Alexander Shlemenko is the new Bellator middleweight champion with a second round knockout over Maiquel Falcao at Bellator 88 from The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga.
Falcao walked down Shlemenko in the early stages of round one, trying to get his clinch going and working for the takedown, but it was Shlemenko who secured the outside trip and ended up in top position. After being inactive, the referee stood the fighters up. They clinched for position against the cage with Shlemenko’s strength showing.
Falcao came out busy in round two, but Shlemenko quickly poured on the heat, landing knees from the clinch of a tiring Falcao. Shlemenko landed a big body shot on Falcao, who was clearly hurt and after being stunned with a short right hand, he fell to the mat. Shlemenko landed more shots to the body and as Falcao went to cover up the body, Shlemenko knocked him out with strikes to the head.
“I am the champion of Bellator. I am face of Bellator now,” Shlemenko said post-fight. “Who wants belt? Come in cage. I am beat you.”
The victory improved Shlemenko’s record to 47-7 and increased the Russian’s unbeaten streak to 10 fights.
In the co-main event, Brazilian Marlon Sandro progressed to the final four of the featherweight tournament with a controversial majority decision win over Akop Stepanyan, with the judges scoring it 29-27, 29-27, and 28-28.
In a tight first round, both fighters started off patiently with Stepanyan getting the better of Sandro with the stand-up. The Brazilian was able to secure a late takedown, but ran out of time to do any damage.
Sandro scrambled for a takedown straight off the bell in round two, but was caught with a spinning back kick and was on the ropes before being clipped with another kick. Sandro again worked for a takedown, remaining active from his back, but referee George Allen stood Sandro back up after Stepanyan returned to his feet. Sandro secured another late takedown and looked for a leglock, but again ran out of time.
Before the start of round three, referee George Allen announced that Stepanyan had been deducted a point for holding the cage in the second round after being previously warned.
Sandro secured an early double-leg takedown, but the referee stood the fighters back up. Stepanyan went for another spinning back kick, but was taken back down with Sandro controlling the fight from the top position until the final bell.
With most people expecting the fight to go into a fourth and deciding round, they were left shocked when two of the judges awarded the decision to Sandro, who will take on Magomedrasul Khasbulaev for a place in the featherweight tournament final.
Mike Richman was super impressive in his first round demolition of Mitch Jackson. Richman recorded three knockdowns early in the round before landing with a head kick, dropping Jackson in the closing seconds of the opening round. After reigning down with hammerfists, Dan Mirgliotta called an end to the fight with just three seconds left in round one.
“I was setting it up with my nice hands, and then I saw the head opportunity,” Richman said. “I just want to show everyone if you get too close to me, I’ll put you to sleep.”
Richman will now take on Alexandre Bezerra in the semifinal of the featherweight tournament.
In the opening main card fight, Alexandre Bezerra submitted Genair da Silva in just 100 seconds. Bezerra dropped da Silva in the opening stages of the fight and took the Brazilian’s back. Da Silva stood up and Bezerra rode on his back before taking him down and softening da Silva up with ground strikes before he gave up his arm and Bezerra locked in the armbar.
The win was Bezerra’s seventh in eight fights in the Bellator cage.
-Alexander Shlemenko def. Maiquel Falcao via KO (Punches), Round 2 at 2:18.
-Marlon Sandro def. Akop Stepanyan via Majority Decision (28-28, 29-27, 29-27).
-Mike Richman def. Mitch Jackson via TKO (Strikes), Round 1 at 4:57.
-Alexandre Bezerra def. Genair Da Silva via Submission (Armbar), Round 1 at 1:40.
-Magomedrasul Khasbulaev def. Fabricio Guerreiro via Submission (Arm Triangle), Round 2 at 1:15.
-Joe Elmore def. Jerrid Burke via KO (Punch), Round 2 at 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 at 3:34.
-George Hickman def. Stephen Upchurch via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1 at 2:19.
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