Austin Vanderford picked up a big win and likely a nasty scar Friday at Bellator 259.
The American Top Team product won a unanimous decision over Fabian Edwards at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Vanderford (11-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) defeated Edwards (9-2 MMA, 5-2 BMMA) with 30-27 scores from all three judges’ scorecards.
The bout ended a bloody mess despite it being a relatively clean affair with very little damage throughout the majority of the fight.
Vanderford used his wrestling to take down and control Edwards in the first two rounds. Edwards certainly did a good job at defending some takedowns and had good strikes on the feet, but his efforts were overshadowed by Vanderford’s persistence with the takedowns and top control.
In the third round, Vanderford’s strategy held strong, but Edwards was able to sneak in several bottom strikes, including an elbow that opened up a huge gash in the middle of Vanderford’s forehead. Blood poured down relentlessly, but that didn’t deter Vanderford from holding top position and throwing ground-and-pound.
It was a solid performance from Vanderford, who remains unbeaten in his professional MMA career. The 185-pound fighter entered No. 3 in the Bellator rankings and could be in line for a title shot next. He’s been competing with the promotion since early 2019.
Meanwhile, Edwards is now on a two-fight skid, having lost to Costello van Steenis in a split decision. Prior to the pair of defeats, the 28-year-old was unbeaten with nine consecutive wins.
Up-to-the-minute Bellator 259 results include:
Austin Vanderford def. Fabian Edwards via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jaleel Willis def. Maycon Mendonca via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Saad Awad def. Nate Andrews via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 3:16
Grant Neal def. Tyree Fortune via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:20
Sumiko Inaba def. Kristina Katsikis via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 3:35
Aviv Gozali def. Sean Felton via submission (heel hook) – Round 1, 1:17
Davion Franklin def. Tyler King via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 2:02
Danny Sabatello def. Brett Johns via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Alexander Shabliy def. Alfie Davis via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)