Some might disagree, but Logan Storley is the new interim Bellator welterweight champion.
Friday night at SSE Arena in London, Storley faced hometown hero Michael Page in the main event of Bellator 281. With welterweight champion Yaroslav Amosov currently in Ukraine defending his country from Russian invasion, an interim title was made for this fight. Much to the dismay of the English crowd, it was Storley who left the arena with gold, winning a fight that can only be described as lackluster.
“Venom” started the bout well, using his signature karate style to set a long range and pepper Storley with punches early. But the NCAA All-American was able to finally grab ahold of Page and get him down. Page proved difficult to hold down, though, and Storley was forced to spend most of the round holding onto the striking specialist, instead of doing damage.
This pattern continued in the second and third rounds, with Storley consistently getting Page down to the mat but failing to generate effective offense. Page, meanwhile, was not faring much better, but in the limited exchanges on the feet, Page was landing shots, causing some bruising to show up over Storley’s right eye.
In the fourth round, Page was finally able to avoid grappling exchanges for an extended period and as a result, he had his best round, but he still gave up a takedown late in the fourth. When the fifth started, Storley quickly went back to work with the wrestling, and this time, he was able to get Page down and hold half-guard for some time.
In the end, Storley had controlled most of the fight, but it was Page who had clearly did more damage. The judges did not choose to reward him for that, however, and Storley won a split decision with scores of 48-47, 47-48, and 49-46, to win his first world title.
The win moves Storley to 14-1 in his career and potentially sets him up for a title unification rematch against Amosov should the undisputed champ be able to return to the sport soon.
In the co-main event of the evening, Fabian Edwards secured the signature victory of his career, blowing the doors off Lyoto Machida in just over three minutes. Machida came out looking to use his signature footwork and movement to set a range, but Edwards simply did not allow “The Dragon” to get going and after an early clinch, Edwards rocked Machida with a nasty elbow on the break. From there, Edwards poured on the punishment, with a left hand dropping the former UFC champion and some follow up ground-and-pound turning his lights off completely. The win snapped a two-fight skid for Edwards and Friday’s fight is now the fourth loss in a row for Machida.
In a women’s flyweight bout, Kana Watanabe made a statement that she’s ready for a another crack at Liz Carmouche, submitting Denise Kielholtz in the second round. Kielholtz came out strong to start, hurting Watanabe early and then offering up some offense when she was taken down. But the the Bellator Kickboxing flyweight champion struggled in the second, giving up an early takedown and proving unable to escape from the grappling exchanges Watanabe forced. In the end, Watanabe locked in a triangle choke about half way through the second round to secure the victory.
Paul Daley authors sensational comeback in his final fight
In a featured welterweight bout on the main card, Paul Daley faced Wendell Giacomo for what Daley says will be the final of his illustrious MMA career, and he had a tough go of things early on. Giacomo spent the entire first round and much of the second round taking Daley down and controlling him on the floor. Late in the second round, though, Daley was able to reverse position on the ground and as both men got up, Daley delivered a series of vicious punches against the fence, with a right hook finishing the job and face-planting Giacomo. It was a fitting end to Daley’s career, who walks away from the sport with a record of 44-18-2.
In the main card opener, Luke Trainer and Simon Biyong went to war for 15 minutes. Trainer started strong, dominating the first round with his grappling and nearly finishing the fight with a rear-naked choke. Momentum shifted in the second round though when Biyong dropped Trainer and spent most of the rest of the round smashing Trainer and looking for a finish. It was more of the same in the third, with Biyong again dropping Trainer and then going to work with ground and pound. In the end, Biyong won a clear unanimous decision in a very good scrap.
Check out the full Bellator 281 results below.
Logan Storley def. Michael Page via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46)
Fabian Edwards def. Lyoto Machida via KO (punches) – Round 1, 3:18
Kana Watanabe def. Denise Kielholtz via submission (triangle choke) – Round 2, 3:03
Paul Daley def. Wendell Giacomo via KO (punch) – Round 2, 4:09
Simon Biyong def. Luke Trainer via unanimous decision (29-27, 28-27, 29-28)
Daniel Weichel def. Robert Whiteford via KO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:12
Elina Kallionidou vs. Kate Jackson via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 4:53
Oliver Enkamp def. Mark Lemminger via submission (buggy choke) – Round 3, 0:25
Alfie Davis vs. Tim Wilde is declared a majority draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)
Andrew Fisher def. Attila Korkmaz via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
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, 30-27)