Sharing a card with son Aviv once again, Haim Gozali locked in a submission win in what was expected to be his retirement fight at Bellator 234.
‘The Israeli Batman’ Haim Gozali entered what was reportedly his final fight at Bellator 234. Fighting in his native Israel, Gozali, a pro since the late 90s, was taking on Artur Pronin immediately before his son Aviv took to the cage in the very next fight.
Gozali walked to the cage with a live singer and a massive entourage, quite a memorable scene for a retirement bout. Gozali began his career in 1998, he would finish it at home Thursday.
Pronin, the much younger fighter, was far more agile, light on his feet, even throwing a spinning wheel kick early. Soon enough they went to the ground, however. Gozali, originally on bottom, reversed, but then wound up on his back again. That opened up triangle and arm-bar possibilities. A heel hook attempt followed, but Pronin escaped, pinning an arm with his leg briefly. Pronin finally, wisely decided enough was enough, disengaging and forcing the fight back up.
That didn’t last long, however. Gozali, while slow on the feet, was able to get the fight back down. Pulling guard, he’d look for another submission. It wasn’t there; they’d head back up, with Pronin slamming him down a moment later. That put the fight in Gozali’s wheelhouse, however. An arm-bar failed, but a heel hook a moment later had Pronin quickly tapping, giving Haim Gozali the win in his final MMA fight.
Gozali stripped off the gloves following the victory, confirming he was calling it a career. “That’s it, guys,” he said post fight, laying down a Batman cowl as well. “It’s the best feeling in the world to fight in Israel,” he added, thanking everybody in attendance.
Official Result: Haim Gozali def. Artur Pronin by submission (heel hook), Round 1, 4:12