Following his first professional loss, Tywan Claxton bounced back with a determined, game performance at Bellator 235.
Braydon Akeo was making his debut at home at Bellator 235. The Hawaiian native was an undefeated 3-0 entering the night, in a similar position to where opponent Tywan Claxton had been not too long ago. Claxton, however, a stand-out wrestler who won five straight before picking up his first loss in the featherweight grand prix earlier this year, had a clear edge in quality of competition. Which was going to make for an interesting fight in Honolulu Friday night.
Akeo had notably spent time training with Max Holloway, and managed to shake off Claxton when he closed the distance early. Claxton would find success with his leg kick, however. That allowed him to disguise his attacks a little, going upstairs with a kick a short while later. After initiating a number of attacks, Claxton tried a little gamesmanship, waving Akeo on with his hands, only for Akeo to fire off a jab immediately. It was Tywan Claxton closing the distance, however, and while he couldn’t land the takedown, he did connect with an elbow off the break.
Round two had Akeo catching a leg early, but he wasn’t able to convert the takedown. He would fire a knee to the body, only for Claxton to reverse, pepper him with strikes, then look for a takedown. Braydon was finding some success in the round, but he was allowing Claxton to lead the dance, and a failed takedown attempt saw him eating a hard blow to the head. Claxton would push him up against the cage late in the round, firing off some elbows.
Akeo went for a takedown early in the third and nearly had it. Incredibly, Claxton managed to stay standing, in what might be one of the best examples of takedown defense in ages. Impressive balance, using his leg to counter Akeo’s shifting weight, fighting hands — Claxton was able to fight off his opponent, in what could have been a fight-altering moment. Instead it was Claxton scoring a double-leg takedown by the fence with two minutes left in the frame. He immediately opened up with some ground n’ pound. While Akeo made it back up, Claxton would land a pair of knees before putting him on his back again. Claxton would attempt a late rear-naked choke, but Akeo would survive the round. A small battle won, but it was Tywan Claxton who won the war.
Official Result: Tywan Claxton def. Braydon Akeo by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)