Heavyweights threw down in the Bellator 271 co-main event, looking to inch closer to the title picture.
Earlier Friday, Bellator President Scott Coker had seemingly ruled out a title fight for the legendary Fedor Emelianenko. That would leave champ Ryan Bader vs. interim champ Valentin Moldavsky as the obvious fight to make, to unify the title.
The winner of Vassell vs. Fortune could very well be next in line.
It was Linton Vassell holding center early, at least until Fortune fired a left hook full-force, missing but landing a right that trailed it. Vassell would then look for a takedown on the wrestler, getting on top and trapping one of Fortune’s wrists. With half a round remaining, Vassell began landing some big punches, but seemed to switch between ground n’ pound and a potential choke. Vassell would move to mount, take the back, and began landing more heavy punches as Fortune covered up.
The ref took a good look, and Fortune tried to lurch to his feet. Instead, he was dragged down with Vassell on his back — but Fortune was at least out of immediate danger from the ground n’ pound. He’d have about 45 seconds to fight off a rear-naked choke, and survive the round.
This looks familiar 👀
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) November 13, 2021
Round one did not go according to plan for Tyrell Fortune, who most had expected to have the edge in the wrestling department. Perhaps with that in mind, Fortune went right after Vassell on the feet in round two. He unloaded as Vassell covered up, then got the fight down — only for Vassell to reverse. Fortune escaped out, but the fight was halted a moment later due to a low knee on Vassell.
Once they got back underway, they’d settle in, Fortune appeared to have an edge before Vassell again got the fight down later in the round. He’d hunt for submissions again, then drop ground n’ pound, potentially stealing the round.
Fortune again took the fight to Vassell to kick off the third, backing the British fighter up to the fence, and firing knees in the clinch. Vassell weathered the storm, but ate another knee to the head before a low blow, this time by Fortune, connected. No question on that knee, and Vassell was down in a heap. He’d need a good amount of recovery time, and ref Mike Beltran would instruct the pair to keep it clean.
On the restart, Fortune unleashed another combo, looking for the finish. But it was a right hand after the volley that backed Vassell up. Fortune then went hunting for a takedown, landing it in explosive fashion a moment later. Vassell however reversed, got on top, and Fortune gave up the back. Vasssell went looking for a rear-naked choke, Fortune reversed, but Vassell got out and took the back again, landing a nasty elbow and finishing the fight in a dominant position.
After a hard-fought three rounds, Linton Vassell took the split decision win, securing his third straight victory in Bellator’s heavyweight division.
Official Result: Linton Vassell def. Tyrell Fortune by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)