Bellator 90 took place at the Maverick Center in West Valley City, Utah, on Thursday night, featuring the delayed Season 7 Featherweight Tournament final between Shahbulat Shamhalaev and Rad Martinez, as well as the Season 8 Light Heavyweight and Welterweight Tournament semifinal bouts.
Shahbulat Shamhalaev stalked Rad Martinez, who was fighting on his home turf, from the opening bell, chopping away at Martinez’s lead leg with low kicks and patiently looking for an opening for his hands.
Just past the midway point of the opening round, Martinez managed to take the fight where he wanted it: to the mat. He Shamhalaev on his back for the remainder of the round, trying to soften him up with ground and pound.
Unfortunately for Martinez, round two meant a return to their feet.
Shamhalaev immediately returned to his gameplan, walking Martinez down, until he found an opening for a high kick that rocked the Utah native. Shamhalaev kept the pressure on, landing a knee to the chin and another to the body, keeping Martinez rattled.
Shamhalaev put an end to it moments later with an overhand right that found the mark, dropping Martinez to the canvas.
“I think I showed a pretty good fight with every one of my opponents,” said Shamhalaev after the victory. “But I’ve got a lot more that you guys don’t know about.”
Shamhalaev is now the Season 7 tournament champion and will next face the winner of the bout between current Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran and challenger Daniel Straus, who square off at Bellator 95 in early April in Atlantic City, N.J.
Trying to fight his way into the light heavyweight final opposite Mikhail Zayats, Emanuel Newton started in with various punch combinations and kicks early against King Mo Lawal.
Lawal relied on his ever-refining boxing skills, used a lot of head movement and footwork to avoid most of Newton’s attacks, but regularly left his hands a little low.
Newton connected on a couple of big punches early in the round, but Lawal wasn’t fazed.
When Newton threw and missed with an overhand right, however, his follow-up spinning backfist did connect. It landed on Lawal’s chin, putting him out on his feet. Newton caught Lawal as he drifted towards the canvas, but he was already unconscious, the referee stepping in before Newton and Lawal settled to the mat.
With the win, Emanuel Newton moves on to the light heavyweight final opposite Zayats, while Bellator’s marquee signing goes back to the drawing board.
“Mikhail is gonna be tough, he’s a beast,” said Newton after the fight. “I’m very happy that me and him made it to the finals together. It’s gonna be a good, respectful battle, but it’s gonna be a battle.”
Douglas Lima and Bryan Baker started thing off rather slow, each taking some time to try and find his range, but once Lima found his it was all over.
When Lima decided to fire, he unleashed the big overhand right, connecting and spinning Bryan Baker around and to the mat, ending the fight as abruptly as it began.
Lima now moves on to the welterweight final, where he will face American Top Team stable mate Ben Saunders, who won earlier in the night. It’s a tough proposition to fight a teammate, but one that Nova Uniao’s Eduardo Dantas and Marcos Galvao recently faced.
Saunders took to the cage with Lima following Lima’s victory, declaring, “ATT is gonna take it, that’s all that matters. It sucks man, he’s my brother, but we’re gonna do what we have to do. This is business.”
Mikhail Zayats took out Renato “Babalu” Sobral in the light heavyweight quarterfinal round, and on Thursday, he took out Jacob Noe in their semifinal showdown.
Zayats dropped Noe early in the opening stanza with a powerful right hand. He immediately followed Noe to the mat, smothering him and softening him up with ground and pound, before finally switching to an armbar that he extended for the tap.
Bellator Light Heavyweight Final:
Emanuel Newton vs. Mikhail Zayats
Bellator Welterweight Final:
Douglas Lima vs. Ben Saunders
Bellator Featherweight Tournament Championship Fight:
-Shahbulat Shamhalaev def. Rad Martinez by KO (Punch) at 2:12, R2
Light Heavyweight Semifinal Fight:
-Emanuel Newton def. King Mo Lawal by KO (Spinning Backfist) at 2:35, R1
Welterweight Tournament Semifinal:
-Douglas Lima def. Bryan Baker by TKO (Punch) at 2:34, R1
Light Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal:
-Mikhail Zayats def. Jacob Noe by Submission (Armbar) at 3:38, R1
Preliminary Bout Results:
-Shanon Slack def. Josh Tyler by Submission (Peruvian Necktie) at 1:56, R3
-Ben Saunders def. Raul Amaya by KO (Head Kick) at 2:56, R1
-Travis Marx def. Chase Beebe by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Jesse Juarez def. Jordan Smith by Split Decision, R3
-Sean Powers def. David Allred by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:10, R3
-Lionel Lanham def. Joe Rodriguez by TKO (Strikes) at 0:49, R1
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