James Gallagher does even better than he predicted as he returns to winning ways
On Monday, James Gallagher told us that he would win with a rear naked choke after two minutes and fifty seconds.
Gallagher said that it would take him a minute to figure out his opponent, a minute to implement his own gameplan and around fifty seconds to get the choke.
'The Strabanimal' improved on his own prediction, drawing the tap from opponent Steven Graham at the 2:31 mark of the opening round of the Bellator Dublin main event.
Having come out to a crowd-pleasing medley of Irish traditional music and Freed From Desire, Gallagher showed no signs of caution following his vicious knockout defeat last August, the first loss of the Irishman's professional career, when he fearlessly came out in front of his adoring fans and put on a show on Saturday night.
The 22-year-old caught Graham's opening kick and from there, it was a matter of when and not if Gallagher's forearm would sneak under Graham's chin.
💪🇮🇪😳@StrabanimalMMA is victorious in his return to the Bellator cage with a rear naked choke at #Bellator217.
Watch the main event in the 🇺🇸 at 9/8c on @ParamountNet & simulcast on @DAZN_USA. pic.twitter.com/NgYWT2AsgI
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) February 23, 2019
The crucial point came when Gallagher switched the angle of his body triangle, allowing him to cinch up the rear naked choke and give him the proper leverage to complete the submission, the seventh of his professional career.
Gallagher dedicated the win to his grandfather, who is sick at home but was able to watch his grandson compete thanks to Bellator's new broadcast deal with Sky Sports.
Given Gallagher's divisive personality, he would have somewhat expected the response that followed his defeat last year but he is the one laughing now.