Bellator 90: Shahbulat Shamhalaev Defeats Rad Martinez, Earns Title Shot

Steven RondinaFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2013

The next featherweight title contender was determined tonight. Photo c/o
The next featherweight title contender was determined tonight. Photo c/o

The long-awaited finals of the Bellator Season 7 Featherweight Tournament have finally arrived. In a night defined by knockout after knockout, Rad Martinez and Shahbulat Shamhalaev came together in the main event to carry on that momentum.

This, too, gave fans a thrilling finish, and gives Shamhalaev a highlight he can use for all of his future Bellator fights.

In the first round, Shamhalaev rocked Martinez. Martinez recovered quickly and went on to land a big takedown to keep himself on the score cards.

In the second round, Martinez was rocked again by a hand behind the ear. Shamhalaev would shake off Martinez's clinch attempts, staggered him again and would finish the fight with a huge overhand right and a big hammer fist.

This victory makes Shamhalaev the Season 7 Featherweight Tournament winner, and also lines him up for a shot at the Bellator featherweight belt, which will either be held by current champ Pat Curran, or his next opponent, Daniel Straus.

Bellator 90 featured nine fights total, and only two would go to decision. The finals of two of the Season 8 tournaments were determined (Emanuel Newton vs. Mikhail Zayats in the light heavyweight division, Ben Saunders vs. Douglas Lima in the welterweight division).

Newton ended up shocking fans with his first-round knockout of “King” Mo Lawal in the first round, in what many are calling an Upset of the Year candidate.

While we are actually nearing the end of Season 8, two of Season 7's tournaments were not yet resolved. Marcin Held and Dave Jensen will be facing off at Bellator 92 in two weeks to determine the next title contender for lightweight champ Michael Chandler.