A classic battle of youth vs. experience was on tap tonight at Bellator 67 in the form of a fight between 26-year old lightweight champion Michael Chandler and 37-year old PRIDE/UFC veteran Akihiro Gono. The non-title fight marked Chandler’s first appearance since picking up the belt in a classic clash with Eddie Alvarez this past November.
Chandler caught Gono early with a right hand about 45 seconds into the headlining bout, sending him to the canvas and opening the door for the Xtreme Couture competitor to pounce on top to pound out the TKO victory. The performance improved his overall record to 10-0 and was his eighth career finish.
Other match-ups scheduled for the card with a more-competitive feel to them were the Season 6 welterweight semifinal scrap between Ben Saunders and Bryan Baker and Ryan Ford’s debut in the promotion where he took on 50-fight winner Luis Santos.
Saunders came up short on the scorecards against Baker in an exciting effort from both with a number of submission attempts and stiff shots. In the end Baker’s conditioning and athleticism prevailed, allowing him to press the pace as the fight wore on and come away with the decision win. He will face the winner of Karl Amoussou-David Rickels next month for a crack at Ben Askren‘s championship.
Meanwhile, former MFC champion Ford had a solid showing by knocking out Santos after eating some shots in the first round and finding himself on the bring of defeat. The finish came after Ford landed a pair of knees to his Brazilian adversary’s chin in the second stanza, dropping him and drawing the referee’s break.
A full list of Bellator 67 winners/losers can be found below followed by highlights from the show:
Will Romero def. Matt Veal via TKO Round 2 (Strikes)
David Harris def. Nick Kirt via Unanimous Decision
Dom O’Grady def. Nathan Gunn via Submission Round 2 (Armbar)
Nordine Taleb def. Matt McGrath via TKO Round 2 (Strikes)
Cosmo Alexandre def. Lowrant-T Nelson via Unanimous Decision
Ryan Ford def. Luis Santos via Knockout Round 2 (Knee)
Damian Grabowski def. Dave Huckaba via Unanimous Decision
Bryan Baker def. Ben Saunders via Unanimous Decision
Michael Chandler def. Akihiro Gono via TKO Round 1 (Strikes)