Fight Facts: Bellator 234

By: Jay Pettry
Nov 18, 2019

Fight Facts is a breakdown of all the interesting information and cage curiosities on every card, with some puns, references and portmanteaus to keep things fun. These deep stat dives delve into the numbers, providing historical context and telling the stories behind those numbers.

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Bellator MMA on Thursday took to Israel with a whopping 20 fights on a tape-delayed card. Bellator 234 featured a father and son both earning quick tapouts, a few unusual submissions and a high percentage of first-round finishes.

IN 2019, REALLY?: The promotion waited over a day to broadcast the event via tape delay. Despite this, Bellator 234 featured two dark matches that did not air on that broadcast.

MICHAEL C. WILLIAMS WAS LOSING HIS VOICE: Much like Bellator 226 in September, 20 bouts took place on this card. It is now tied with Bellator 226 for the most MMA bouts on a Bellator card.

IMPATIENT IN ISRAEL: Nine fights on the card ended in the opening frame, tying three other shows for the third-most stoppages in company history. Bellator 164 (10) and Bellator 214 (11) are the only two events to feature more.

A GRAB BAG OF LIMB GRABBING: Six submissions took place at Bellator 234, and all six were of a different variety: anaconda choke, heel hook, triangle choke, guillotine choke, rear-naked choke and ankle lock. Only one other card that featured as many submissions where none were repeated was Bellator 142, which also had six varying tapouts.

LINTON LEND-LEASED: Linton Vassell finished Sergei Kharitonov with punches in the second round, snapping a lengthy unbeaten streak for the Russian. The eight-fight run in which Kharitonov had not lost was the second-longest of his career. Only his nine-bout win streak to start his career went longer.

STOP SERGEI OR GET STOPPED: After losing by knockout, Kharitonov has still only reached the scorecards in three of his 38 career fights.

A FAR CRY FROM SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: Roger Huerta has dropped five consecutive Bellator bouts dating back to Bellator 17 in 2010, this after losing a decision to Sidney Outlaw. The losing streak is the second-longest in promotional history, and he shares a similar streak with Eric Prindle and Rudy Bears. Josh Burns is the lone Bellator fighter to lose six in a row, never winning in any of his six appearances.

ONE PROUD PAPA: Father and son Haim Gozali and Aviv Gozali both competed on this card, and both won by first-round submission. This is the first event where they both emerged victorious. They appeared together at Bellator 209, but Haim lost.

ROARING OUT OF THE GATE: Aviv has competed four times in the Bellator cage and has already scored four first-round submission victories -- all by a different maneuver -- following his anaconda choke of Zaka Fatullazade. He is now tied for the fourth-most opening-round submission wins in Bellator history, trailing Alexandre Bezerra (five), Darrion Caldwell (five) and Goiti Yamauchi (six).

ANACONDAVIV: Aviv’s anaconda choke was the ninth of its kind in organizational history and the second for a lightweight. Seven of the nine performed have come from fighters scheduled for 155-pound bouts or lighter, with middleweight Mike Shipman responsible for the other two.

HE BROUGHT THE HOOK: Haim finished Artur Pronin with a heel hook and left his gloves in the center of the Bellator cage. The 46-year-old declared the end to his career with a finish rate of 100 percent. Eleven of his 12 victories have come by submission.

SINCE WAY BACK: In his professional debut against Carlos Newton in 1998, Haim lost by submission in the opening frame. When he turned pro, his son and several other fighters on the card were not yet born. The next fighter at Bellator 234 that made his debut was Kharitonov, who did so a full two years later.

HEEL HOOKIN’ HAIM: The heel hook was Haim’s second in the Bellator cage, marking him as the only fighter in organizational history to land more than one of these types of maneuvers.

PREDATOR, PREDATIZED: Pronin has yet to go the distance in his 20-fight career, as “The Predator” tapped to a heel hook from Haim.

MORE WINS THAN PAIGE NOW: Austin Vanderford pushed his undefeated record to 9-0 with a decision over Grachik Bozinyan. He now holds three wins by tapout, three by knockout and another three by judges’ verdict.

TIME FOR A STEP UP IN COMPETITION: After tapping Ameer Bashir with a triangle choke, Robson Gracie is 3-0 with three submission wins early in his career. He has yet to face an opponent who has recorded a single win.

OUT OF TUNE: Gustavo Wurlitzer suffered a first-round knockout at the hands of Vuqar Keramov and earned his 24th career defeat in the process. He owns more losses than the first 14 fighters on the card held in combined fights coming into this event.

ANKLE-BITER: Itay Lipszyc, 19, hit a straight ankle lock on Itzek Yakobov in his pro debut, securing the first submission of its type in company history. Of note, Mark Holata (2012), Matt Secor (2015) and Michael Page (2016) each hit similar Achilles lock submissions throughout Bellator history.

SIXTH TIME’S THE CHARM: It took Noam Voldman six fights to record a win, but he earned the first victory of his career by capturing a split verdict over the debuting Nizim Rosales.

ALL KNOTTED UP: On the untelevised portion of the card, Elias Mamadov and Itay Tratner fought to a rare split draw. Only five other split draws have taken place throughout company history, and none before had come at 145 pounds. It is the second result of its type this year, and no previous year had ever featured multiple split draws.

LIKE SMITH VS. TANK: The card opener featured a pair of debutants, as Tomer Maslis met David Malka. At 92 seconds into the third round, Malka was so tired he could not stand up, and referee Jason Herzog awarded the TKO to Maslis. Only one fighter had ever lost in such fashion later than Malka: Jacob Noe at 2:51 into Round 3 of his encounter with Muhammed Lawal at Bellator 97 in 2013.

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN: Coming into Bellator 234, Bozinyan had never lost on the scorecards (13 fights), Ilya Gladkiy had never been defeated (three fights) and Bozinyan (seven fights) and Olga Rubin (seven fights) had never dropped consecutive bouts.

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