Bellator 281: Semtex Signs Off In Style
By Lucy MacDonald
After overcoming early adversity, Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley took out the Brazilian Wendell Giacomo with a devastating right hook finish in the second round of his retirement fight at Friday night’s Bellator 281.
The 39-year-old entered the cage to an amazing reception from the fans at Wembley Arena. Daley has spoken in the past of his strong fanbase, many of whom were there to witness his career finale and were all in ear-splitting voices to create the atmosphere that his remarkable career rightly deserved.
After a tough first two rounds, with Giacomo controlling a lot of the action from the ground, Daley produced a series of ferocious punches, ending with a beautifully landed right hook, to see his career go out on a high. The Arena erupted, and fans took to their feet to applaud a terrific emotional victory and to celebrate the career of a pioneer for UK MMA. Clearly elated and emotional, Daley celebrated with the fans and his mother who joined him in the cage.
“Without the fans, I wouldn’t be here. There isn’t another fighter who has been at the top of the pyramid, and fell so far, yet still had the career I’ve had, and I put it all down to [the fans]. So thank you. Their loyalty has always been undeniable, Daley said post-fight.”
Since the commencement of his career in 2003, Daley has regularly showed fans just how much of a talented and powerful striker he is, with 35 of his 44 wins coming by way of knockout. However, his time in the sport has not been the smoothest. In 2010, the Nottingham-man was harshly banned from the UFC for life for hitting Josh Koscheck after the bell at UFC 113 in Montreal. Despite the setback, he remained competing in MMA and delivered another 12 years of entertainment for his fans and continued to build his way to being a widely respected fan-favourite.
In 2011, Daley and Nick Diaz left it all in the cage as they delivered arguably the best five minutes of MMA action you could ever imagine. Both men fired around the cage, hurling and landing a multitude of shots on one another from all angles. In the round, both men went to the floor and made a sharp recovery for the relentless action to continue, Daley proving yet again the power behind each punch that he throws, and the heart he has as a fighter. Unfortunately, Daley fell short on victory, and Diaz had his hand raised at the end of the bout, however, that round will go down in history as one of the best rounds in MMA history.
It was written in the stars for the final punch Daley would ever throw to be a strong, mighty hook and to claim his final victory with a knockout. Better so, he has been able to finish his career in a way that a lot of fighters are unable to, on his own terms. A wonderful end to an extensive career for the incredibly gifted ‘Semtex.’
Photo Credit: Bellator