Bellator 251 Results: Austin Vanderford Maintains Perfect Record with Decision Win Over Vinicius De Jesus

Austin Vanderford and Vinicius de Jesus, Bellator 251
Austin Vanderford and Vinicius de Jesus, Bellator 251 weigh-in Credit: Bellator MMA

Austin Vanderford didn’t get the fight he was expecting on Thursday. Originally, Vanderford, an undefeated 9-0 to start the night, had expected to be paired up with Chris Curtis, a Contender Series and PFL veteran. But one positive COVID-19 test later, and it was Vinicius De Jesus stepping in on short notice.

An early shot by Vanderford was stuffed, and Vinicius De Jesus answered by landing a couple of strikes upstairs. In their next engagement, the pair wound up on the ground with De Jesus working on an ankle lock, which Vanderford would escape. As the pair settled in, however, Vanderford found his groove, and by the end of the opening frame, he had De Jesus on his back against the fence. That allowed Vanderford to work the head and boy.

De Jesus started off the second round with a spinning kick. But Vanderford closed the distance with an overhand, changed levels, and landed a takedown. With that, De Jesus was right back to the same spot he was in at the end of the first. De Jesus tried to tie Vanderford up, but he was unable to escape or make much of anything happen off his back. Vanderford’s top pressure, meanwhile, was solid. Late in the round, Vanderford passed guard and locked on with an arm triangle choke. His opponent was saved by the bell, preventing what was looking like a sure finish.

Round three again saw Vanderford get the fight down early. This time, he worked from half-guard, attacking with elbows. A bloodied De Jesus was going nowhere, fast, trapped on his back while Vanderford stayed heavy on top. He’d stay there to the final bell, earning a clear-cut unanimous decision when all was said and done.

Official Result: Austin Vanderford def. Vinicius De Jesus by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)