The onetime Strong Style Fight Team representative kept his perfect professional record intact and checked another box on his Bellator MMA resume, as he put away Kaeo Meyer with punches in the first round of their preliminary catchweight clash at Bellator 212 on Friday at the Neil S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu. Claxton (4-0, 4-0 Bellator) sealed the deal 2:56 into Round 1.
Meyer (3-4, 0-1 Bellator) was a step behind. Claxton delivered an inside trip takedown, set up shop in half guard and applied his ground-and-pound. Short elbows were followed by punches and hammerfists with increasing intensity. Soon, Claxton moved to an even more advantageous position and cut loose with his hands until referee Mike Beltran had seen enough.
Meanwhile, Robson Gracie Jr., the 29-year-old younger brother of Renzo Gracie, made a successful professional MMA debut and submitted Bryson Bolohao with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their welterweight pairing. Bolohao (0-1, 0-1 Bellator) conceded defeat 4:00 into Round 1.
Gracie (1-0, 1-0 Bellator) spent the first five minutes probing for openings, as he leaned a steady diet of leg kicks and short left hooks while mixing in a few takedowns and instigating a suffocating clinch. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt executed another takedown midway through the second round, slid to the back and set his hooks. Bolohao resisted his initial advances but eventually succumbed to the choke.
Elsewhere, Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series graduate Toby Misech disposed of Edward Thommes with a flying knee and follow-up punches in the third round of their undercard confrontation at 145 pounds. Thommes (7-3, 0-1 Bellator) met his end 2:25 into Round 3, the defeat snapping his three-fight winning streak.
Misech (10-5, 1-0 Bellator) set the tone with a dominant first round, where he stunned the Gracie Technics rep with several clean left hooks and opened a sizeable gash near his right eye with a short elbow strike from the clinch. Thommes was never the same, and by the time Round 3 arrived, he was teetering on the brink. Misech backed him toward the fence, floored him with a flying knee and mopped up the rest with punches.
The 30-year-old Misech has won five of his last six bouts.
Finally, Ultimate Fighting Championship and World Series of Fighting alum Chris Avila submitted Brandon Pieper with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their undercard scrap at 155 pounds. Pieper (10-11, 0-1 Bellator) bowed out 3:44 into Round 1, his four-fight winning streak at an end.
Avila (6-7, 1-0 Bellator) found a weakness in the Hawaiian’s game and exploited it. The 25-year-old Cesar Gracie protégé dragged Pieper to the canvas, secured his position and went to work on the choke. Avila ultimately settled on the palm-to-palm grip and forced the tapout.
The win snapped a five-fight losing streak for Avila.