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Fortune, Storley, Cotton, Crutchmer win at Bellator 233

Logan Storley kicks E.J. Brooks (Photo/Bellator)

Five former college wrestlers entered the cage at Bellator 233 at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. Friday night ... and four exited with wins.

The winning former mat stars included Tyrell Fortune, Logan Storley, Romero Cotton, and Kyle Crutchmer ... while Muhammed Lawal was knocked out in the opening round of what had been advertised as his "retirement match."

King Mo 'retired' by KO in Round 1

"There was no fairy tale ending for Muhammed Lawal as he was KO'd in just 82 seconds by Andrew Kapel in what was being billed as his retirement fight," is how MMAfighting.com opened its coverage of the 195-pound catchweight co-main event at Bellator 233. "'King Mo' had actually retired earlier this year following three straight losses, but announced that he was coming back for one more fight in the hopes of going out on a high note. It wasn't to be."

Lawal, one of two former Oklahoma State wrestlers fighting at Bellator 233, had his bout covered by the assistant sports editor of the Daily O'Collegian, the student newspaper at King Mo's college alma mater.

"Instead of seeing his hand raised one last time, Lawal had to watch his opponent, Andrew Kapel, get the satisfaction of a knockout," wrote Sam Lane of the O'Colly.

"Lawal is known as a knockout expert, but had his career ended the way it was made."

Lawal completes his eleven-year pro MMA career with an overall record of 21-10, 1 NC) ... while Kapel improves to 15-6.

Good fortune continues to smile on Tyrell Fortune

Tyrell Fortune, a two-time national junior college wrestling champ at Oregon's Clackamas Community College then NCAA Division II titlewinner at Arizona's now-defunct Grand Canyon University mat program, maintained his perfect MMA record with a second-round knockout of Azunna Anyanwu in a heavyweight (265 pounds) opening bout for the main card.

"After an uneventful opening frame, Fortune cracked his opponent with a straight right to the face," according to Sherdotg.com. "Anyanwu stumbled backward and from there, Fortune unloaded punches to the head, followed his foe to the ground and finished him with a barrage of fists. The end came officially at 1:56 of the Round 2."

Fortune is now 8-0 in his five-year pro MMA career ... while Anyanwu falls to 15-6.

Storley signs new contract, remains perfect thanks to TKO

Logan Storley, four-time NCAA All-American for University of Minnesota who first signed with Bellator two-and-years ago, recently signed a new contract with the organization ... and "celebrated" with a first-round win over E.J. Brooks in a 175-pound contract weight preliminary bout at Bellator 233.

The bout ended in a somewhat unusual way. After Round One ended and both fighters were in their respective corners, Brooks said he had suffered an arm injury and was unable to continue. The match was scored as a TKO by injury for the former Golden Gopher matman at 5 minutes of the first round. (In its live scoring, Fightful.com scored the first round as going to Storley before the bout was called.)

The 27-year-old Storley remains perfect with an 11-0 record in a pro career going back to August 2015 ... while Brooks is now 13-6.

Romero Cotton gets first-round TKO to maintain win streak

Almost exactly three years after signing a contract with Bellator, Romero Cotton - a two-time NCAA Division II champ for University of Nebraska-Kearney - celebrated that contractual milestone with a victory at Bellator 233 Friday night.

Cotton earned a first-round win over Jason Perrotta in a middleweight (185-pound) preliminary bout.

Here's how Fightful.com described the brief match: "The round begins with Perrotta attacking Cotton with some leg kicks, Cotton responds by landing some leg kicks of his own. Cotton scores a takedown on Perrotta and he gets the open guard, Perrotta scrambles to his feet as Cotton swings away at him. Cotton grabs Perrotta and gets him up against the cage wall, Cotton attacks Perrotta with some strikes. Perrotta verbally taps out after suffering a knee injury and the fight is called off."

The match was officially scored as a TKO at 2:16 of Round 1.

Here's what Cotton posted on his Facebook page: "Wasn't how we wanted but the streak continues thank you to all my sponsors and family who supported us in this effort."

In his pro career dating back to July 2017, Cotton is now 5-0 ... while Perrotta drops to 3-4.

Crutchmer scores unanimous decision in Bellator debut

Kyle Crutchmer, a two-time NCAA All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State, made a successful debut in the Bellator organization Friday night with a unanimous decision over Robert Gidron - his third named opponent for that match -- in what was supposed to be a welterweight prelim.

"Crutchmer, a Tulsa native, dominated his match from the beginning," according to the Daily O'Collegian student paper at Oklahoma State. "He showed off his wrestling background from the start taking down his opponent multiple times to maintain control of the fight, despite Gidron missing the fight's 170-pound weight-limit."

"'My wrestling kind of speaks for itself,' Crutchmer said. 'I'd be dumb to not at least attempt it in the first. (Gidron) was big. People don't realize he missed weight by five pounds.'"

Crutchmer is now 5-0 (and 1-0 in Bellator) in a pro MMA career that started in June 2018. Gidron drops to 2-3.

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