Bellator Champions Series: Belfast results: Strong third round lifts Leandro Higo past James Gallagher

Leandro Higo and James Gallagher were pretty evenly matched until one of them pulled away late in their Bellator Champions Series: Belfast fight.

Higo (23-6 MMA, 6-4 BMMA) used a strong third-round performance to close out a unanimous decision win over Gallagher (12-3 MMA, 9-3 BMMA) on Friday at SSE Arena. After 15 minutes, all three judges saw the fight 29-28 in Higo’s favor, which was hard to argue.

After a cautious few minutes from both men in Round 1, Higo landed the first big shot when he wobbled Gallagher with a spinning elbow with about 1:45 remaining. Higo pointed at Gallagher and then rushed in to take him down to the mat. Gallagher did his best from bottom position to try for an ankle lock, but Higo punished him with ground-and-pound to ensure the round was his.

Round 2 proved much closer as there wasn’t a ton of action, although Gallagher was beginning to find a rhythm in the striking department before Higo hit him with an inadvertent kick to the groin. After the timeout, Gallagher closed out strong in the standup.

Likely tied one round apiece, the third round was all Higo, who lifted Gallagher off his feet for huge takedown with about 2:20 remaining. From there, he controlled Gallagher on the mat and inflicted damage in the final minute with a lot of strikes. Gallagher didn’t have much of an answer at that point, which proved to be enough for Higo to get the win.

Higo now has won two fights in a row, while Gallagher failed to keep momentum in his favor following a split decision win against James Gonzalez last August.

Up-to-the-minute BCS: Belfast results include:

  • Leandro Higo def. James Gallagher via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

  • Manoel Sousa def. Tim Wilde via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 4:48

  • Ciaran Clarke def. Darius Mafi submission (arm-triangle choke)

  • Alfie Davis def. Oscar Ownsworth unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

  • Luke Trainer def. Grant Neal unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

  • Nathan Kelly def. Vikas Singh Ruhil knockout (elbow)

  • Abraham Bably def. Isaiah Pinson unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event page for Bellator Champions Series: Belfast.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie