The middleweight title changed hands at Bellator 126 on Friday at the Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix as Brandon Halsey took out Alexander Shlemenko in quick fashion to capture the Bellator 185-pound championship.
Halsey made short work of Schlemenko, hardly working up a sweat. Shlemenko moved in with a right hand and Halsey ducked under the punch and took the champion down. He immediately took Shlemenko’s back and applied a rear-naked choke. Before Shlemenko could react, Halsey had the choke under the chin. Shlemenko tried desperately to get free from the submission, but went unconscious before he could escape. The title changed hands in just 35-seconds.
“It feels great,” said Halsey after capturing the lightweight crown. “I wouldn’t be here without God. I want to give all the thanks to him, but I put in the work. I put in the training. Feeling this belt around my waist, it feels great.”
Marcin Held earned a shot at the Bellator lightweight belt by defeating Patricky Freire by unanimous decision in the finals of the Season 10 Bellator Lightweight Tournament. Both fighters were tentative in the opening moments of the fight. Held rolled for a leg lock and secured an early takedown. As he passed Freire’s guard into side control, “Pitbull” scrambled to his feet. Held closed the distance and they battled for position in the clinch position. Held dropped back and isolated a leg, but Freire defended the submission attempt and gained top position on the ground. Freire maintained top position for two minutes of the round, but did little from the dominant position. He stood up and leg Freire up in the closing seconds of the stanza.
Held didn’t give Freire much space and quickly took the Brazilian down in the early going of the second frame. He landed punches before passing Freire’s guard into side control. He isolated an arm and briefly looked for a kimura before giving up on the submission. Freire wasn’t able to get up from his back and Held battered him with elbows. The second round was all Held.
The final frame looked a lot like the second. Held secured an early takedown and beat Freire up while controlling him on the ground. Freire was able to get back to his feet a couple of time only to be put back on the canvas. It was a one-sided unanimous decision.
Bubba Jenkins logged a unanimous decision victory over Thiago Meller in featherweight action. Jenkins used his speed to establish his jab from the early going. Once Meller got confortable on his feet, Jenkins changed levels and took him down. Meller threatened with a guillotine choke, but Jenkins defended the submission attempt and delivered elbow strikes from the half guard position. Meller attempted an armbar, but ended up eating hammer fists in the process. The first round went to Jenkins.
Meller’s timing was better in the second frame, but Jenkins secured a takedown and controlled Meller on the ground for the majority of the round. He peppered Meller with short punches as Meller covered up and looked for an opening for a submission attempt. Jenkins opened up a cut over Meller’s right eye. In the closing seconds of the round, Jenkins stood up and jumped into the air landing with a right hand to the downed Meller.
Meller came out in the third aggressive and behind on the scorecards. He pressed the pace with punches and stuffed a takedown. Jenkins ducked under a punch and took Meller down. Meller worked to lock in a guillotine choke, but Jenkins defended the submission attempt and gained top position on the ground. Jenkins landed punches and forcing Meller to briefly give up his back. Jenkins spent the last three minutes of the frame landing punches and elbows, cruising to a unanimous decision win.
“I feel like I’m more of an MMA fighter,” said the former collegiate wrestling standout. “I’m definitely now a more well-rounded fighter. You can call me a fighter, not just a wrestler who fights now.”
Mike Richman kicked off the main card portion of the event with a clean knockout over Ed West. Richman pressed the pace from the opening bell in his bantamweight debut. He was persistent with his forward movement while West circled on the outside. Richman threw the straighter punches and it caught up to West. Richman moved in with a combination that collapsed West unconscious along the cage midway through the opening round.
“The game plan was to smother him, smother his kicks, get in his face. I’m confident in my power at bantamweight and especially confident that I can take more shots from anybody,” said Richman following the knockout win. “I’m coming baby. I want that belt.”
Bellator 126 Official Results:
Brandon Halsey def. Alexander Shlemenko by submission (rear-naked choke) at 0:35 , R1
Marcin Held def. Patricky Freire by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-26)
Bubba Jenkins def. Thiago Meller by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Mike Richman def. Ed West by TKO (punches) at 2:44, R1
LaRue Burley def. Raymond Pina by submission (guillotine choke) at 0:22, R2
Clifford Starks def. Kob Ortiz by submission (guillotine choke) at 0:52, R2
Nick Rossborough def. Ryan Martines by TKO (injury) at 5:00, R1
Joe Taimanglo def. Michael Parker by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Dan Charles def. Stuart Austin by KO (punch) at 0:18, R3
Derek Campos def. Estavan Payan by KO (punch) at 0:31, R1
Brandon Girtz def. Benny Madrid by TKO (punches) at 0:57, R1