Former middleweight title challenger Austin Vanderford made his return at Bellator 284, in his first fight back since a loss to Gegard Mousasi earlier this year.
Vanderford, who suffered his first career defeat against then-champ Mousasi, had been expected to face Anthony Adams on Friday. With Adams out, however, it was Canadian Aaron Jeffery stepping up.
Jeffery made his presence felt early. In the opening thirty seconds, Jeffery landed a solid right hand, which sat Vanderford down. The American Top Team fighter would make it back up, however, and use his grappling to tie things up along the fence.
It wouldn’t stay that way for long. En route to the biggest win of his career, Jeffery landed another massive right hand. Once again, Vanderford was sat down, and appeared to be dazed. Jeffery pounced, landing a barrage of follow-up strikes as Vanderford rolled and covered up.
🤯 𝑴𝑨𝑱𝑶𝑹 𝑺𝑯𝑶𝑪𝑲𝑬𝑹
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) August 13, 2022
In short order, the ref called it, Jeffery had the win — and had truly arrived in Bellator’s middleweight division.
“People know who he is, nobody knows who I am. Hopefully they do now,” Jeffery said following the fight. After coming up short on the Contender Series, Jeffery appears to have a home in Bellator, and potentially a ranking early next week.
Official Result: Aaron Jeffery def. Austin Vanderford by TKO, Round 1, 1:25