SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Canadian middleweight Aaron Jeffery, fighting on just eight days notice, upset (The Gentleman) Austin Vanderford in short order Friday on the undercard of Bellator 284.
Vanderford (12-2-0) was coming off a February loss to then-Bellator middleweight champion Gegard (The Dreamcatcher) Mousasi and is ranked No. 2 among 185-pound Bellator contenders.
"It's huge," Jeffery said of the win. "He's a big-name guy, No. 2 in the division. People know who he is. Nobody knows who I am. And hopefully they do now."
Jeffery, who replaced Anthony Adams as Vanderford's opponent on Aug. 2, felled the American with a right to the head less than 30 seconds into the bout.
Vanderford got back up and looked to take Jeffery down, clinching at the fence. But when they separated, Jeffery dropped Vanderford with another right and delivered five more blows from above before referee Bobby Wombacher stepped in to end the punishment after just 85 seconds.
Jeffery (13-3-0) improved to 2-0-0 in Bellator. The 29-year-old from Tillsonburg, Ont., won his debut in the promotion on June 24, stopping Brazil's Fabio Aguiar in the second round at Bellator 282.
The six-foot-two Jeffery has won 11 of his last 13 fights with the two losses coming in Dana White's Contender Series, in July 2019 and September 2021.
Jeffery, who runs a nutrition consulting business when not fighting, has attracted attention for his flowing mullet as well as his wins.
Also on Friday, Canadian bantamweight (Gentleman) Josh Hill (21-5-0) lost a unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) to Brazil's Marcos Breno (15-2-0).
The 35-year-old from Hamilton falls to 3-2-0 in Bellator.
The main event at Sanford Pentagon saw Japanese welterweight Goiti Yamauchi knock out Brazil's Neiman Gracie in the second round.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2022
The Canadian Press