Goiti Yamauchi proved he is more than a grappler after earning a first-round TKO win against Chris Gonzalez at Bellator 263 on Saturday, July 31.
Bellator’s all-time leader in submissions with eight, Yamauchi rocked Gonzalez with a right cross. Yamaauchi swarmed the unbeaten lightweight until referee Mike Beltran stepped in.
“I was training a lot of grappling for this camp, but I was kind of happy all of the fight developed in the striking because people don’t believe me, but I prefer to strike than grapple,” Yamauchi said to MyMMANews in the post-fight press conference. “I want to show how good I am in striking, so it was good, it was a good night.”
With this victory, @GoitiOfficial is tied at 7th for most wins in Bellator MMA, with 12.
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) August 1, 2021
Yamauchi showcased his standup from the opening bell. Gonzalez, a decorated wrestler, seemed content to stand as well.
The two fought on their feet for the entire fight until Yamauchi landed the finishing blow. Yamauchi re-enters the win column after a controversial split decision loss to Dan Moret at Bellator 256 last April.
The win marked Yamauchi’s first of two career TKO victories. The Japanese fighter put away Saul Almeida by first-round TKO back at Bellator 109 in November 2013.
The 28-year-old is 4-1 in his last five fights, currently ranked fifth in Bellator’s lightweight division. He is the first to defeat Gonzalez.
“He [Chris] brought my best version because I could see he offered a lot danger in the fight,” Yamauchi said. “I think I will be one or two, maybe three positions in the rankings. It was a good victory.”
Connor Northrup once covered municipal meetings and promised himself never again. He is now combining his passion for Mixed Martial Arts and reporting all into one.