Written By: Jordan Maskell
Photography By: Randi Lotsberg
Fans were treated to some world class mixed martial arts Friday night as Casino Rama once again hosted the Bellator Fighting Championship.
The main event featured Bellator Lightweight champion Michael Chandler defeating veteran Akihiro Gono by TKO. Chandler kept pressing early in the fight, forcing Gono to back away. With almost a minute into the first round, Chandler landed a big right hand, knocking Gono down, and finishing him with strikes at 56 seconds. At the post fight press conference, Gono announced his retirement from mixed martial arts competition.
Bryan “The Beast” Baker defeated Ben “Killa B” Saunders by unanimous decision in an intense three round bout. The fight went back and forth, with Saunders going for both a kimura and triangle in the first round. Baker was able to escape, and stopped any further submission attempts by Saunders. The second round saw Baker take more control of the fight, pressing Saunders against the cage and landing some powerful shots. Near the end of the round, Baker took Saunders down, gained side control and dished out some ground and pound. The third round was more of the same, with Baker controlling the fight, getting takedowns and even slamming Saunders to the canvas. At the end of three rounds, the judges scored it 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 in favour of Baker who advances to the finals of the Bellator Season Six Welterweight Tournament.
Lightweight champion Michael Chandler handed Akihiro Gono his third consecutive loss in the Bellator 67 main event.
Gono has built a reputation throughout his career as a warrior that rarely puts on an uncompetitive fight. His personality both in and out of the cage enabled him to become one of Japan’s all-time great MMA fighters.
Chandler on the other hand has been running through his opponents and proved again that he is among the world’s best lightweights.
It was at the post-fight press conference that a teary-eyed Gono announced his retirement through his translator. The media in attendance gave “The Japanese Sensation” a standing ovation, remembering the legendary fights that he was so often a part of.
MMA is back in Ontario as the province gets set to host Bellator 67 tomorrow night. The fourth Bellator to take place in Canada, and third to be held at Casino Rama has all the potential for a night of great fights.
The card will feature a non-title super fight between Bellator Lightweight champion Michael Chandler (9-0-0) and PRIDE, UFC, and DREAM veteran Akihiro Gono (32-17-7). Chandler is undefeated in his MMA career, winning the title in his last fight, while Gono has lost his last two fights.