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    MMA Junkie’s ‘Fight of the Month’ for April: A banger in Bellator

    With another action-packed month of MMA in the books, MMA Junkie looks at the best fights from April 2021: Here are the five nominees, listed in chronological order, and winner of MMA Junkie’s “Fight of the Month” award for April.

    At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting on your choice.

    Nominees

    Nominee: Julian Marquez def. Sam Alvey at UFC on ABC 2

    Julian Marquez (9-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) was out to get a finish against Sam Alvey (33-15-1 MMA, 10-10-1 UFC) in their middleweight bout, and he did just that.

    Marquez choked Alvey unconscious with a rear-naked choke in the second round of a wild fight. In one of the combinations, Alvey dropped to the ground and looked for a takedown, but Marquez sprawled and got behind Alvey where he was able to lock up no-hooked choke and put Alvey to sleep.

    Nominee: Paul Daley def. Sabah Homasi at Bellator 257

    After multiple canceled fights and much anticipation, Paul Daley (43-17-2 MMA, 8-4 BMMA) and Sabah Homasi (15-9 MMA, 4-3 BMMA) finally got in the cage together, and it delivered big time.

    Daley staged a rally in the second round to win the fight by TKO. However, that wasn’t before Homasi put him through hell to get there. The first round was absolutely insane, with Homasi nearly finishing the Brit more than once. Daley showed stellar durability, though, and in the second round found a home for his trademark left hand to secure the win in a barnburner.

    Nominee: Robert Whittaker def. Kelvin Gastelum at UFC on ESPN 22

    Robert Whittaker (23-5 MMA, 14-3 UFC) remained unbeaten since losing his UFC middleweight title with a dominant win in a long overdue fight with Kelvin Gastelum (17-7 MMA, 11-7 UFC).

    It was a rather lopsided fight, with Whittaker winning every round on all three judges scorecards. It was still the “Fight of the Night,” though, because Gastelum showed an impressive ability to push through damage and try to make it a fight. Whittaker was a level above, though, and got the nod for the win.

    Nominee: Jeff Molina def. Aori Qileng at UFC 261

    Jeffrey Molina (9-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and Qileng Aori (18-7 MMA, 0-1 UFC) went back and forth for three rounds of frantic flyweight action in front of a full crowd.

    Molina landed more than 200 total strikes in the fight and took home a unanimous decision for his first win in the promotion. He hoped for a bonus, and he got one. That partially came thanks to Aori, though, who showed heart and durability in taking the fight to the final bell.

    Nominee: Emliano Sordi def. Cris Camozzi at 2021 PFL 2

    2019 PFL season champion Emiliano Sordi (23-8) got his 2021 season run off to a good start when he went to war with UFC veteran Chris Camozzi (25-15).

    The light heavyweight bout was action packed from beginning to end. Sordi and Camozzi both took a lot of damage, but Sordi was a step ahead in the race and came out with a hard-fought unanimous decision.

    The winner

    The winner: Daley vs. Homasi

    Daley and Homasi had bad blood heading into Bellator 257, and their fight delivered fireworks as promised.

    Homasi got off to a fiery start, but it was Daley getting the finish as he rallied to TKO Homasi in the second-round of their 175-pound catchweight bout.

    The bout was a barnburner from start to finish, with wild swings in momentum. Homasi came out in Round 1 throwing high kicks and leg kicks before he rushed in with a right hand that clipped Daley’s ear and stunned him. Homasi swarmed in for the finish, but with Daley stumbling back to his feet and backpedaling, Homasi feel to the mat on a head kick attempt. That allowed a brief reset before Homasi landed a flying knee and dropped Daley with a follow-up punch on his landing.

    Homasi fell into Daley’s guard and employed ground-and-pound, but Daley managed to work his way back to his feet and ended the round strong. While in the clinch, Daley landed three knees to the face and dropped Homasi to the mat. The round ended with Daley in top position.

    Given the frenetic pace of the first, Round 2 figured to be a case of who wants it more, and Daley seemed to flip a switch.

    Daley dropped Homasi with a straight right hand just as he caught a body kick. Daley swarmed with hammerfists for the finish but couldn’t seal the deal. After Homasi got back to his feet, they settled in the pocket before Daley dropped Homasi a second time with a hard left hoook. Daley again pounced for the finish, and this time all Homasi could do was turtle up, forcing the referee to step in at the 1:44 mark.

    The finish was Daley’s third consecutive win and second at 175 pounds, as prior to Bellator 257 he made it clear that he has no desire to continue fighting at welterweight. Daley, who hadn’t competed since October 2019, talked about potentially retiring in the lead-up to Bellator 257, but after his victory, he challenged anyone who wishes to meet him at 175, calling himself the “champion” of the “division.”

    This was originally published on www.mmajunkie.com

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