Gallagher (11-1 MMA, 8-1 BMMA) dominated the bout with his grappling as he swiftly took Ellenor’s back after the first takedown, then locked up a tight body triangle and didn’t let go as he spent the remainder of the fight working for an opening to lock up a rear-naked choke.
Ellenor (8-3 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) tried to keep his cool as Gallagher connected with elbows and punches from his back and made numerous attempts to lock up a choke or face crank, but the Englishman’s resistance was finally broken in the final 30 seconds of Round 1 as Gallagher laced his arm under Ellenor’s chin and applied the pressure to force the tap at the 4:31 mark.
After notching his fifth first-round submission finish under the Bellator banner, Gallagher said he had abandoned his usual vocal approach ahead of fight night and proved that he can still deliver, with or without the trash talk.
“I came in here the best I’ve ever been. I didn’t talk, for the only time,” he said. “They say it’s all talk. I’ve had my mouth shut for months, and I still come out and do it. Silence to the whole (expletive) division. Silence!”
When asked who he wants to face next, a defiant Gallagher answered emphatically, “Them all! Give me anyone, everyone, and a big bag of money, and I’ll fight any (expletive) one of them!
“I’m too smart. I’m too smart for them. And where I come from, back in Strabane, I’m the toughest mother (expletive) in the whole thing, and no one can stop me. I’m too smart, and when I want to turn it on, I can do it all. I can do every (expletive) bit of it.
“I’m just extremely proud of myself. I’ve worked hard, I’m in my third main event, I’m 23 years old, everyone counts me out, but I count myself in every (expletive) time and that’s all that matters, isn’t it?
“Give me that belt! It’s mine!”
Ward takes nod after gritty battle
Irish middleweight Charlie Ward used his smothering top game to good effect as he nullified Andy Manzolo’s submission threat to claim a unanimous decision victory in their 185-pound co-main event matchup.
After a cagey start, Manzolo (23-9 MMA, 0-2 BMMA) successfully managed to take the action to the mat with a well-executed judo throw and set to work on the ground in search of a submission.
The England-based Estonian took Ward’s back and looked to work his way toward a rear-naked choke, but Ward (9-4 MMA, 6-1 BMMA) kept his composure and managed to deny his opponent the opportunity to lock up the submission. Manzolo wouldn’t give up his back control, however, and attempted a face crank. But Ward fought through it and eventually reversed position and ended up on top as the round came to a close.
At the start of Round 2, Ward immediately closed the distance and took Manzolo to the mat. Manzolo tried to work his way back to his feet, but Ward kept him down and punished him with ground strikes as he weighed heavily on his opponent’s body from top position.
Manzolo looked to score with strikes off his back, but was warned about his strike placement after a couple of shots caught Ward on the back of the head. He then looked to lock up a late omoplata to relieve the pressure in the final seconds of the round as both men returned to their corners with the fight hanging in the balance.
After the pair exchanged pleasantries at the start of Round 3, Ward shot in and took Manzolo to the mat almost immediately. Once the fight hit the canvas, Ward established top position and barely relinquished it as he dominated the positional game for the rest of the round to ride out the remainder of the fight from top position and earn scores of 29-28 from all three of the cageside judges.
Leary claims TKO win after thrilling one-round war
In the night’s main card opener, Charlie Leary picked up a huge win as he defeated Ireland’s Kiefer Crosbie via first-round TKO after the doctor ruled the Irishman unable to continue into the second round of their 160-pound catchweight bout.
Leary (17-11-1 MMA, 3-2 BMMA) started the faster of the pair and put his strikes together well as he consistently beat Crosbie (8-2 MMA, 4-2 BMMA) to the punch and left the Irishman with a cut on his brow. The Englishman continued to push forward, but a left hook from Crosbie sent him to the canvas.
With Leary’s senses still scrambled, Crosbie piled on the pressure and walked through Leary’s strikes in search of a finish, but Leary planted his feet and connected with a series of stinging shots that slowed the Irishman’s charge.
Then, as Crosbie continued to push forward, Leary hurt the Dubliner with a big right hand and followed his man to the canvas before unloading a barrage of ground strikes. Somehow, a battered and bloodied Crosbie managed to survive the onslaught and eventually used a leg lock attempt to open up the chance to get back to his feet.
