Chidi Njokuani gave a warm welcome to the Bellator newcomer Thiago Jambo Goncalves after defeating him via knockout in the co-main event at Bellator 156 on Friday at Fresno, California.
Thiago Jambo Goncalves was supposed to retire from mixed martial arts. However, after one year of waiting, he was finally scheduled to have his Bellator debut. Unfortunately, his first bout in Bellator was unsuccessful after he got beaten by Chidi Njokuani.
“The only thing that was missing for me was fighting for a big promotion,” Goncalves, who fights on Spike from Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., told MMAjunkie. “Although WSOF is big, it’s not as big as Bellator or the UFC. Before getting this contract, I told Patricio (Freire, former Bellator featherweight champion) I was retiring. I said I was done, that I was nearing 36 and just couldn’t do it anymore.
“I had already made peace with that in my head. But he told me to wait, that he’d get me signed with Bellator. I agreed but said that if it didn’t happen, I was done. He did. And I thought, ‘After 11 years of MMA, you finally get there, and you won’t even see what it feels like?’”
In round 1, Thiago Jambo tried to be aggressive to get the pace of the match. However, while he continued to chase Njokuani, he was consecutively receiving stiff jabs in the face. Jambo tried to change the pace of the game by taking Njokuani into a ground fight.
However, Njokuani found a way to stuff it and they resumed exchanging attacks in the middle. Jambo succeeded in forcing Njokuani in the fence and tried to take him down. Njokuani changed his stance and fired multiple jabs to his opponent but Jambo insisted on establishing a ground fight.
In round 2, Chidi Njokuani seemed to be tired and tried to regain his strength. All he did was to defend every attack of Jambo. However, in round 3, Njokuani finally took control of the match. He successfully landed a liver kick, leaving the Bellator newcomer in extreme pain.
Njokuani followed up his attacks until the Brazilian fighter rolled to his back. This led the American Muay Thai kickboxer to finally end the match using a ground-and-pound. The referee immediately stopped the match with 2:39 in round 3.
The Bellator 156 victory was Chidi Njokuani’s first knockout since August 2013. Since then, most of his wins were via unanimous decision. On the other hand, now that Thiago Jambo Goncalves experienced fighting for a big promotion like Bellator, will he still consider retiring from MMA?
Photo courtesy: Official Bellator
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