After what seemed like years — and in reality it was at least a year — Ronny Markes finally made his promotional debut at Bellator 254 on Thursday. The former UFC and PFL heavyweight was paired up with Linton Vassell, a two-time light heavyweight title challenger in Bellator who had picked up a big win at heavyweight against Sergei Kharitonov in his last outing.
Fights with Josh Barnett and Matt Mitrione having fallen through, Markes was no doubt happy just to have a live body across from him Thursday. However, off his first real takedown attempt, Markes saw the tables turned, with Vassell landing on top. And despite the Brazilian’s black belt status, he was unable to make much of anything happen from the bottom — or get out from under Vassell, who stayed heavy on top while in half guard.
Vassell was able to finish out the round on top, clearly winning the frame. The second round opened with Markes pressing forward, going to the body with a kick and looking for another takedown. And once again, Vassell was able to reverse and get on top. Once again, “The Swarm” wound up in half guard. Elbows followed, while Markes tried to fight the hands to tie Vassell up. Threatening with an arm-triangle choke was only mildly surprising given the success Vassell was having against his jiu-jitsu black belt opponent. And while the choke failed, the British heavyweight was able to move to mount, and drop some heavy punches until Markes could do nothing but cover up. Leaving the ref with nothing to do but wave off the fight.
🐝 Linton Vassell picks up the W in round 2️⃣ at #Bellator254.
The main card rolls on LIVE on @CBSSportsNet in the U.S. and with @Sky Sports Mix in the U.K. now!#Bellator #MMA #USOHolidays pic.twitter.com/JiIfWDaZ9T
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) December 11, 2020
In essence, Linton Vassell beat Markes at his own game at Bellator 254, in his second straight victory at heavyweight.
Official Result: Linton Vassell def. Ronny Markes by TKO, Round 2, 3:37