The clock was ticking at Bellator 243 on Oct. 7, 2020, in Uncasville, Connecticut. Everyone knew that “Iron” Michael Chandler was down to the last fight of his Bellator MMA contract. Coincidentally, that deal would close with a long anticipated rematch. His first meeting with “Smooth” Benson Henderson in 2016 gave him a split decision win, but neither man was satisfied with the result.
Only a second fight could settle the score …
Henderson arguably had more to lose than Chandler going in. He owned a four-fight win streak and was seemingly as close to title contention as he had been since first arriving in Bellator. Chandler, on the other hand, seemed assured of a bidding war for his services win or lose. Winning doesn’t hurt, though, when you’re selling the value of your services to a new promotion, especially if you can win dramatically and emphatically
That’s exactly what “Iron” Mike did on fight night. His left hand found the target and dropped Henderson to his knees, and as referee Dan Miragliotta rushed in to stop the action a few more rights to the grounded man ensured that he wasn’t getting back up.
It only took Chandler 2:09 to get the job done:
Bellator MMA would contractually have the option to match any offer from UFC or anybody else, but that performance ensured that UFC would bid higher for his services than all other parties. He’d soon be enjoying “Fight Island” after making weight as a backup for UFC 254. Though he wasn’t needed on the night, he’d soon be making a return trip to Abu Dhabi, where he’s scheduled to face Dan Hooker in his promotional debut at UFC 257.
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