In their first meeting at Bellator 209 in November 2018, Patricio Pitbull and Emmanuel Sanchez battled it out for five tough rounds before Pitbull scored a decision win. Rematching in the main event of Bellator 255 on Friday night, it was again Pitbull scoring the victory but this time it took the featherweight champion less than one round to score the victory, retaining his title and advancing to the finals of the Featherweight World Grand Prix tournament.
The fight started slowly, with Pitbull patiently waiting for openings and Sanchez trying to use his length to pick and choose spots to engage. Despite the slow open, Pitbull showed that it only takes one of his punches to change the course of a fight when a left hook rocked Sanchez.
Pitbull jumped on Sanchez after the punch landed, locking in a guillotine choke and pulling guard. Almost immediately, Pitbull began telling the referee that Sanchez was unconscious and moments later the referee caught on that the fight was stopped as Sanchez slumped to the canvas at the 3:35 mark of Round 1.
"He's a great fight, but I was looking for the right moment and I knew it was coming true," Pitbull said after his win. "I connected with my best punch. ... It's like a normal movement for me, it's like my veins, you know. I saw his neck and that's it."
Pitbull, who holds not only the featherweight title, but also the Bellator lightweight belt, now advances to the finals of the Grand Prix, where he will face rising star AJ McKee.
McKee and Pitbull came face-to-face after the fight, engaging in a lengthy session of trash talk while staring each other down. The clash between the two may be the most anticipated fight of the year in the Bellator cage.
Can't get enough boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the world of combat sports from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news.
Elsewhere on the card, Jason Jackson picked up a massive victory over Neiman Gracie in the co-main event. Jackson, who who suffered an eye scrape on the cage and an eye poke, took control of the fight with his standup striking and did well to keep Gracie at bay during grappling exchanges. He's likely closing in on a title shot against Douglas Lima if it's not the next fight for both men. Plus, Usman Nurmagomedov made a tremendous debut in outpointing Mike Hamel in a featured bout.
CBS Sports was with you throughout the evening for the latest updates, highlights and results from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut with our live blog below. Stay tuned for updates all night long.
Bellator 255 card, results
- Patricio Pitbull (c) def. Emmanuel Sanchez via first-round submission (guillotine choke)
- Jason Jackson def. Neiman Gracie via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Tyrell Fortune def. Jack May via first-round TKO (strikes)
- Usman Nurmagomedov def. Mike Hamel via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Kana Watanabe def. Alejandra Lara via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Magomed Magomedov def. Cee Jay Hamilton via second-round submission (rear naked choke)
- Mandel Nallo def. Ricardo Seixas via first-round knockout (punch)
- Khalid Murtazaliev def. Fabio Aguiar via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Chris Gonzalez def. Roger Huerta via third-round submission (tap to strikes)
- Jose Augusto def. Jonathan Wilson via first-round submission (head and arm choke)
- Roman Faraldo def.Trevor Gudde via first-round TKO (punches)
- Jordan Newman def. Branko Busick via second-round TKO (elbows)