Bellator 244 Results: John Salter Submits Andrew Kapel for Third Straight Win

John Salter and Andrew Kapel Bellator 244
John Salter and Andrew Kapel, Bellator 244 Credit: Bellator MMA

High risk, questionable reward was one way to look at Bellator 244’s middleweight bout between John Salter and Andrew Kapel. For Salter, anyway.

The UFC vet had blossomed into a genuine contender in Bellator’s middleweight division, known for his top-notch grappling skills. After flirting with the title picture in recent years, Salter was on the outside looking in as welterweight champ Douglas Lima and top contender Gegard Mousasi circled the vacant 185lb title. However with the coronavirus pandemic’s travel restrictions, there was a chance for Salter to jump the line.

Stranger things have happened. However Salter would have to get past Andrew Kapel, a little-known fighter who hit the map by upsetting King Mo Lawal in his retirement fight last year. A loss to Kapel, and Salter would be dropped down the divisional rankings. A win, well, Kapel’s name value alone might not be enough to steal that title shot.

It was a compelling fight regardless, and kicked off the Bellator 244 main card. And within the first minute, Salter had the fight to the ground, employing a single leg takedown to do so. Kapel was active on bottom, employing a butterfly guard and quickly escaping back to his feet. One blocked head kick later, and Salter again completed a single leg takedown. In the grappling department, there was little question as to who had the edge. And soon enough, he’d moved to mount. But a scramble, and Kapel turned in, getting on top. Salter defended with a triangle, and moments later, got back on top himself.

BJJ class was in session. Salter would pop off a left hand and a leg kick early in the second, but it was back to the well with another single leg takedown, completed, within the opening minute. From half guard, Salter landed a few body shots, then moved to mount with over three minutes in the round. The cage nowhere in sight, flat on his back, Kapel was in a rough spot. Salter worked for an arm triangle choke.

Kapel, frankly, worked to survive. He made it out of the round, but was downright dominated in the second.

That wasn’t about to change in round three. Salter took the fight down, moved to mount, landed shots to the body, and at least hinted at the arm-triangle choke. In short, Salter did exactly what he needed to do against a lesser-known opponent. With roughly ninety seconds left, Salter finally tightened up the choke and forced the tap.

Enough for a title shot? Time will tell. Likely not, given the other names in wait. But with his third straight win, John Salter is in the running.

Official Result: John Salter def. Andrew Kapel by submission (arm-triangle choke), Round 3, 3:11