— Jim Edwards (@MMA_Jim) January 22, 2017
On one of the increasingly rare weekends without a UFC card, Bellator MMA came to the rescue with a stacked night of fighting in Bellator 170. Emanating from sunny Los Angeles, California, the card featured the swan song of UFC Hall-of-Famer Tito Ortiz, and the anticipated return of legendary trash talker Chael Sonnen. It also featured an extremely violent win courtesy of British knockout artist Paul Daley.
Daley’s Bellator 170 opponent was “Irish” Brennan Ward – another fighter with a proven propensity for crushing knockout wins. As such, their welterweight collision was arguably the most anticipated bout on the card.
The contest began with Ward securing a pair of takedowns, which gave the impression that we might be in for a gruelling Ward win rather than the striking battle we were all hoping for. Midway through the first round, however, Daley was able to escape a tie-up against the cage, create some space with a beautiful spinning back elbow, and finally, put Ward down with a rocket-fuelled flying knee to the temple. See it at the top of this post!
With this highlight reel knockout win, which was very similar to the one Daley’s fellow British knockout artist Michael “Venom” Page used to shatter Evangelista “Cyborg” Santo’s skull in 2016, Daley extended his overall record to 39-14-2. Having rebounded from a loss to new Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima, Daley once again stands out as the top contenders in Bellator’s welterweight division. Post-fight, he used his status as one of the division’s top dogs as leverage for a callout of former UFC star and recent Bellator signee Rory MacDonald – though we know MacDonald is likely to get an immediate shot at Lima in his Bellator debut.
Having been knocked out by this thunderous Daley Knee, Ward falls to 14-5 overall.
Would you be interested in a Paul Daley vs. Rory MacDonald fight? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/22/2017.