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Bellator 281 results: Paul Daley caps off MMA career with dynamite comeback one-punch KO of Wendell Giacomo

By Nolan King

It would’ve been hard for Paul Daley to pull off a more vintage performance than his Bellator 281 swan song Friday in London.

In the declared final bout of his mixed martial arts career, Daley (44-18-2 MMA, 9-6 BMMA) rallied to land a violent one-punch knockout of gritty Brazilian debutant Wendell Giacomo (9-3 MMA, 0-1 BMMA). The walk-off stoppage came at 4:09 of Round 2 and was the 35th knockout win of Daley’s career.

The highlight didn’t come easy, something Daley became accustomed to over the span of his 20-year professional MMA career. For the majority of the first nine minutes of the fight, Daley was controlled, particularly in the grappling department. Giacomo displayed great strength and technique, until Daley saw an opportunity to explode upward.

Once there, Daley hurled classic haymakers at the overwhelmed Brazilian. A left hook to the body was followed by a lights-out overhand right. The punch that connected on the head was all he needed. It connected and Giocomo face-planted to the canvas.

O2 Arena exploded into pandemonium as the “Daley, Daley, Daley” chants sounded loud and clear. Daley walked to the center of the cage and collapsed, overwhelmed with emotion. Daley was greeted in the cage by his mother and his partner, who joined in the celebration.

Daley, 39, declared Friday’s bout his final fight. A competitor for two decades, Daley competed for the UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator, Cage Warriors, Elite XC, BAMMA, and more. His scrap against Nick Diaz is widely regarded as one of the best one-round title fights in MMA history. His 202 bout against Sabah Homasi also received Fight of the Year candidacy from some. Other notable career wins include Jorge Masvidal, Martin Kampmann, Duane Ludwig, and Lorenz Larkin.

From 2009-2010, Daley competed three times under the UFC banner and went 2-1. However, he was banned from the promotion after he struck Josh Koscheck following the conclusion of their 2010 bout.

The up-to-the-minute Bellator 281 results include:

  • Paul Daley def. Wendell Giacomo via knockout (punch) – Round 2, 4:09
  • Simon Biyong def. Luke Trainer via unanimous decision (29-27, 28-27, 29-28)
  • Daniel Weichel def. Robert Whiteford via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 1:12
  • Elina Kallionidou def. Kate Jackson via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 4:53
  • Oliver Enkamp def. Mark Lemminger via submission (buggy choke) – Round 3, 0:25
  • Alfie Davis vs Tim Wilde ends in a majority draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)
  • Andrew Fisher def. Attila Korkma via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Charlie Ward def. Alan Carlos via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25)
  • Maciej Rozanski def. Lee Chadwick via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Chiara Penco def. Lanchana Green via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
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Dive Deeper:
Bellator 281 results: Fabian Edwards flattens Lyoto Machida with violent knockout
In the Bellator 281 co-main event, Fabian Edwards snatched Lyoto Machida's consciousness – and also the biggest win of his…
Bellator 281 results: Logan Storley becomes interim champion in lackluster split decision win over Michael Page
The Bellator 281 main event likely won't be winning Fight of the Year.
Michael Page comes up short against Logan Storley in Bellator 281 interim title bid
The Londoner lost a split decision in his hometown as Storley claimed the interim welterweight belt
Bellator 281 video: Oliver Enkamp comes from behind to submit Mark Lemminger with buggy choke
Oliver Enkamp was having a rough night until he pulled off a submission of the year candidate at Bellator 281.
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Logan Storley beats Michael Page to win interim Bellator title in London
Page was challenging Storley for the interim welterweight title in London after his original opponent, undisputed champion Yaroslav Amosov, withdrew…
Twitter reacts to Paul Daley’s incredible knockout in retirement fight at Bellator 281
Check out the reaction to Paul "Semtex" Daley's knockout of Wendell Giacomo at Bellator 281.
Get all your news in one place