Bellator 217: “Gallagher vs. Graham” took place Feb. 23, 2019, at 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland. Oddly enough this was not part of the European Series of shows that took place throughout the year — perhaps because the first show in that series took place just a few days earlier in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Regardless of the branding of the event, Bellator MMA had a sure-fire main event to please the local populace. “Strabanimal” James Gallagher (7-1) returned home for the first fight following his surprising loss to Ricky Bandejas the year before. What would a newly-humbled Gallagher have to show against Steven “Golden” Graham (6-3) in Dublin?
Gallagher almost immediately shot in and took Graham to the ground, and a resilient Graham tried and failed to get up multiple times with Gallagher riding him like a horse. Gallagher attacked from every position with elbows and submissions until Graham ultimately folded and submitted to a rear-naked choke just past the halfway mark of round one.
Irish eyes were indeed smiling that day as “Strabanimal” was back on top of the world.
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