Said Sowma got the biggest win of his career at Bellator 269 in Moscow on Saturday.
It just didn’t come quite the way he wanted it.
Sowma (8-2), who entered the fight off a win over UFC alum Ronny Markes, earned a TKO victory against former Bellator heavyweight champ Vitaly Minakov. It was just the second loss of Minakov’s professional career — but came as the result of a dislocated, or possibly broken, finger.
When the ref caught sight of the injury, he waved the affair off. Sowma earned the TKO win as a result.
“The finger, it’s not the way you want to win a fight,” Sowma told Cageside Press following the fight. “I know being unable to fight, it’s considered a win because he couldn’t continue, or didn’t continue. But the marital artist in me wants either a finish, or all the way to the end.”
With back-to-back wins over Markes and now Minakov, Sowma is suddenly a player in the heavyweight division. And to his credit, he fought a smart game plan Saturday, chopping away at the Russian’s lead leg with some nasty calf kicks. He might very well have been on his way to a win regardless, but now there’s a risk the victory will be discredited by fans.
“I know, yeah, no one’s going to be like ‘yeah this kid came in and beat him,'” Sowma said of that notion, acknowledging what can only be called an unfortunate situation. “Personally I believe I did land a lot in the second and third round. I was landing some good shots, he’s got a good jaw, I was like ‘man this guy’s not going down.’ The calf kicks were working, he’s definitely got a bruised leg there. But definitely people will play it down, saying it was a lucky win or something like that.”
Sowma freely admits that “on one hand, it’s a little bit of luck.” But on the opposite side of the coin, the injury may have been a result of his attacks. “I did throw a punch towards his hand, didn’t think it hit his finger though. But his hand, in that direction.”
Either way, Said Sowma is open to running the fight back, perhaps in the U.S., although he noted that Minakov has had some visa troubles. “But I definitely want to do this again so it can be more clear.”
Watch the full Bellator 269 virtual post-fight press conference with Said Sowma above. More coverage from the event can be found below.