Emmanuel Sanchez advanced to the second round of the featherweight grand prix at Bellator 226 in San Jose, CA with an impressive submission of Tywan Claxton.
The opening fight of the Bellator featherweight grand prix was a battle of experience versus youth. On the experience side at Bellator 226, Emmanuel Sanchez, a.k.a. El Matador, a former Bellator featherweight title challenger. On the side of youth, Tywan Claxton, an undefeated prospect who entered the night 5-0.
Claxton managed to get Sanchez down early in the opening round, and before long, Sancehz was bloodied and struggling to make it to his feet. Back up, Sanchez was firing, as he needed to. A right hand landed but once again, Claxton shot for the takedown, driving hard and landing it. Claxton worked from inside his opponent’s high guard. Sanchez went looking for an arm, and while he couldn’t hold onto it, that created some space for him to get his back to the fence.
However, Sanchez turned the tables at the end of the round, scoring a takedown of his own, moving to mount, and landing ground and pound as Claxton covered up. Call it a near finish, as it looked bad, but he was saved by the bell.
Cageside Press scored the round 10-9 for Claxton
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) September 8, 2019
Perhaps to prove that he wasn’t out of it after a rough end to the first, Claxton launched a flying knee early. He then shot for a takedown, but Sanchez stuffed it, and began applying pressure. Sanchez had the prospect pinned against the fence, but Claxton cinched a body lock, reversed, and landed the takedown — only to find himself in an inverted triangle with an arm trapped. Claxton survived, but moments later was in a traditional triangle. Claxton was stuck and was soon eating elbows and punches. He held on as long as he could, but before long, Sanchez had depleted his air, worn him down, and handed ‘Air’ Claxton his first career defeat!
Official Result: Emmanuel Sanchez def. Tywan Claxton by submission (triangle), Round 2, 4:11