled off the upset in the main event as he won a majority decision to take the title from Gegard Mousasi.

By the thinnest of margins Lovato became the new champion (47-47, 48-47 and 48-47) for a majority decision. Lovato was crying as he spoke to Josh Thomson afterward. He would give Mousasi an immediate rematch if that’s the direction Bellator wants to go, but first the BJJ specialist needs some time off.

Paul ”Semtex” Daley

Paul Daley avoided a three-fight losing skid for the third time in his career. This was his 60th professional MMA fight. Daley earned a (29-27, 29-27 and 29-27) unanimous decision when he faced former UFC veteran Erick Silva in a packed SSE Arena.

James ”Strabanimal” Gallagher

After returning to his winning ways at Bellator 217 earlier this year, ”Strabanimal” James Gallagher was back on the road toward bantamweight gold. He defeated Jeremiah Labiano in a close split decision (29-28, 28-29 and 29-28).

A special night for the Dutch

It did not go Gegard Mousasi’s way as he lost the Bellator middleweight title. All the other three Dutch fighters on the card did get the win in London.

First up was Bellator’s flyweight kickbox champion Denise Kielholtz, who transitioned to MMA back in 2017. She hurt her opponent in the third round with some solid ground and pound. The referee was forced to stop the match and as a result Kielholtz now improves her Bellator record to 3-1.

Costello van Steenis is just 26 years old and had a perfect 3-0 record with Bellator before he took on Mike Shipman. The Dutchman knocked Shipman out cold with two devastating elbows to the head which dropped his opponent to the canvas.

Van Steenis followed that up with some heavy ground and pound to finish the fight. As a result Van Steenis is now 4-0. The Dutchman wants a shot at the title and he is making a good case for that.

Melvin ”No Mercy” Manhoef

Combat sports legend Melvin Manhoef has only got two fights left on his Bellator contract. In the evening’s co-main event, Manhoef and Kent Kauppinen engaged in a stand-up battle where the fight was always one strike away from being over.

In the end the Dutch powerhouse Manhoef god the nod from all three judges (29-28, 29-28 and 29-28). The dream plan for Manhoef is to retire in his homecountry Amsterdam.

It remains unsure when Bellator will visit the Dutch capital. According to David Green (Bellator’s Head of Europe) an Amsterdam event won’t happen in 2019.

Full results

Preliminary Card

– Frans Mlambo def. Nathan Greyson
– Kevin Fryer def. John Redmond via SD (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
– Galore Bofando def. Keith McCabe via UD (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
– Justin Burlinson def. Wendle Lewis
– Alfie Davis def. Jorge Kanella via UD (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
– Terry Brazier def. Alessandro Botti
– Kate Jackson def. Lena Ovchynnikova
– Charlie Leary def. Chris Bungard via UD (30-25, 30-25, 30-25).

Main Card

– Charlie Ward def. Justin Moore
– Costello van Steenis def. Mike Shipman
– Denise Kielholtz def. Bryony Tyrell
– Fabian Edwards def Jonathan Bosuku via UD (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
– James Gallagher def Jeremiah Labiano via UD (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
– Paul Daley def. Erick Silva via UD (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
– Aaron Chalmers def. Fred Freeman
– Melvin Manhoef def. Kent Kauppinen via UD (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Bellator MMA Middleweight Championship

– Rafael Lovato Jr. def Gegard Mousasi via MD (47-47, 48-47, 48-47)

Postliminary Card

– Oliver Enkamp def. Walter Gahadza






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