John Salter (17-4) continued his ascent back up the 185-pound ladder after losing to reigning champ Rafael Lovato Jr. as he toppled The Netherlands’ Costello van Steenis over three arduous rounds. Salter used his wrestling prowess to take “The Spaniard” down repeatedly and dominated the first two frames, but things got hairy in the third.
Van Steenis (12-2) came out of his corner aggressively in the final frame with kicks and knees, as well as heavy punches. Van Steenis rocked Salter with a few of his strikes and opened up a cut above the American’s right eye. With his gas tank depleting and in the midst of having the tides turned against him, Salter scored a desperate takedown with a minute left and rode out the clock. Even with van Steenis’ late surge, Salter had put enough in the bank to earn a unanimous decision with scores of 29-28 across the board, capping off a solid Bellator 233 event on DAZN.
Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal's retirement is destined for tragedy, as Andrew Kapel (15-6) slays the former RIZIN GP and Strikeforce champ on one leg! It's a stunning Bellator debut for the Elevation rep, now on a five-fight tear. He has stopped 14, 13 in round one. #Bellator233 pic.twitter.com/QOjXjLVDSP— Kyle Johnson (@VonPreux) November 9, 2019
’King Mo’ Knocked Out in Final Bout
It was supposed to be a glorious swan song for Muhammed Lawal, but it didn’t end the way he wanted.
Andrew Kapel sent “King Mo” into retirment by knocking the longtime veteran out cold in the opening frame. After Lawal (21-10, 1 NC) absorbed a front kick to the grill and a few scattered punches, the decorated wrestler tried getting inside with punches. However, when the former Strikeforce champion ducked down, he walked directly into a right-handed missile that exploded on his chin. Lawal spun around and fell flat on his back, which prompted Kapel (15-6) to finish him off with follow-up punches, ending the catchweight battle in just 82 seconds.
Blencowe Dominates ‘Peacemaker’
Arlene Blencowe looked fabulous in turning away Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Leslie Smith after three hard-fought rounds.
The Aussie avoided takedowns throughout the bout and outstruck “Peacemaker” nearly every time they traded blows. While Smith (11-8-1) landed plenty of stinging punches in her own right, it was Blencowe (13-7) that landed the harder, more telling blows. In the end, all three judges saw it the same: 30-27 for “Angerfist.”
Blue-chip heavyweight Tyrell Fortune (8-0) earns his 4th straight stoppage, displaying striking improvements on Azunna Anyanwu and overwhelming the three-time CFFC champ in round two! The former D-II wrestling king has stopped six, five by strikes, and four in round two. #Bellator233 pic.twitter.com/lZDBQvR5vp— Kyle Johnson (@VonPreux) November 9, 2019
Fortune Stays Unblemished
In the opening bout of the main card, heavyweight prospect Tyrell Fortune remained perfect as a pro as he vanquished Africa’s Azunna Anyanwu in the second stanza.
After an uneventful opening frame, Fortune (8-0) cracked his opponent with a straight right to the face. Anyanwu (15-6) stumbled backward and from there, Fortune unloaded punches to the head, followed his foe to the ground and finished him with a barrage of fists. The end came officially at 1:56 of the Round 2.
Stoppages Highlight Preliminary Card
Christian Edwards blasted Cesar Bennett with a head kick in just 16 seconds; Amanda Bell took out Janay Harding with mounted punches at 4:44 of the third; Romero Cotton scored a win when Jason Perrotta verbally submitted to a knee injury at 2:16 of the first; Logan Storley won via TKO at the end of the first when E.J. Brooks bowed out due to an arm injury.
In other prelim action, Kyle Crutchmer bested Robert Gidron via unanimous decision; Julius Anglickas did the same in beating Jordan Young; Grant Neal also unanimously toppled Jimmy Lugo; Tyree Fortune eked past Chuck Campbell via split nod.