Bellator 281 results: Paul Daley caps off MMA career with dynamite comeback one-punch KO of Wendell Giacomo

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It would’ve been hard for Paul Daley to pull off a more vintage performance than his Bellator 281 swan song Friday in London.

In the declared final bout of his mixed martial arts career, Daley (44-18-2 MMA, 9-6 BMMA) rallied to land a violent one-punch knockout of gritty Brazilian debutant Wendell Giacomo (9-3 MMA, 0-1 BMMA). The walk-off stoppage came at 4:09 of Round 2 and was the 35th knockout win of Daley’s career.

The highlight didn’t come easy, something Daley became accustomed to over the span of his 20-year professional MMA career. For the majority of the first nine minutes of the fight, Daley was controlled, particularly in the grappling department. Giacomo displayed great strength and technique, until Daley saw an opportunity to explode upward.

Once there, Daley hurled classic haymakers at the overwhelmed Brazilian. A left hook to the body was followed by a lights-out overhand right. The punch that connected on the head was all he needed. It connected and Giocomo face-planted to the canvas.

O2 Arena exploded into pandemonium as the “Daley, Daley, Daley” chants sounded loud and clear. Daley walked to the center of the cage and collapsed, overwhelmed with emotion. Daley was greeted in the cage by his mother and his partner, who joined in the celebration.

Daley, 39, declared Friday’s bout his final fight. A competitor for two decades, Daley competed for the UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator, Cage Warriors, Elite XC, BAMMA, and more. His scrap against Nick Diaz is widely regarded as one of the best one-round title fights in MMA history. His 202 bout against Sabah Homasi also received Fight of the Year candidacy from some. Other notable career wins include Jorge Masvidal, Martin Kampmann, Duane Ludwig, and Lorenz Larkin.

From 2009-2010, Daley competed three times under the UFC banner and went 2-1. However, he was banned from the promotion after he struck Josh Koscheck following the conclusion of their 2010 bout.

The up-to-the-minute Bellator 281 results include:

  • Paul Daley def. Wendell Giacomo via knockout (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 knockout (punches) – Round 1, 1:12

  • Elina Kallionidou def. Kate Jackson via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 4:53

  • Oliver Enkamp def. Mark Lemminger via submission (buggy choke) – Round 3, 0:25

  • Alfie Davis vs Tim Wilde ends in a majority draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)

  • Andrew Fisher def. Attila Korkma via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

  • Charlie Ward def. Alan Carlos via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25)

  • 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)