The co-main event of Bellator 246 on Saturday night was a grappling fan’s dream. At the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT, absent any crowd as always during the pandemic, Jon Fitch and Neiman Gracie were set to throw down. For Fitch, the allure of the fight was the Gracie family name. For Neiman Gracie, he said ahead of the bout that he’d always known the pair would cross paths some day.
Fitch went on the attack early on Saturday, using his striking, mixing in a kick or two, then closing the distance with his striking. That allowed the former UFC title challenger to tie Neiman Gracie up along the fence. Trading knees, the pair would battle for position — but when they went to the ground, Gracie attacked a leg, and wound up in guard. The round would play out on the ground, with Fitch having to avoid some creativity from Gracie.
Round two again had Fitch looking to close the distance with his striking. However, he wound up dumped on his back by a Gracie takedown pretty quickly. As Fitch worked up, he had to be careful not to give up his neck. Back on the feet, Gracie was in control, pressing Fitch into the cage. When they went back down, Gracie again attacked a leg. And this time, he secured the knee bar, wrenching on the heel at the same time. Slick, slick submission leaving Fitch with no answer but to tap.
Following the bout, Fitch left his gloves in the cage, signalling his retirement after over forty fights and nearly two decades of competition in mixed martial arts. “I’ve got a lot of things I’m looking forward to in the future outside of the cage,” Fitch said. He added that after his bout with Jake Shields, he told himself before each and every fight that he’d retire if he lost. He stayed true to that Saturday, after losing for the first time in years.
Official Result: Neiman Gracie def. Jon Fitch by submission (heel hook), Round 2, 4:47