Cody Law wasn’t thrilled with his performance in his second Bellator MMA fight, but he got what he needed out of it – some more experience in the cage and another professional victory.
The Forest Hills and Pitt-Johnstown graduate won by technical knockout at 4:44 of the third round after a dominating victory over Kenny Champion in a featherweight fight at Bellator 254 in Uncasville, Connecticut on Thursday night.
“I didn’t get exactly what I wanted,” said Law, who is 2-0 after getting a first-round victory by submission in his debut. “I had to go almost three rounds.
“I think that’s good for me in the long run, to get that pro experience, multiple rounds, guys that don’t go away easily. Different exchanges, different sequences – I’ll learn from it.”
Law had a 120-8 edge in punches landed, a 14-1 margin in kicks landed and scored three takedowns to Champion’s none.
The 41-year-old Champion, who entered the fight with a 2-0 record, stood and exchanged hands with Law for the first three minutes of the fight before the 2018 NCAA Division II wrestling champion from UPJ took him to the canvas. Once there, Law was able to work a ground-and-pound strategy that included several big left hands at the end of the first round.
The second round featured more of the same. Law got a quick takedown and kept the pressure on Champion, with an attempt at a submission hold before settling for more punches that Champion could not defend.
“He hung in there,” Law said of his opponent. “He was tough.
“It’s good for me because, in practice, you take a guy down like that, I can’t unload. That’s a different kind of tired in your arms, when you’re unloading every shot, elbows, punches, posture. That was good for me. I felt that. I needed it.”
A minute into the third round, Law took Champion down again. He landed punch after punch – at one point the broadcast crew said that Law had an 81-1 strike advantage over a 9-minute period – before switching to elbows late, which led to the eventual stoppage.
Many MMA observers were surprised that referee Yves Lavigne let the fight go as long as he did before stopping it with 16 seconds remaining. Law admitted that he thought Lavigne would step in during the second round but said it isn’t his place to make that decision.
“I’m just in there to hit him and hurt him until the ref stops it,” Law said.
The broadcast crew heaped praise upon the 25-year-old Law.
“If you listen to anyone from American Top Team, they will tell you that he’s the future of the sport,” John McCarthy said.
Law wasn’t quite as impressed by his performance.
“It was all right,” he said. “I don’t feel like I did my best. A little flat-footed on my feet. A little sloppy. I want to do better.”
In the post-fight press conference, reporters asked Law if he was being too hard on himself.
“I’ll feel better after I watch it back, probably,” he said noting that’s a pattern he follows, “every time – even after sparring.”
Law, who has been training with American Top Team in South Florida, said he expects to take a short break, during which he plans to return to the Johnstown area.
“I’m going to go home for the holidays, spend some time with my family for Christmas and New Year’s and I’ll be back to the gym in January and right back to it.”