Bellator 296 results: Brent Primus outlasts Mansour Barnaoui in entertaining grand prix scrap

Mansour Barnaoui gave Brent Primus no choice but to dig deep in enemy territory, and the former Bellator lightweight champion rose to the occasion.

Primus and Paris’ own Barnaoui engaged in a fast-paced, back-and-forth affair in which the American ultimately came out victorious by unanimous decision in the Bellator 296 co-main event Friday at Accor Arena. After 25 minutes, the judges scored the fight 48-47 across the board for Primus, who advanced to the lightweight grand prix semifinals, where he’ll get a shot at champion Usman Nurmagomedov.

It’s a remarkable moment for Primus, who wasn’t originally part of the tournament field. He only received this opportunity after Sydney Outlaw was forced to withdraw following a positive drug test.

Right from the start Saturday, Barnaoui (20-5 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) pushed the pace, which had Primus (12-3 MMA, 10-3 BMMA) thinking one thing.

“Gosh damn, settle down, man,” Primus told “Big” John McCarthy during his in-cage interview. “That guy just went at me.”

Indeed, Barnaoui was relentless as he suffocated Primus with pressure, constantly in his face with the clinch. While Primus landed a few solid punches in the the first round, Barnaoui’s knees and elbows from inside the clinch landed nonstop. Primus turned the tide in Round 2, though, after he took Barnaoui down in the opening moments and proceeded to control on the mat for the majority of the time. Primus continuously worked for an arm-triangle choke until Barnaoui finally reversed the position in the closing 30 seconds.

Round 3 resembled the first round, with Barnaoui’s pressure getting the best of Primus, but Round 4 seemed to be the turning point for Primus. With both men slowing, it was Primus who resorted back to an early takedown and seriously threatened an arm-triangle choke submission. Barnaoui spent nearly 3 full minutes locked in and didn’t sneak out until 40 seconds remaining.

Clearly exhausted, both men came out firing in the fifth round, but Primus changed the course with another takedown and worked another choke again, including one final rear-naked attempt in he final minute. It was a dominant way for Primus to close out the fight, even though he didn’t get the finish.

“I think he has gills in his neck or something like that,” Primus said. “I don’t know what it is, but man, he is one tough son of a gun. Hats off to you, Mansour. You are so tough, bro. Usually I would’ve submitted those guys, but hats off to him.”

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Bellator 296: Official scorecards from Paris

Updated Bellator 296 results include:

  • Thibault Gouti def. Kane Mousah via knockout (punch) – Round 2, 3:58

  • Denise Kielholtz def. Paula Cristina via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

  • Luca Poclit def. Oliver Enkamp via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

  • Saul Rogers vs. Davy Gallon declared no contest (reply review/referee error)

  • Yves Landu def. Piotr Niedzielski via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

  • Sarvarjon Hamidov def. Kevin Petshi via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 1:33

  • Tim Wilde def. Chris Gonzalez via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

  • Fabacary Diatta def. Keir Harvie via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

  • Asael Adjoudj def. Georges Sasu via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)

  • Romain Debienne def. Bourama Camara via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 1:04

  • Jose Augusto def. Simon Biyong via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 296.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie