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LONDON – Paul Daley may have been down as Round 2 was coming to a close at Bellator 281, but he remained patient.
Daley (44-18-2 MMA, 9-6 BMMA) had his back taken by Wendell Giacomo in Round 1 of their main card bout Friday at OVO Arena Wembley in London and found himself on the mat once more in Round 2.
But with a minute left in the second round, Daley decided he had enough and was able to disengage from Giacomo, who was visibly starting to slow down. Daley fully capitalized and unleashed a flurry which resulted in a brutal walk-off right hook knockout, sending the fans into a frenzy.
Despite the rollercoaster of emotions from the fans as they witnessed him compete for the last time, Daley was not going to accept anything but a monumental send-off.
“I was comfortable, I never felt in danger,” Daley told MMA Junkie post-fight at Bellator 281. “At one stage the crowd in the second the crowd went silent when his hand went under my chin and I was like, ‘I’m cool people, just chill,’ and then I got up and managed to reverse position, but I didn’t feel in danger.
“I could feel he was tiring, I was just sort of like biding my time. It does get frustrating because you can hear the crowd, ‘Get up, get up.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah I’m f*cking trying to get up,’ but yeah I was just biding my time, I got up and reversed position and got the job done.”
Daley was extremely emotional after the finish and to make the walk for the final time in front of his home crowd capped off an incredible career for the British MMA pioneer.
“I just want to be remembered for moments like this, getting the crowd off their feet, knocking someone out and giving people when they leave here and go back home, they’ve got talking points and I can guarantee you that’s gonna be one of the talking points and that’s what it’s about. We’re entertainers, I’ve entertained, they’ve got good memories, and I’m happy.”
He continued, “I didn’t think I was going to make it to the cage, but in my head I thought I was gonna break down before I even got in the cage so I’m quite happy I made it to the cage to actually compete without crying so yeah it was always gonna happen. I’ve had a long career and I’ve had some spectacular moments and it was a great way to end it.”