Goiti Yamauchi has long been a member of the Bellator roster, but perhaps never closer to a title opportunity than now.
At Bellator 284, Yamauchi (28-5 MMA, 14-4 BMMA) stopped Neiman Gracie (11-4 MMA, 9-4 BMMA) with punches at 3:58 of Round 2. The bout headlined the event Saturday at Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.
The knockout topped off a dominant performance for Yamauchi, who stunned Gracie early in Round 1 before he resorted to his grappling. In Round 2, Yamauchi appeared a step ahead as well. He threatened both striking and grappling, a two-pronged attack Gracie struggled to figure out.
The knockout sequence began with a hard uppercut. As Gracie toppled to the canvas, a few follow-up shots rained down from Yamauchi, though the damage was done.
Yamauchi, who made his promotional debut at Bellator 99 in September 2013, becomes the first to stop Neiman Gracie. He extends his winning streak to three and has won back-to-back fights at welterweight. Meanwhile, Gracie has lost back-to-back fights and three of his most recent four outings.
The up-to-the-minute Bellator 284 results include:
Goiti Yamauchi def. Neiman Gracie via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 3:58
Valentin Moldavsky vs. Steve Mowry results in a no contest (accidental eye poke) – Round 1, 0:54
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane def. Bruna Ellen via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Gokhan Saricam def. Said Sowma via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Aaron Jeffery def. Austin Vanderford via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:25
Marcos Breno def. Josh Hill via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
DeAnna Bennett def. Justine Kish via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Sullivan Cauley def. Tyson Jeffries via knockout (knee) – Round 1, 1:39
Pat Downey def. Keyes Nelson via submission (arm triangle choke) – Round 1, 0:36
Bailey Schoenfelder def. Mark Currier via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:35
Mitchell McKee def. Tony Ortega via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 1:28
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 284.