It was a stark contrast from their first fight over three years ago as Michael Chandler did not need the judges this time around, knocking out Benson Henderson in the first round.
Heading into his final fight under Bellator contract, Chandler finished Henderson with a straight left at 2:09 in the first round of the main event of Bellator 243. It was a massive statement from Chandler heading into the open market, Henderson has only been stopped once in his career back in 2014 in UFC against Rafael dos Anjos.
In his post-fight interview with John McCarthy, Chandler said: “Every single lightweight on the entire planet, you’re on notice.”
In the co-main event, Tim Johnson picked up his second straight Bellator finish by stopping Matt Mitrione with a first-round TKO.
After an unintentional head-butt from Johnson, which helped take down Mitrione, the veteran heavyweight landed a flurry of punches that forced referee Mike Beltran to call off the fight at the 3:14 mark.
Johnson has now picked up back-to-back wins in fights where he was considered the underdog, while Mitrione is now winless in four straight fights.
In the other fights of the main card, Myles Jury beat Georgi Karakhanyan by split decision and Sabah Homasi defeated Curtis Millender via unanimous decision.
Valerie Loureda continues to impress in Bellator, picking up her third straight win. It’s been over a year since she lasted stepped into the cage, but after a buzzer beater win over Tara Graff in round two, Loureda decided to show off dance moves post fight!
Bellator 243: Chandler vs. Henderson 2 Main Card:
Michael Chandler (21-5) defeated Benson Henderson (28-9) via knockout (punches) at 2:09 of round one
Timothy Johnson (14-6) defeated Matt Mitrione (13-8, 1 NC) via TKO (punches) at 3:14 of round one
Myles Jury (19-5) defeated Georgi Karakhanyan (29-10-1, 1 NC) via split decision (30-27, 27-30, 29-28)
Sabah Homasi (14-8) defeated Curtis Millender (18-6) via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Adam Borics (15-1) defeated Mike Hamel (7-4) via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Cris Lencioni (7-2) defeated AJ Agazarm (3-2) via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
Valerie Loureda (3-0) defeated Tara Graff (1-2) via TKO (punches) at 5:00 of round two
Grant Neal (4-0) defeated Hamza Salim (5-3) via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-24)
Charlie Campbell (2-1) defeated Nainoa Dung (3-2) via TKO (leg kicks) at 1:42 of round two
Dalton Rosta (3-0) defeated Mark Gardner (1-2) via TKO (doctor’s stoppage – cut) at 5:00 of round