However, almost as soon as he stood back up, Leary sent him straight back down again with another flurry of fists, then came close to scoring a finish with a salvo of ground strikes as the bell rang to signal the end of a breathless round.
It proved to be a temporary reprieve for Crosbie as, after an examination of his cuts by a cageside physician, the fight was waved off to give Leary a huge win.
Kavanagh’s heavy hands prove crucial in decision win
In the night’s featured preliminary card bout, Ireland’s Sinead Kavanagh registered back-to-back wins inside the Bellator cage with a solid unanimous decision win over former Invicta FC competitor Katharina Lehner.
Kavanagh (7-4 MMA, 4-4 BMMA) looked to give Lehner (7-3 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) a taste of her striking power early and shrugged off a takedown attempt from the German. Lehner attempted another takedown but, after a lengthy battle against the cage, Kavanagh landed on top before the fight returned to the feet.
With the action back in the stand-up, Kavanagh looked to load up and made Lehner pay in the clinch against the cage, with some heavy elbows and a few open-hand slaps to her opponent as Lehner looked to weigh heavy against the Irish fighter against the fence.
Kavanagh started to connect clean with her punches in the second half of the round, which prompted another takedown attempt from Lehner. Kavanagh had it well scouted and landed on top before returning to her feet and unloading with more strikes for the remainder of the round.
Kavanagh walked down her opponent from the opening bell in Round 2 and landed with a big left hook almost immediately. It set the tone for the SBG Ireland fighter, who scored consistently with solid punches as she staked her opponent around the cage. Unlike Round 1, Kavanagh was able to stuff Lehner’s takedown attempts and, although the German connected with some solid punches of her own, it was the Dubliner who held the advantage in the striking exchanges.
Round 3 saw Kavanagh open up with a snapping left jab, but Lehner hung tough and fired back with decent punches in return. Kavanagh stayed composed as Lehner looked to lock up against the cage and initiate a takedown. But, as the pace started to slow, it was Kavanagh’s hands that more frequently found their mark as the bout went all the way to the scorecards.
The judges were all in agreement as Kavanagh took all three rounds on all three scorecards to claim a shutout win, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27.
French debutant Guih edges grueling encounter
Guih (14-11-1 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) started off as the aggressor and attempted two belly-to-back suplexes early on, but Bungard (15-7 MMA, 2-3 BMMA) rebounded well and kept the pressure on the Frenchman as he forced the action up against the cage in the closing moments of a clinch-heavy opening round.
After the restart, Bungard upped the intensity and landed an early takedown, but the Scot was unable to do too much with the position and the action returned to the feet with Guih scoring well – particularly with his calf kicks – as he continued to edge the action in the stand-up.
Perhaps realizing the action hadn’t gone his way through the first two rounds, Bungard again attacked and landed a takedown at the start of Round 3, and trapped his man against the cage. But, despite landing some shots to his grounded opponent, Bungard was unable to advance position to secure a submission as Guih battled his way back to his feet. “Barakuda” even managed to secure a late takedown to finish the fight in top position as the bout went all the way to the final bell.
The judges were split in their assessment, but Guih edged the verdict after polling scores of 28-29, 29-28, 30-27 as he secured a split-decision victory to register a victory on his Bellator debut.
Bellator Europe 9: Official results
James Gallagher def. Cal Ellenor via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:31
Charlie Ward def. Andy Manzolo via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Charlie Leary def. Kiefer Crosbie via TKO (doctor stoppage) – Round 1, 5:00
Sinead Kavanagh def. Katharina Lehner via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Aymard Guih def. Chris Bungard via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
Acoidan Duque def. Carlo Pedersoli Jr. via unanimous decision (29-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Gokhan Saricam def. Joffie Houlton via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 2:52
Andrew Fisher def. Ashleigh Grimshaw via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Kane Mousah def. Alessandro Botti via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
Asael Adjoudj def. Nathan Jessimer via TKO (elbows) – Round 2, 2:58
Marek Jakimowicz def. Curtis Dodge via TKO (elbows) – Round 1, 4:45