Albuquerque MMA light heavyweight Christian Edwards, unable to cope with the raw power and wrestling skills of Denver’s Grant Neal, lost by unanimous decision Friday night on a Bellator card at the Blaisdell Center in Honolulu.
Edwards lost for the second time after winning his first five fights. Neal, a Colorado state high school wrestling champion and a football star at CSU-Pueblo, is 7-1.
All three judges scored all three rounds for Neal, 30-27.
Edwards was hoping to use Friday’s fight as a springboard to enter Bellator’s light heavyweight rankings and regain his up-and-comer status after an upset, first-round knockout loss to Ben Parrish in September.
It wasn’t to be.
After a close first round — scored for Edwards on the Journal’s card — Neal scored a takedown late in the second that swung the round in his favor.
The third round was all Neal, with the 6-foot-5 Edwards unable to defend against the burly (5-11) Neal’s takedowns and unable to escape until the damage on the scorecards had been done.
Edwards, an Oklahoma native, trains at Jackson-Wink and had the JW brain trust — Greg Jackson, Mike Winkeljohn, Joey Villasenor — in his corner Friday night.
There was nothing they could do from behind the fence to derail the Neal freight train.
FULLER WINS: Albuquerque MMA welterweight Jalin Fuller (6-1) defeated Gage Saunders (8-5) by first-round submission (rear naked choke) Friday on an LFA card in New Town, North Dakota.
Fuller trains at Duke City MMA.
BLENCOE-CYBORG: In Honolulu, Arlene Blencowe, an Australian who trains in Albuquerque at Jackson-Wink, will take another shot at Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino Saturday night.
Justino’s Bellator featherweight title will be at stake.
Blencowe (15-8) lost to Justino (25-2) by second-round submission (rear naked choke) in a challenge for the same featherweight title in October 2020. She earned another shot with victories over Dayana Silva and Pam Sorenson.