Chandler dismantled Gono in just 56 seconds (Photo courtesy of Bellator).
Lightweight Champion Runs Over Akihiro Gono
Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler (10-0) said that he is on a mission to become the best lightweight in the world, and he made another huge step towards that goal on Friday night at Bellator 67. In a non-title matchup with Japanese fighter Akihiro Gono (32-17-7) at the Casino Rama in Ontario, the Missouri native needed just 56 seconds to get rid of the veteran mixed martial artist.
“It was another spectacular night here at Casino Rama,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said after the night concluded. “The Canadian fans never disappoint, and neither does Michael Chandler. With the Fight of the Year submission victory over Eddie Alvarez and now to put away a veteran such as Akihiro Gono in less than one minute, we’re witnessing something truly special.”
Chandler claimed the Bellator crown after submitting the seemingly unbeatable Eddie Alvarez last November in what turned out to be one of the best fights of 2010, and Friday night marked his return to the Bellator cage. However, it would be a short-lived return.
The reigning Bellator titleholder showed great body movement and pop from the ring of the opening bell, and he quickly closed in on Gono with great precision. His Japanese opposition attempted to establish some distance by throwing a series of kicks, but Chandler did a nice job of reading the advances and stayed clear of danger. About 50 seconds into the frame, he jumped towards his opponent with a lead left hook before stepping out to set up a left-right combo. That follow-up right came with an explosion of power to drop Gono, and Chandler pounced on top of him and started throwing an assault of left and right hands. The punches came with such speed and velocity that Gono could do nothing but cover up, and referee Yves Lavigne was forced to stop the fight.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do, by no means am I complacent,” Chandler stated after the win. “I promise you I’m going to be the best lightweight in the world.”
In other main card action, Bryan Baker advanced to the Bellator Welterweight Tournament Finals by defeating Ben Saunders via unanimous decision. Additionally, Damian Grabowski decisioned Dave Huckaba, and Ryan Ford stopped Luis Santos in the second round due to strikes.