Bellator 284 results: Goiti Yamauchi brings on ‘Big Drama Show,’ knocks out Neiman Gracie in second place

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Goiti Yamauchi channeled one hero to eliminate another in the main event of Bellator 284, stopping Neiman Gracie with a hook at the 3:58 mark of the second round.

“I’ve always been a defensive fighter,” Yamauchi said after his stunning knockout on Friday at Sanford Pentagon. “This time, [I brought] Triple GGG [boxer Gennady Golovkin] ‘Great Drama style. … I like to put on a show.”

The show was a frontal charge towards Gracie late in the second after another deadlock on the canvas, where Yamauchi twice put his opponent down after some heavy footwork. Walking slowly forward, Yamauchi lowered his hands and buried his face and forehead in his opponent’s blows. Suddenly, he uncorked a hook that doubled Gracie for him, handing jiu-jitsu his third straight loss and fourth in his last six outings.

A jab from Yamauchi in the first round forced Gracie to a knee. The Brazilian was unable to take the action to the ground on his own terms, foreshadowing the explosive finish.

“This is very significant, not just for my first main event, but for fighting a Gracie,” Yamauchi said. “He is a great fighter, one of the fighters in history. I have no words to describe this moment.”

Gracie is currently ranked No. 5 in the Bellator welterweight rankings, leaving Yamauchi with a shot at jumping into title contention in what was his third straight win and his second 170-pound fight under the promotion.

Yamauchi, a fighter who has long struggled to break through the pack at featherweight and lightweight, may be on the cusp of his best work as a welterweight.

“Everyone above me in the rankings, I’m sure these guys are watching today,” he said. “I want to fight all those guys. … This is my destiny.”

Accidental hit to the eye takes out Mowry

Steve Mowry had barely started trying to take out former interim heavyweight champion Valentin Moldavsky when an accidental eyeball hit him in the right eye. Replays showed a good portion of Moldavsky’s finger making illegal contact as he tried to parry a punch. Referee Kevin MacDonald gave Mowry as many chances as he could to see if he could continue, letting three minutes pass.

Mowry, however, was clearly impaired and said several times that he couldn’t see, forcing MacDonald’s hand as he called for the ringside doctor. Mowry winced as the light from a pen shone into his injured eye and repeated the final words of the fight that he couldn’t see. In just 54 seconds, it was all over in the co-main event when the accidental foul triggered a no-contest.

Macfarlane survives a late squeeze and outpoints Ellen

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane entered the cage and deducted an emotional point for her first weight loss. The former flyweight champion wasn’t sure she wanted to fight. After three tough rounds with Bruna Ellen, she rediscovered her passion for the sport and snapped a two-fight streak.

Macfarlane unexpectedly battled strike specialist Ellen on the feet, using none of her kicks in a fight for supremacy in the middle. He took several hits in the process, but returned many and more before taking the fight to the fence, where he dropped Ellen to the mat and ended the round with a flurry.

The game plan was less disguised from then on, as Macfarlane fought off punches for the takedown. She nearly backfired in the second when a foot sweep takedown put her on the bottom, and a guillotine choke had her gasping for breath. She but she survived both and ended the exchange with a flurry of offense, letting her elbows finish 15 minutes.

For his valiant effort, all three judges awarded Macfarlane the fight with scores of 29-28 twice and 30-27.

Saricam defeats Sowma in a sparring match

In a fight that never got out of second gear, Gokhan Saricam’s surprising attack got the job done on Said Sowma. A left hand threw Sowma off balance in the opening frame and gave him the motivation to fight, which he often did when he discovered he had a slight advantage there. In the second, Sowma spent most of the frame trying to put his opponent down. But in the end, he settled for a fast-paced fight against Saricam, who did just enough to outplay his opponent except for a flurry of last-second shots that scored against Sowma. Two of the three judges gave Saricam the go-ahead 29-28 points, while one dissented in favor of American Top Team’s Sowma, who suffered his second consecutive setback.

Jeffrey defeats Vanderford

The man known as Mr. Van Zant continued to stumble after rising to the top of Bellator’s middleweight division. Short-term replacement Aaron Jeffrey had Austin Vanderford’s number from the get-go, landing a right hand that dropped Vanderford twice before the third sealed the deal.

Vanderford didn’t have time to kick-start the wrestling that worked so well for him in previous, and more favorably matched, fights. At the 1:25 mark of the opening frame, it was all over, with Mr. VanZant’s arms against the cage, doubts gone awry as fluffy Jeffrey celebrated his third straight win at Bellator. With Vanderford still sitting at No. 2 in the promotion’s rankings after a swift TKO loss to now-former champion Gegard Mousasi, Jeffrey has caused quite a stir.

Complete Bellator 284 results:

Goiti Yamauchi def. Neiman Gracie via KO (uppercut) – Round 2, 3:58

Valentin Moldavsky vs. Steve Mowry declared a no-contest (accidental eye poke) – Round 1, 0:54

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane def. Bruna Ellen by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Gokhan Saricam def. Said Sowma by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Defeat of Aaron Jeffery. Austin Vanderford via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:25

Marcos Breno right. Josh Hill via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

DeAnna Bennett right. Justine Kish by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Sullivan Cauley def. Tyson Jeffries via KO (knee) – Round 1, 1:39

Pat Downey right. Keyes Nelson via submission (arm triangle choke) – Round 1, 0:36

Bailey Schoenfelder def. Mark Currier via submission (rear naked choke) – Round 2, 2:35

Mitchell McKee def. Tony Ortega via TKO (ground and pound) – Round 2, 1:28

M, A, Yah II def. Brett Bye by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

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