Bellator 186 took place Friday at Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, PA — where Ohio University alum Tywan Claxton invaded in his professional MMA debut.
Claxton, an NCAA standout and Division II All-American at King University in Tennessee went undefeated as an amateur, and was looking to make a splash at Bellator 186 in his coming out party. Opposite Claxton in the cage was Jonny Bonilla-Bowman, 1-0 as a pro, but absent from Bellator since his debut in September 2014. With Claxton’s quick wit and propensity for promotion (he’s repeatedly called out fellow prospect Aron Pico, calling him the “Sage Northcutt of Bellator”), he looked to be a star in the making. Could he come up with the victory in his debut?
Claxton showed some solid movement early, keeping his hands loose and flashing level changes. He’d strike first, while Bowman showed some slick movement of his own and let rip with a dangerous uppercut. It hit air, and Claxton would come back moments later with a leg kick that nearly upended Bowman.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Tywan Claxton launched a flying knee, grasping the back of Bowman’s head as he connected flush, sending Bowman sailing backwards. Bowman crashed to the canvas, and Claxton had his first pro win. What a debut!
Tywan Claxton def. Jonny Bowman by knockout (flying knee), Round 1, 1:29