Michael Chandler made quick work of a game Brandon Girtz in Bellator 197’s main event on Friday night, and in doing so, became the record holder for the most wins in the promotion’s history.
The first-round submission victory took the 31-year-old to a record of 18-4 overall, with 15 of those wins coming under the Bellator banner.
Despite rendering his 15-8 opponent unconscious in the first round at the Family Arena in St Louis, Missouri, the former two-time lightweight champion didn’t have everything his own way right from the off.
A late replacement for the injured 155-pound champion Brent Primus, Girtz pushed the pace of the contest from the opening bell, with several power punches threatening to find their mark early.
After an accidental eye poke from “Iron” prompted a brief timeout, Chandler rethought his strategy, soon shooting for a takedown after the restart and slamming his opponent with venom – the impact was later confirmed to have separated the 33-year-old’s shoulder.
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From there, the hometown fighter quickly established a crucifix position before transitioning to secure an arm-triangle choke, with Girtz passing out before he had the opportunity to tap.
Chandler refused to acknowledge Primus following the contest, with a long-touted match-up with Patricio “Pitbull” Freire believed to be in the pipeline instead following a bitter war of words between the duo in recent months.
Elsewhere on the night, AJ McKee earned the nod with a unanimous decision victory over Justin Lawrence in the featherweight co-main event, while Kevin “Baby Slice” Ferguson Jr. made extremely short work of Devon Brock, forcing his previously unbeaten opponent to tap with a rear-naked choke at 34 seconds of the first round.