Michael Chandler is still next in line for a shot at Brent Primus’ lightweight title.
In the main event of Bellator 197 in St. Charles, Miss., Chandler was supposed to rematch Primus for the belt he lost due to injury at Bellator NYC. It was not to be though as Primus was forced to withdraw from the bout due to injury and longtime Bellator veteran Brandon Girtz. stepped up on a month’s notice to take the fight. Unfortunately for Girtz, Chandler looked like a man on a mission on Friday night, bullying his way into a takedown that separated Girtz shoulder before locking on an arm-triangle choke that put the durable veteran to sleep four minutes into the first round. The win was Chandler’s 15th in the Bellator cage, setting the record for most wins in the organization and a rematch with Primus seems to be next.
In the co-main event of the evening, undefeated prospect A.J. McKee Jr. continued his march through the featherweight division, outpointing The Ultimate Fighter Season 15 alum Justin Lawrence. In a fight that was mostly contested on the feet. McKee’s superior striking, particularly his kicking game, proved too much for Lawrence to overcome. Afterward the bout, McKee called for a fight with red-hot prospect James Gallagher, saying that Gallagher isn’t Conor McGregor and that he would expose “The Strabanimal.”
Elsewhere on the card, four-time NCAA All-American Logan Storley kept his MMA career rolling, dominating Joaquin Buckley for a unanimous decision win. The former Minnesota Golden Gopher put his wrestling pedigree to work, grinding Buckley down to great effect, though the fans were less than pleased. The win moves Storley up to 8-0 in his young MMA career and it might be time for the blue chip prospect to take a step up in competition.
In the opening bout of the night, Kevin Ferguson Jr. had his best performance yet, club-and-subbing Devon Brock in just 34 seconds. Slice landed a big right hand behind the ear stunned Brock, following him to the floor and taking mount before sneaking to the back and locking in the fight ending rear-naked choke. After the win, “Baby Slice” said he was hoping Bellator would head to Miami so he could fight in the same city that made his father, Kimbo Slice, famous.