Ex-wrestlers make short work of rivals at Bellator 199

Three former amateur wrestlers left the cage victorious before the end of the first round of their bouts at Bellator 199 mixed martial arts event at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. Saturday night.

The evening opened with Deron Winn scoring a TKO at 2:32 of the first round ... and ended with Arizona State mat alum Ryan Bader knocking out former Oklahoma State All-American Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal in the first 15 seconds of their top-of-the-card fight, while Aaron Pico, the high school mat phenom who took a pass on a collegiate career to enter MMA, also won with a TKO at a bit more than a minute in his match.

The fight of a fourth former wrestler -- Purdue grad Jon Fitch -- went the distance, with the one-time Boilermaker winning a decision at the end of three rounds.

Two mat veterans left SAP Center on the losing end. In addition to Lawal, Carrington Banks suffered his first loss of his pro MMA career, having been submitted in the third round.

King Mo: Gone in 15 seconds

"Ryan Bader wasted zero time Saturday at Bellator 199."

Ryan Bader (Photo/Bellator)
That's how opened its write-up of the main event in San Jose this weekend.

"The reigning Bellator MMA light heavyweight champion punched his ticket to the second round of the ongoing Grand Prix by knocking out Muhammed Lawal in 15 seconds," continued. "A left hook in the first real exchange dropped 'King Mo,' and Bader followed his dazed foe to the ground, where he continued to deliver punishment until referee Mike Beltran stepped in to stop the proceedings."

"It was Bader's instant thriller against 'King Mo' that shut down the night in emphatic fashion, with Lawal (21-7 career record) failing to deliver even a single shot despite his reputation for fighting anytime, anywhere and any weight," according to

Bader's quick disposal of Lawal ranks as the seventh-shortest fight in Bellator history. The three-time Pac 10 champ as a Sun Devil wrestler -- with an MMA career record of 24-5 -- is now set to take on Matt Matrione in the Grand Prix semifinals after his third straight win since joining Bellator MMA.

Aaron Pico did it in a minute (or so)

Aaron Pico -- the now-21-year-old former high school wrestling phenom (a national champ in folkstyle, freestyle, and Greco-Roman) who chose a pro MMA career instead of college -- notched yet another first-round win at Bellator 199, getting a TKO at one minute, ten seconds vs. MMA veteran Lee Morrison in their 145-pound bout.

"Aaron Pico continued to justify the hype around him, as the man who is arguably MMA's most exciting prospect under age 25 stopped his second straight foe with a body shot," reported. "Pico threw a left hook to the body that had Lee Morrison tumbling backwards, head over heels. After the rising featherweight star from American Kickboxing Academy chased Morrison to the mat with additional punches, referee Blake Grice jumped to Morrison's rescue at 1:10 of the first round. Pico, after an upset loss in his mixed martial arts debut, has now reeled off three straight wins via first-round stoppage."

"Freakishly aggressive and quick with his fists" (to quote, Pico improved to 3-1, while Morrison drops to 19-9.

Deron Winn notches another first-round win

In the very first fight of the evening at Bellator 199, Deron Winn got things started off right for former wrestlers ... with his fourth straight, first-round knockout in his pro MMA career.

Winn, a two-time NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) champ for St. Louis Community College, Meramec who was making his heavyweight debut in Bellator, got a TKO at approximately two-and-a-half minutes into the first round. The 28-year-old Winn prevailed over Ahmed White, who was making his first pro MMA bout. Winn is now 4-0 in his professional MMA career, while White is now 0-1.

40-year-old Jon Fitch goes the distance

Jon Fitch -- who was introduced to MMA by his Purdue wrestling coach (and MMA veteran) Tom "The Big Cat" Erikson -- went the distance to earn a unanimous decision over Paul Daley in a three-round welterweight (170 pound) bout.

"The fight put Fitch's grinding mentality on display, with the 40-year-old pinning Daley to the cage in all three rounds and pounding away with hits from the top position," according to

Fitch earned his fifth straight victory and first win at Bellator to build an overall MMA career record of 31-7.

Rough night for Mo, Banks

Mo Lawal wasn't the only former collegiate wrestler to have a tough night at Bellator 199 Saturday. Carrington Banks, 29, an NJCAA mat champ for Iowa Central, suffered the first loss of his pro MMA career at the hands of Adam Piccolotti, who submitted Banks using a near-naked choke just before the end of the bout -- 4:41, to be exact, of Round 3. With the loss, the 155-pound Banks falls to 7-1, while Piccolotti improves to 10-2.


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