Bellator Fighting Championships took a break from its run of title bouts, and instead put on a lightweight superfight between the champion Michael Chandler and veteran of over 50 fights Akihiro Gono. Not only that, but in the co-main event, two welterweights Ben Saunders and Bryan Baker squared off to determine who would move one step closer to earning a shot at the Bellator welterweight championship.

Bellator 67 took place on May 4 from the Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario, Canada. MTV2 featured a four-fight main card, with airing the preliminary bouts.

Chandler knocks out Gono

Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler made his first appearance in the cage since winning the belt, and proved why he’s the champ by knocking out veteran Akihiro Gono is less than a minute.

Chandler and Gono came out calm at first, getting a feel for one another, but that didn’t last long. Chandler came forward with an array of punches, which forced Gono to retreat. But after a clubbing left hook, there was nothing the Japanese veteran could do. After several follow up punches, the referee was forced to stop the bout.

Baker decisions Saunders; Awaits Rickels or Amoussou

Two tough fighters faced off next in the Bellator welterweight semifinals. Former UFC competitor Ben Saunders took on Bryan Baker, with Baker earning a decision nod to advance to the finals.

Round one was very close. Saunders decided to go with his ground game, as he took Baker to the ground and looked for submission attempts. From an omoplota, to a triangle, to an armbar, Saunders dominated while on the ground but couldn’t force Baker to submit. Baker turned the fight around, as he got on top of Saunders, and landed some big shots to make it a difficult round to judge.

Baker utilized the clinch in the next round, which gave him the opportunity to land another takedown. From there, Baker went to work by landing many hammerfists that would win him the round.

“The Beast” lived up to his name in the final round, and man handled his opponent. At one point, he picked up Saunders and threw him down like a rag doll. Without a doubt, Baker claimed round three, and would go on to win the fight by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27).

Baker will now await the winner of David Rickels and Karl Amoussou, who will fight at Bellator 69 on May 18.

Grabowski opens up main card with win over Huckaba

It may not have been the best fight to watch, but a win is a win, and that’s what Damian Grabowski got as he defeated Dave Huckaba by unanimous decision.

Right from the start, Grabowski faked the glove touch, and went on attack. His classless act allowed him to get a takedown, and take over from there. The two heavyweights do no damage on the ground, and were quickly called up by the referee. With more strikes landed, Grabowski took round one.

Huckaba didn’t look to do more in the second round, and basically gave it to his opponent. Grabowski didn’t land many significant strikes, but it was more than what his opponent was doing, and claimed round two as well.

Being down two rounds to none, one would think a fighter would come out guns blazing to force a stoppage. However, Huckaba accomplished nothing to impress the judges. Grabowski played it safe by not engaging much, which allowed round three to be one that will be forgotten easily by fans.

In the end, Grabowski picked up the unanimous decision win (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

Ford lands big knee to defeat Santos

In the opening bout of the MTV2 portion of the event, Ryan Ford and Luis Santos squared off, with Ford earning a TKO victory.

The first round was all Santos, where you could argue he won the round 10-8. The Brazilian established his striking, and almost put away Ford with heavy punches and elbow while on his opponent’s back.

Santos looked to establish another dominant round in the second, but after clinching, Ford landed a brutal knee to the head that instantly dropped Santos. Ford followed up with punches, which ended the night for Santos.

The win for Ford came at 1:24 of the second round.

Main Card Results

Michael Chandler def. Akihiro Gono by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 0:56

Bryan Baker def. Ben Saunders by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Ryan Ford def. Luis Santos by TKO (knee). Round 2, 1:24

Damian Grabowski def. Dave Huckaba by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Preliminary Card Results

Cosmo Alexander def. Lorawnt-T Nelson by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Nordine Taleb def. Matt MacGrath by TKO (strikes). Round 2, 2:30

Dominic O’Grady def. Nathan Gunn by submission (armbar). Round 2, 4:51

William Romero def. Matt Veal by TKO (strikes). Round 2, 4:22

Bo Harris def. Nick Kirk by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Photo: Michael Chandler (blue gloves) goes in for the finish against Akihiro Gono (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.