This Weekend in Fights! (February 9th, 2013) was the first UFC-less weekend in in the last three weeks. The weekend did however feature Bellator 88 in Duluth, Georgia on Thursday night. Bellator 88 was the only notable event throughout the entire weekend with the crowning of a new Bellator Middleweight champion, and the opening round of the season 8 Featherweight tournament.
Emanating from The Arena at Gwinnet Center Bellator 88 aired on Spike TV and Spike.com. In the main event Alexander Shlemenko captured the vacant Bellator Middleweight title title with a second round knockout of Maiquel Falcao. The first round was somewhat of a stalemate with the two exchanging shots until Shlemenko took Falcao down. Shlemenko was unable to improve position and remain active enough to keep this position and the two were brought back to their feet. Falcao started round two by pushing the pace, but once clinched up Shlemenko unleashed a series of punches and knees to the body that sent Falcao to the mat. Shlemenko then landed a massive right, left combination that rendered Falcao unconscious just over two minutes into the round.This marks Shlemenko’s 10th straight victory and 28th career knockout victory, he is now 8-1 in Bellator.
In the opening round of the Featherweight tournament, Alexandre Bezzera, Mike Richman, Marlon Sandro and Magomedrasul Khasbulaev advanced into the semifinals. Two submissions, one TKO and a decision were the results of the quarterfinals. Bezerra submitted Genair da Silva, Khasbulaev submitted Fabricio Guerreiro, Mike Richman stopped Mitch Jackson, and Marlon Sandro defeated Akop Stepanyan with the judges score cards.
Marlon Sandro punched his ticket in the semifinals with a majority decision victory over Akop Stepanyan. The judges score cards read 28-28, 29-27, and 29-27. Stephanyan was deducted a point in the third round for holding the cage. The bout was very close, as Sandro was able to control Stepanyan on the ground, but on their feet Stepanyan connected with a spinning back kick that dropped Sandro. The spinning back kick seem to be Stepanyan’s game plan throughout the fight as he repeatedly attempted the kick until it landed in the second round. However, Sandro was able to time the kicks and avoid the damage after some time controlling the pace of the fight.
With three seconds remaining in the round Mike Richman was able to finish Mitch Jackson to advance into the semifinals. Richman landed a right hand that almost ended the fight early, but it was a left head kick and a series a hard hammerfists that would end it for Jackson.
Alexandre Bezerra and Genair Da Silva entered the cage and 100-seconds later Bezzera’s hand was raised. Bezzera dropped Da Silva and followed him to the ground. Bezzera attempted a kimura but was met with the hammerfist of Da Silva. Those hammerfist’s would be the downfall of Da Silva, as Bezzera was able to capture the exposed arm and slap on an armbar to force the tap.
After escaping from an armbar attempt and slamming his way out of a triangle choke in the first round Magomedrasul Khasbulaev was able to submitted Fabricio Guerreiro with arm-triangle choke 75-seconds into the second round. Khasbulaev took Guerreiro down with ease and cinched in the arm-triangle to force the tap. Khasbulaev will meet Marlon Sandro in the semifinals, while Richman and Bezzera will square off. (Full Bellator 88 event results below.)
Thursday Night Fights –
Alexander Shlemenko def. Maiquel Falcao via KO (punches) – Round 2, 2:18 – to win vacant middleweight title
Marlon Sandro def. Akop Stepanyan Alexander Shlemenko def. Maiquel Falcao via majority decision (28-28, 29-27, 29-27) – featherweight tournament opening round
Mike Richman def. Mitch Jackson via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 4:57 – featherweight tournament opening round
Alexandre Bezerra def. Genair Da Silva via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 1:40 – featherweight tournament opening round
Magomedrasul Khasbulaev def. Fabricio Guerreiro via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 1:15 – featherweight tournament opening round
Joe Elmore def. Jerrid Burke via KO (punch) – Round 2, 4:11
Ronnie Rogers def. Shane Crenshaw via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Clay Harvison def. Ururahy Rodrigues via TKO (knee) – Round 3, 3:34
George Hickman def. Stephen Upchurch via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:19