Former featherweight champion Daniel Straus returned to the Bellator cage with an explosive finish.
Justin Wilcox, a former Strikeforce lightweight who went to the Bellator 145-pound tournament final in 2013, lasted only 50 seconds against Straus in the main event of Friday night’s Bellator 127 in Temecula, Calif.
With 19 wins over his past 21 bouts, Straus connected a left hand to drop Wilcox early in the fight. One more left hand and it was over, with Straus earning his first knockout victory with Bellator.
"I knew he was going to come in real heavy, maybe try to grapple with me," Straus said after his 50-second victory. "I put that left hand on him, put him to bed. It's over."
Back to the win column, Straus asked for a rematch against recently crowned featherweight champion Patricio "Pitbull" Freire.
"I'm going to get that belt, that's exactly what I'm going to do," he said. "Let's dance."
In the co-main event, Fernando Gonzalez made quick work of MMA veteran Karo Parisyan. Coming off a decision win over Karl Amoussou, the former Strikeforce and WEC fighter knocked Parisyan down with a left hook. A few more punches forced the referee to stop the bout at the 1:43 mark.
Rafael Silva, who came in overweight for a bantamweight bout against Rob Emerson, did enough to win a clear decision at Bellator 127. After an early knockdown, the Brazilian controlled the match with takedowns, but couldn’t do much with it. After three rounds, "Morcego" moved to 22-4 in MMA with a unanimous decision victory.
In the main card’s opening bout, Kendall Grove scored his first finish under the Bellator banner. Facing former light heavyweight champion Christian M’Pumbu in a 185-pound bout, Grove started strong, knocking M’Pumbu down five seconds into the match. The finish, however, only came at the 4:14 mark of the second round, when he took M’Pumbu down and forced him to tap with a rear-naked choke.
"I want the belt," Grove said after his submission victory.
In the preliminary portion of the card, UFC and PRIDE veteran Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou improved to 2-0 under the Bellator banner with a second-round TKO victory over Malik Merad.