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Pitbull Advances to the Finals

Jerry Lai- USA Today Sports

The Featherweight Grand Prix finals are now official as Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (32-4) stops Emmanuel “El Matador” Sanchez (20-5) in the first round choking him unconscious with a guillotine choke.

Pitbull held his ground in the rematch as he held the center of the cage and never let go of his position. Sanchez was fighting a smart round, chopping at the lead leg of Pitbull, but the defending champion’s power was just too much and he was able to drop Sanchez with a vicious left hook on the chin. Sanchez, still dazed, attempted a desperate takedown, which Pitbull took full advantage of and used to lock Sanchez into his signature guillotine choke for the victory.

It was a heartbreaking loss for Sanchez, having already dropped two title opportunities, both at the hands of Pitbull. Now, Pitbull and AJ McKee will meet in the finals for their long-awaited (and long overdue) title fight.

Winners of Bellator 255:

Josh Jackson (14-4)

Josh Jackson lived up to his nickname “The Ass-Kicking Machine”, defeating Neiman Gracie by split decision in their awkward encounter. Jackson had the bad luck of having his eye raked by the ringside cage in the very first round. He fought the rest of the bout with a swollen eye and managed to control Gracie on his feet and hold his own against the renowned jiu-jitsu practitioner when the fight hit the ground. Jackson is on a four-fight win streak in the Bellator cage, his latest two victims being Benson Henderson and Gracie. Jackson has called for his title shot but he may need one more win to receive his wish. The most entertaining fight to book for Jackson would be a matchup against Michael Venom Page, better known as “MVP.” That kind of fight would excite fans and guarantee a title shot for the winner.

Tyrell Fortune (10-1)

Tyrell Fortune’s one-sided beatdown of Jack May was ruthless, quick, and impressive. However, it didn’t do much for Fortune because of May’s unranked status. Nonetheless, it allowed him to call out an opponent, which he took full advantage of. Fortune called out Valentin Moldavsky (10-1) who is ranked three spots ahead. Fortune deserves his top three opponents and Moldavsky fits that description.

Usman Nurmagomedov (12-0)

Usman Nurmagomedov’s record remains perfect after a great performance against a very game Mike Hamel. Nurmagomedov had all the hype in the world entering his Bellator debut and his performance lived up to it. He won the contest but not without a few hiccups along the way. When Hamel was going forward he challenged Nurmagomedov with his striking and takedown attempts. Even though Nurmagomedov won the contest, the gaps in his experience and discipline showed through. He still has a lot of learning to do, but at 22 years old, he still has plenty of time to do it.

Kana Watanabe (10-0)

Kana Watanabe probably had the best performance of her career, defeating former title challenger Alejandra Lara in a thrilling contest that kicked off the era of Showtime for Bellator. Watanabe controlled Lara when it came to the grappling exchanges. Lara still had her moments, but Watanabe handled her business, dominating the third round in what would seal her split decision win. Watanabe is likely now on the shortlist of title challengers for current women’s flyweight champion Juliana Velasquez, and rightfully so.

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