Middleweight standout John Salter announced his retirement Friday night, following a one-sided decision win over Canadian up-and-comer Aaron Jeffery.
Salter (19-6) relied on his wrestling to get the job done, pulling out to an early lead in the opening stanza, though Jeffery would try to battle back, keeping Salter’s back on the fence and landing elbows off the break.
When they went to the ground, however, Salter left the younger man looking like a fish out of water — and in the third, Salter spent a good chunk of time riding Jeffery’s back as the Canadian stayed standing, wearing the veteran like a backpack.
That certainly didn’t look good in the eyes of the judges, at least not for Jeffery. They awarded Salter the unanimous decision victory, with a triplicate of 30-27 scores.
Following the victory, Salter stripped off the gloves in the cage, enduring a chorus of boos for what was viewed as a fight low on action. He urged the crowd to consider how hard Jeffery was to hold down, saying “I know it looked boring,” and adding that Jeffery was the future of the sport.
Jeffery might be the future, but Friday night at Bellator 293 belonged to John Salter. The middleweight improved his record to 19-6, snapping a two-fight skid to go out on a win. Those loses, like all three of his Bellator setbacks, came only to champions. In fact, the only men to beat John Salter in Bellator are Rafael Lovato Jr., Gegard Mousasi, and Johnny Eblen.
All three names would be champions: Mousasi when Salter challenged for the title, and Lovato Jr. and Eblen after Salter faced them.
Ahead of Bellator 293, Salter told Cageside Press that regardless of where a win Friday might leave him, he was hoping to see Costello van Steenis fight Johnny Eblen for the title next. That, perhaps, might have been a sign that retirement was on his mind.
The 38-year old also competed for the UFC, going 1-2 in a three-fight stint in 2010, and Strikeforce. He holds notable wins over Jason MacDonald, Dustin Jacoby, Kendall Grove, and Chidi Njokuani, a current UFC talent.