Friday’s Bellator 298 co-main event was a do-over of sorts, coming a year after the first meeting between heavyweights Valentin Moldavsky and Steve Mowry.
That first fight was over in the blink of an eye, to excuse the pun — after an accidental eye poke left Mowry unable to continue. That, at least, was not a concern in Sioux Falls on Friday night.
Mowry, as always, had the height advantage in the fight, and opened with a leg kick early. Moldavsky worked his jab, and tried to close the distance, which earned him a knee when Mowry latched on with a Thai clinch. But moments later, Moldavsky landed a takedown, though he could not keep Mowry down.
Moldavsky’s jab continued to look sharp. Another takedown followed. Three in total were landed by Valentin Moldavsky in the opening round; off the third, he pinned one of Mowry’s arms with a knee, and scored ground n’ pound until the bell.
In round two, Moldavsky looked for a level change, but that was fought off by Mowry. A second takedown attempt was successful, but Mowry powered back to his feet. Not for long. Moldavsky would get the fight down again, settling into guard. Mowry eventually found space and used his long legs to push Moldavsky off. But a takedown attempt by “Tall” Steve backfired moments later, with Moldavsky being the one to end up on top.
They’d spend a little too much time there, as the ref would stand them up. That brought a cheer from the crowd, which turned to boos as Mowry attempted another takedown of his own.
More jeers and boos were hurled towards the cage when Moldavsky landed a takedown early in the third. The third round played out much as the second had, with Mowry stuck on bottom, Modavsky heavy on top. There was no question as to the winner in this one — but while Valentin Moldavsky would pick up a one-sided decision win care of his blanketing wrestling, a rematch with the winner of Ryan Bader vs. Linton Vassell appeared to be a hard sell.
Official Result: Valentin Moldavsky def. Steve Mowry by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)