Light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader made a quick move to the semifinal round of the Heavyweight World Grand Prix at Bellator 199 on Saturday in San Jose, Calif.
It didn't take Bader any time at all to move beyond Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal in the heavyweight tournament, as he put his increased size to use immediately. The bell rang, the two fighters approached one another, and Bader launched a left hook that caught Lawal and sent him crashing to the canvas.
Bader followed him down to drop a few more punches, but the fight was already finished, and the referee stepped in to wave it off.
Weighing a full 20 pounds above the division where he holds the title, Bader looked impressive as he took the first step toward becoming Bellator's first simultaneous two-division champion. He will face Matt Mitrione in the semifinal round with the winner of that bout moving on to meet the winner of Fedor Emelianenko vs. Chael Sonnen.
"I know I have the tools. That perfect storm is coming right now, the perfect time for that Heavyweight Grand Prix," Bader said after the fight before addressing the Mitrione bout.
"He's my buddy, but he better get his ass to wrestling practice."
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Jon Fitch Grinds Out the Win Over Paul Daley
It was a fight that was about seven or eight years past its prime, but former UFC welterweight contender Jon Fitch got the victory over British knockout artist Paul Daley enlisting his standard operating procedure.
While Fitch worked hard for the majority of the opening round to secure a takedown, it took Daley all of the final 30 seconds of the frame to swing it back in his favor. Daley rocked Fitch with a lurching uppercut and then unloaded on him against the fence for the remainder of the frame, mixing in knees to the body and chin with more punches and even a couple elbows.
Round two was for Fitch what he had hoped for in round one. He immediately got Daley to the canvas up against the cage, where he proceeded to ground and pound him from various positions for the entirety of the frame. No matter which way Daley turned, he couldn’t get out from under Fitch, and ate a steady diet of methodical punches to the head and body as the clock ticked.
The final frame was a repeat of round two, as Fitch again put Daley on the canvas from the start of the round then mauled him for five minutes, again methodically punching him to the body and head.
The entire time Daley was being bludgeoned by Fitch in the third round, he was more intent on trash talking Bellator than he was trying to find a way out from under his opponent.
"This is going to get you millions of fans Bellator," Daley said, meanwhile, Fitch won the fight.
"I knew he was dangerous, had to keep it on the ground," Fitch said after the fight.
"No, he didn't catch me with anything clean. I was moving with everything, so he didn't catch me with anything hard. He came pretty close though."
Aaron Pico Knocks Out Lee Morrison
Aaron Pico may be a decorated wrestler, but he's beginning to show his striking chops in the Bellator cage. He didn't even allow Lee Morrison to get into their fight, as Pico rocked him early with a right hand to the jaw, but that wasn't the shot that did the fight-ending damage.
The end came shortly after Pico dropped Morrison with a left hand to the body that sent him careening to the canvas. Pico followed up with a couple of shots to his downed opponent, but for all intents and purposes, the fight was over when the body shot landed.
"I want to take on those 'A' guys. I want to get closer to the world title," Pico said after securing his third consecutive victory. "I'm one step closer to being champ of the world; that's my motto. I'm one step closer to being champ of the world. Now, I'm one fight closer."
Cheick Kongo Knocks Out Javy Ayala
Former UFC heavyweight contender Cheick Kongo scored his first knockout since 2014 on Saturday night. The 42-year-old French fighter did it in stunning fashion, too. Javy Ayala swung big on Kongo early in the fight, but left himself open for a brutal left hand that took his legs out from under him. Kongo dropped another punch or two on the canvas, ending the fight at 2:29 of the first round.
Adam Piccolotti Submits Carrington Banks
Though he had already dominated most of the fight, it took Adam Piccolotti until the waning moments of his fight with Carrington Banks to sink a rear-naked choke for the submission. The victory ended a two-fight skid for Piccolotti, who improved his record to 10-2.
Bellator 199: Bader vs. King Mo Full Results
Ryan Bader vs. Muhammed Lawal via knockout (punch) at 0;15, R1
Paul Daley vs. Jon Fitch via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
Aaron Pico def. Lee Morrison via TKO (punches) at 1:10, R1
Cheick Kongo def. Javy Ayala via knockout (punch) at 2:29, R1
Adam Piccolotti def. Carrington Banks via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:41, R3
Cass Bell def. Khai Wu via submission (guillotine choke) at 3:27, R2
Jordan Williams def. Brandon Hester via TKO (strikes) at 1:11, R2
Amber Leibrock def. Janay Harding via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
James Terry def. Danasabe Mohammed via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Gaston Bolanos def. Malcolm Hill via TKO (injury) at 2:54, R1
Justin Tenedora def. David Rivera-Cruz via submission (triangle choke) at 4:27, R1
Deron Winn def. Ahmed White via knockout (punch) at 2:32, R1