Luke Trainer (5-0) made a strong case for himself as a light heavyweight prospect worth watching with an impressive win on the main card of Bellator 267 last Friday in London.
While “The Gent” made his promotional debut on the prelims of Bellator’s Euro Series in Milan last year, earning a stoppage win on the same card as the rematch between former welterweight champion Douglas Lima and star Michael “Venom” Page should garner considerably more attention for the towering twenty-five-year-old from England.
Taking on Yannick Bahati (9-5), Trainer was able to show off both his striking and grappling in the first round, getting the better of the exchanges on the feet as well as taking Bahati down and controlling him for an extended period. His patience while striking stood out considerably, regularly switching stances and chipping away at Bahati with leg kicks and jabs while also countering with straight punches when Bahati tried to close in with his own strikes.
He also flashed his finishing instincts in the closing moments of the first round, stunning Bahati with a left hand and pouring on volume against the fence before the bell rang.
Trainer was clearly in control on the feet from the start of the second round, steadily increasing his volume as his confidence increased and Bahati’s own output dropped. Bahati did manage to land a clean left hand followed by a spinning back fist in his biggest moment of the fight, but Trainer was largely unfazed and continued his composed striking approach. The finish came with just over two minutes left in the round as Trainer landed a vicious elbow after breaking a clinch against the cage, dropping Bahati and forcing the referee to step in after a few follow-up punches.
While Trainer’s professional record now stands at 5-0, his fighting experience also includes a 7-1 amateur record with five finishes and a pair of exhibition wins in one night at a Euro Fight Night event back in 2019. He’s largely made short work of his opponents as a pro, earning first-round finishes in three of those bouts.
While there’s no need to rush Trainer along given the calibre of fighters at the top of Bellator’s light heavyweight division, he certainly has more fighting experience than a cursory glance at his pro record may indicate.
With one fight in 2020 and this win against Bahati his only fight of 2021 so far, Trainer would certainly benefit from being able to maintain a bit of a busier schedule going forward.
One possibility Trainer himself has mentioned in interviews after beating Bahati is a matchup with Ben “Big Tuna” Parrish, who is fresh off an upset victory against Christian Edwards last month.
Bellator seem to have correctly identified Trainer as a fighter with notable potential, so hopefully we can see him in the cage again in early 2022.