One champion reigned supreme, while two men staked their claims to a championship challenge at Bellator 95 on Thursday night. The event took place at Revel in Atlantic City, N.J., closing out the promotion’s eight season overall, and its first on Spike TV.
Pat Curran vs. Shahbulat Shamhalaev
Pat Curran told MMAWeekly.com prior to the fight that “you’re going to have to pretty much kill me to take away (the Bellator belt).” Shahbulat Shamhalaev didn’t kill Curran on Thursday night, nor did he take Curran’s belt.
Both men being counterfighters, the fight got off to a slow start, but when Curran hit the gas, he spent little time going from 0 to 60.
After two and half minutes of feeling each other out, Curran shot, securing an arm-in guillotine as he and Shamhalaev hit the mat, and just a few seconds later the fight was over, Shamhalaev face down on the mat and unconscious from the choke.
“It feels great. I didn’t get hit once in the face,” note Curran post-fight. “I can’t wait to face Daniel Straus again for a rematch.”
Frodo Khasbulaev vs. Mike Richman
Frodo Khasbulaev and Mike Richman were fighting for the Bellator Season 8 Featherweight Tournament Championship and they acted like it. Neither would back down in a fight that went the fully allotted 15 minutes.
Richman moved forward throughout the fight, sticking his jab in Khasbulaev’s face, but the Russian fighter was the one that impressed the judges.
Every time that Richman moved forward, sticking out the right hand, Khasbulaev would answer back with either a punch combination or a punch-kick combination. That he was more accurate on the feet, doing more damage, coupled with a few successful takedown attempts is likely what secured the nod from the judges.
All three judges scored the bout 30-27 in Khasbulaev’s favor, awarding him the victory, which was accompanied by a $100,000 check and a featherweight title shot.
Brett Cooper vs. Doug Marshall
Doug Marshall hasn’t lost the power that at one time helped him become the WEC light heavyweight champion, and he displayed it in the Bellator Season 8 Middleweight Tournament Final.
Brett Cooper’s strategy was obvious from the bell. As soon as he tasted Marshall’s power, Cooper shot and planted Marshall on the mat. Marshall, however, was prepared.
Both times he was taken down, Marshall worked his way up the cage and back to his feet. The second time he regained his feet, Marshall got the separation he wanted and planted a right hook to Cooper’s jaw that left him on the floor, out cold.
“If I touch you with the right hand, you’re going to sleep,” said Marshall after the fight. “Man, I hope he’s okay. I was trying to knock his beard off, but it didn’t come off. Maybe next time.”
Next time for Marshall, however, means stepping in the cage with Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko.
Rick Hawn vs. Karo Parisyan
Parisyan was the aggressor throughout, consistently moving forward, but it was the former Olympic judoka that got the better of the exchanges. Hawn was patient, countering Parisyan and chopping away at his lead leg with kicks.
Hawn’s patented right hand found its mark less than two minutes into the second stanza, stunning Parisyan. Hawn then moved in, hooked Parisyan’s head with his left hand and sent him to the canvas with a series of short right uppercuts, forcing the referee to step in and halt the bout.
The bout was a return to the welterweight division for Hawn, but he confirmed that it was a one-time trip.
“Fifty-five is where I’m staying,” declared Hawn after the fight. “Karo’s not a huge welterweight, so I felt it was a good match-up.”
Bellator 95 Results
-Pat Curran def. Shahbulat Shamhalaev by Submission (Guillotine Choke), R1
-Frodo Khasbulaev def. Mike Richman by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Doug Marshall def. Brett Cooper by KO (Punch) at 3:39, R1
-Rick Hawn def. Karo Parisyan by TKO (Strikes) at 1:55, R2
-Lyman Good def. Dante Rivera by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Sam Oropeza def. Shedrick Goodridge by TKO (Strikes) at 4:22, R2
-Tom DeBlass def. Carlos Brooks by TKO (Doctor’s Stoppage) at 5:00, R2
-Phillipe Nover def. Darrell Horcher by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Jimmie Rivera def. Brian Kelleher by Unanimous Decision, R3
-Will Martinez def. Michael Hess by KO (Punches) at 4:15, R1
-Kevin Roddy def. Brylan Van Artsdalen by Submission (Armbar) at 1:04, R2
-Liam McGeary def. Anton Talamantes by TKO (Elbow and Punches) at 1:18, R1