Bellator 204: “Caldwell vs. Lahat” took place last week (Fri., Aug. 17, 2018) at Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Paramount Network-televised main event saw Bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell make a successful return to his former home at Featherweight, finishing off Noad Lahat in the second round via technical knockout in their non-title bout.
If the reaction to that fight was muted it was due in part to following home state hero Logan Storley in the co-main event, and a shocking first round knockout in the fight before that. The previously undefeated James Gallagher had vowed to rule the Bantamweight division as he dropped to 135 pounds, but the 10-1 Ricky Bandejas ignored his bluster and finished him in less than three minutes.
Despite the stunning setback to his career, Gallagher was a recent guest on the “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show” to evaluate his loss:
“I’ll hold my head high. I’ll go out there and I’ll face it. I take the loss on the chin, literally, as I got a smack on the chin and it put me out. I’ll take that loss. I take it like a man, and I show up and I hold my head high, and I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of myself walking out there and going out and fighting putting everything on the line, putting in that training camp — doing everything right, had the perfect camp, did everything right.”
Unfortunately, the loss derails his plan to challenge Caldwell for the Bantamweight belt, a man he once said “couldn’t finish his dinner let alone a fight.” Can he still fight for the gold?
“Now, I’m looking forward to going back. He (Bandejas) showed me something I need to work on and I’m looking forward to going back and making myself better and becoming world champion. I’m 100 percent I’m going to be world champion. I’m not letting that defeat put me down. I got beat, but I’m not broke. I can keep going. I can’t wait to get back to the gym and go again.”
And does Gallagher draw anything from his friend and training partner Conor McGregor on coming back from a big loss?
“I can see the way he handled that and I took like inspiration from that, but this is how I’ve been brought up by my mother and father — you don’t run away from anything. If I say I’m the greatest ever and I get beat, then that’s a big fall, but I’m not scared of that. So I take it all in. I take it on the chin and move on.”
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