It must be a heavy burden indeed to be born into the infamous Gracie family, and two of the family’s active competitors split their results at Bellator 266. Neiman Gracie has already put together a string of impressive showings in the Bellator cage up until the event, holding a solid 10-2 record prior to his meeting with Mark Lemminger in the co-main event. He was certainly the favorite to win during the build-up but nobody expected him to make it look as easy as he did, knocking out Lemminger in the very first round.
After landing a stiff jab to get things started, the closest Neiman got to showcasing the high level of Jiu-Jitsu skill he’s become known for was in a brief clinch exchange where he forced his opponent against the cage. From there, he landed a powerful uppercut that clearly rocked Lemminger and he pounced on the opportunity with a flurry of strikes to force the referee to put a stop to the fight. Prior to this, his rather distant relative Rhalan Gracie was making his promotional debut at Bellator 266 after going 0-2 on the regional MMA circuit over a decade ago.
At the age of 34 it was unlikely that the signing of Rhalan was ever going to cause a real commotion in the Bellator Welterweight division, but he really couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start if he’d tried. His opponent Shane Keefe had only had one professional fight on the regional circuit earlier this year, winning by knockout, after a short amateur career. Rhalan wasn’t able to make his mark on the fight at any point and ended up dropping a unanimous decision to the relatively new fighter, taking his career record to 0-3.