Bellator 204 results: Darrion Caldwell stops Noad Lahat in featherweight debut, calls out Patricio Freire

Bellator’s featherweight division has a new contender.

On Friday night at Bellator 204 in Sioux Falls, S.D., bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell made his 1450pound debut in style, stopping Noad Lahat with strikes in the second round. The former NCAA Division I national champion controlled the fight from the outset with his wrestling, taking Lahat down at will and stifling any submission attempts from the bottom. The second round saw more of the same until Lahat turned his back while trying to escape, giving Caldwell the opening to rain right hands in until Lahat went down and the referee was forced to intervene. After the bout, Caldwell called out Patricio Freire for a shot at the featherweight belt.

It was a good night for former NCAA All-Americans as Logan Storley put on a show for his home state crowd, dominating A.J. Matthews en route to a second-round TKO stoppage in the co-main event of the evening. The four-time All-American wrestler outclassed Matthews from the opening bell, taking the fight to the ground and coming close to getting a stoppage in the first round before accidentally landing an illegal knee to the head of Matthews while in side control. After a brief break in the action, Matthews was able to make it out of the round but the second was more of the same, with Storley controlling the grappling and landing vicious elbows that eventually caused referee Jason Herzog to stop the fight 3:56 seconds into the round. The win moves Storley to 9-0 professionally and 4-0 inside Bellator.

In the feature bantamweight bout of the evening, Ricky Bandejas was able to silence the brash James Gallagher, if only for a night, knocking out the young Irishman in the very first round. Bandejas stunned Gallagher with a straight right hand and then landed a stepping sidekick to the face that signaled the beginning of the end for Gallagher. “The Strabanimal” tried to stay in the fight but follow up punches from Bandejas put Gallagher out cold just 2:49 into the first round. The win moved Bandejas up to 11-1 and is sure to catapult him into the upper echelon of the 135 pound division.

In the main card opener, Tywan Claxton and Cris Lencioni got to settle their bad blood but it was the former NCAA Division II All-American who got the better of the fight, winning a unanimous decision. Lencioni, who came in 2.4 pounds over the featherweight limit, was unable to use his vaunted grappling game to get anything going off of his back and succumbed to the superior wrestling skills of Claxton. The win moves Claxton to 3-0 in his professional career and marks the wrestling standout as a prospect to watch.

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