Fresh off an 87-second destruction of Mark Lemminger in the co-main event of Bellator MMA 266, No. 4-ranked Neiman Gracie (11-2) will strap on the Bellator gloves for the 12th consecutive time when he takes on once-beaten and No. 5-ranked Logan Storley (12-1) in a clash of top-10 170-pounders at Bellator MMA 274: Gracie vs. Storley on Saturday, Feb. 19.
In the co-featured bout inside Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., former Bellator Welterweight Champion and No. 8-ranked Andrey Koreshkov (24-4) will return to action and open his 2022 campaign against Mukhamed Berkhamov (15-1), a winner of his last seven contests. The main card will also see undefeated Keri Taylor Melendez (5-0) compete at flyweight against former title challenger and No. 6-ranked Veta Arteaga (6-4) and a pair of heavyweights who find themselves tied at No. 8 in the official rankings will open the main card, when undefeated prospect Davion Franklin (4-0) fights Said Sowma (8-2).
Five preliminary contests are also official for Bellator MMA 274, three lightweight bouts, the first pitting 44-fight veteran Georgi Karakhanyan (31-12-1) against Northern California’s Adam Piccolotti (12-4), a battle between two of the best nicknames in MMA, Mandel “Rat Garbage” Nallo (8-1, 1 NC) and Nick “Nyquil” Browne (12-1), as well as Corey Samuels (3-2), who won in ten seconds in his Bellator debut, returning to face undefeated Justin Montalvo (4-0).
The final two preliminary contests will see Isaiah Hokit (0-1) will move down to featherweight in his second Bellator outing, when he takes on Albert Birckhead (0-1) in his promotional debut. Lastly, top-flight bantamweight prospect Jaylon Bates (4-0) welcomes Chris Disonell (6-4) back to Bellator for the first time since 2019.
Originating from the exalted Brazilian jiu-jitsu family, Gracie scored his first professional TKO when he backed his opponent against the fence and unleashed a barrage of unanswered punches to Lemminger’s head, forcing referee Jason Herzog to stop the contest at 1:27 of the opening round on Sept. 18, 2021, in San Jose, California.
The great grandson of Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu founder Carlos Gracie, nephew of MMA icon Royce Gracie, and cousin to Renzo Gracie, Neiman Gracie opened his outstanding MMA career by recording nine consecutive wins of then-undefeated opponents, including eight by submission.
A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the 33-year-old Bellator veteran currently holds a 9-2 promotional record. While others his age were learning to speak their native language, Gracie began jiu-jitsu training at age four. Fast forward to 18 years later when the multi-faceted fighter earned the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt at 22. Additionally, the Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Kings MMA fighter captured the 2011 U.S National Jiu-Jitsu title, 2008 Pan-American Jiu-Jitsu crown, and 2007 American National Jiu-Jitsu championship during an illustrious amateur career.
Hailing from Webster, S.D., the hard-hitting Storley commenced his pro vocation with six consecutive knockouts, including five in the initial stanza, en route to 11 straight triumphs overall. Furthermore, “The Storm” will make his ninth consecutive Bellator appearance where he currently holds a magnificent 7-1 record.
Like his counterpart on Feb. 20 (AEDT), Storley began wresting at a young age, albeit one year later at age five. Additionally, the Sanford MMA product and former folkstyle wrestler completed a fabled amateur career as a four-time NCAA Division-I champion at the University of Minnesota, as well as a six-time South Dakota High School Activities Association titlist.
The 29-year-old Storley, who holds academic degrees in both business and marketing, thrilled his hometown crowd in his last turn by earning a split-decision victory over Dante Schiro in the co-featured bout of Bellator MMA 265 in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Bellator 274: Gracie vs. Storley Main Card:
Sunday, February 20 (AEDT) – live and free on 10 play
Welterweight Main Event: #4-Neiman Gracie (11-2) vs. #5-Logan Storley (12-1)
Welterweight Co-Main Event: #8-Andrey Koreshkov (24-4) vs. Mukhamed Berkamov (15-1)
Flyweight Bout: #6-Veta Arteaga (6-4) vs. Keri Taylor Melendez (5-0)
Heavyweight Bout: #8-Said Sowma (8-2) vs. #8-Davion Franklin (4-0)