Bellator 254 went through a game of musical chairs in the days and hours leading up to the event. At weigh-in on Wednesday, Goiti Yamauchi vs. Nate Andrews was scratched when Yamauchi missed weight for the fight. Replaced by a heavyweight bout between Davion Franklin and Anthony Garrett, that bout in turn was cancelled just hours out from the main card after Garrett was not cleared to compete. Which left middleweights Romero Cotton and Justin Sumter to open up the main card for the final Bellator event of 2020.
Sumter was entering his third fight with the promotion, with the allure of a multi-fight contract driving him. The undefeated Cotton, meanwhile, had spent his entire career to date with Bellator.
Within two minutes, the standout wrestler Cotton had Sumter on his back against the fence. Sumter employed a closed guard while Cotton worked the body and looked to create some space. Sumter displayed some flexible hips, and controlled his opponent’s posture, but couldn’t seem to get out from under him. And he never would. Cotton managed to take the back, and even without hooks in was able to use his power to sink in the rear-naked choke.
Round 1️⃣ win by submission, @RomeroCotton adds a 5️⃣th straight victory to his undefeated pro record.
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) December 11, 2020
Five wins and four finishes in just five professional fights. Cotton remains a prospect to watch after Bellator 254, and may need a step up next.
Official Result: Romero Cotton def. Justin Sumter by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 1, 3:36