Saad Awad had his back to the wall entering Bellator 249. No question there.
Awad, a longtime veteran of the Bellator cage, entered the evening on a four-fight skid, desperately in need of a win. That Awad’s losses had come to some of Bellator’s best and brightest, including a short-notice fight up and weight class (and then some, at a 175lb catchweight) against Paul Daley, gave him just the tiniest amount of breathing room.
A fifth loss, however, would potentially be fatal to Awad’s career aspirations in Bellator MMA.
Paired up with Awad was Mandel Nallo, the Canadian lightweight otherwise known as “Rat Garbage.” Nallo had been an undefeated prospect on the rise up until his previous fight, which saw him suffer the first loss of his career.
Someone was set to bounce back on Thursday. Or so you would think. That’s not at all how things played out, however.
Nallo’s opening kicks seemed to set a tone: “Rat Garbage” landed four before Awad had an answer. When Awad did answer, there wasn’t much behind his own kicks. Nallo would shoot, but Awad proved ready to fight that off; a second grappling exchange halted the action and left Awad face down in pain after a stray knee by Nallo landed low.
Minutes later, Awad was still prone on the canvas, audibly sucking in deep breaths, clearly in all sorts of pain. With time ticking away, Awad managed to ask the referee if he still had a minute to try and regain his composure. Regardless, it wasn’t enough. Still unable to climb up off his knees, there was no chance that Saad Awad was fit to continue. Five minutes having expired, the ref waved off the fight. Awad vs. Nallo ended in a No Contest as a result.
— ShayMyName (@ImShannonTho) October 16, 2020
If Awad is game, this is one that could be rebooked down the line. It’s doubtful that anyone would blame him if he decided to move on from the match-up, however. Bellator, meanwhile, appears cursed when it comes to stoppages from nasty low blows, with Sergei Kharitonov and Peter Stanonik some of the other victims.
Official Result: Saad Awad vs. Mandel Nallo ends in a No Contest (unintentional low blow), Round 1, 1:44