Bellator 99 continued its ninth season with a feature light heavyweight bout, as well as the opening round of the featherweight tournament.
In the main feature, Bellator staple Patricio "Pitbull" Freire welcomed UFC vet Diego Nunes to the company in what was believed would be a competitive fight. It was anything but that, as Freire won the fight just over a minute into the first round.
After a slight feeling out process, Nunes came forward with reckless abandon but left his hands down. Freire caught him with a counter right on the chin that stunned his fellow Brazilian. A couple of follow-up shots later and it was all over.
Freire will now meet Fabricio Guerreiro, another Brazilian, in the semifinals. Guerreiro earned his spot in the final four with a largely uneventful victory over Des Green. That win was possible due to his willingness to engage with the reluctant wrestler.
On the other side of the bracket, Strikeforce vets Justin Wilcox and Joe Taimanglo will meet in the semis after their respective wins over Akop Stepanyan and Andrew Fisher.
Wilcox entered this tournament on late notice for Shahbulat Shamhalaev and was in big trouble early.
He ate some nasty leg kicks from Stepanyan who was a kick or two away from crippling the American. However, he earned a takedown, took the Russians back and put him to sleep with a wicked rear-naked choke.
Taimanglo, on the other hand, used power striking and aggression to outpoint tentative Brit Andrew Fisher. Taimanglo, a normal bantamweight, barely used his superior ground game, showing he is an all-around threat in the cage.
In a disappointing affair, Vladimir Matyushenko outwrestled and outstruck Houston Alexander to a unanimous decision victory. The fight saw some sloppy fighting and periods of inactivity, which elicited boos from the crowd.
The notable fights on the prelims saw heavyweight Blagoi Ivanov make a successful return to the sport, as well as 20-year-old Goiti Yamauchi make an awesome debut.
Ivanov's return came after a near-death experience in Bulgaria that saw him recover from serious stab wounds. Yamauchi showed his hype was warranted by quickly tapping Musa Toliver with a rear-naked choke that was applied with an omoplata still locked on.
Here are the full results:
- FW Quarterfinal: Patricio Freire def. Diego Nunes via KO (punches)
- FW Quarterfinal: Fabricio Guerreiro def. Des Green via unanimous decision
- LHW: Vladimir Matyushenko def. Houston Alexander via unanimous decision
- FW Quarterfinal: Justin Wilcox def. Akop Stepanyan via submission (rear-naked choke)
- FW Quarterfinal: Joe Taimanglo def. Andrew Fisher via unanimous decision
- LHW: Virgil Zwicker def. Nick Moghaddam via TKO (punches)
- HW: Blagoi Ivanov def. Manny Lara via submission (guillotine choke)
- FW: Goiti Yamauchi def. Musa Toliver via submission (rear-naked choke with omoplata)
- Catchweight (173): Gavin Sterritt def. Andy Murad via split decision
- LHW: Hector Ramirez def. Savo Kosic via unanimous decision