Bellator 233 results: John Salter earns unanimous nod over Costello van Steenis

THACKERVILLE, Okla. – Prior to Friday night, John Salter never went the distance in 20 pro mixed martial arts fights, win or lose.

Then came Bellator 233. And now Salter can say he’s gone the full 15 minutes, and has still never lost a decision.

Salter (17-4 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) dominated the first two rounds in his main event middleweight bout with Costello van Steenis and then held on in the third as he earned a unanimous decision. The judges’ scores were 29-28 across the board.

Van Steenis (12-2 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) is a Netherlands-based kickboxer who trains with Gegard Mousasi, and he came flying out of the gate firing kicks.

But he also walked right into a takedown, and that’s where grappling ace Salter took over. Salter spent the rest of the first round and the bulk of the second in dominant position on the mat, always looking to improve his position and look for the finish. That moment nearly came in the second when he expertly worked his way to a rear-naked choke, and again in the round’s final minute with a head-and-arm-choke.

Van Steenis knew he was down two rounds and showed true urgency in the final frame, piecing up Salter with flurries of punches and kicks high and low. Salter shut it down with a late takedown, though, and sealed the deal on his win.

“I couldn’t keep taking shots like that, he hits like a truck,” Salter said. “Props to him, what a stud, I’m glad I got the win tonight.”

The highly underrated Salter has won two straight and nine of his past 10. Van Steenis had a five-fight win streak snapped; both of his pro losses are via decision.

The middleweight bout was the Bellator 233 main event at WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla. The main card aired on Paramount and streamed on DAZN following prelims on MMA Junkie.

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