While Bellator 115 was completely free of any tournament fights, Bellator 116 was chock-full of them.
In the main event Friday from Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Calif., formidable Sambo practitioner Blagoi Ivanov (who beat Fedor Emelianenko this one time...get ready to see that highlight a lot) beat the hard-hitting UFC veteran Lavar Johnson in every area of the cage.
Standing, he avoided Johnson's powerful right hands and delivered solid counters. On the ground, he was able to punish a huge slam takedown by reversing positions and locking up an Americana to force the tap.
Earlier on the card, former Bellator heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov wound up delivering the highlight of the night. From the early goings of his bout with kickboxing tomato can "Mighty Mo" Siliga, it was clear that the paunchy Samoan was out of his league. It also certainly doesn't help that he wound up gassing after, literally, 90 seconds or so.
Volkov put a mercifully quick end to what could've been a brutally bad fight with a devastating headkick knockout. The kick was basically identical to that of UFC welterweight Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson. He baited backward movement with one-two punches, and then sneaked a headkick up over his shoulder, landing flush to the chin and knocking out the poor sap.
Ivanov and Volkov will face off to determine the season's tournament winner, likely during this year's Summer Series.
The event also featured a welterweight tournament semifinal bout between Nathan Coy and Adam McDonough. The first round saw McDonough rock Coy early and nearly gas himself out delivering punishment for what felt like minutes on end.
Coy would survive the round by pinning McDonough against the cage, but the fight wouldn't last through the second as Coy was dropped with a solid left hook that drew an immediate stoppage. He will face off with the winner of Andrey Koreshkov and Sam Oropeza, who fight in May.
Finally, in something of a telling sign regarding how important Bellator holds its tournaments these days, the middleweight tournament's second semifinal bout went down on the Internet-only preliminary card and saw the fast-rising Brandon Halsey take a unanimous decision from Joe Pacheco. He will face off with Bellator mainstay Brett Cooper in the finals with a shot against champion Alexander Shlemenko on the line.
The full results are as follows:
- Blagoi Ivanov def. Lavar Johnson by submission via Americana at 4:08 of Round 1
- Adam McDonough def. Nathan Coy by KO via punch at 0:30 of Round 2
- Alexander Volkov def. Mighty Mo by KO via kick at 2:44 of Round 1
- Joey Beltran def. Vladimir Matyushenko by submission via north-south choke at 3:06 of Round 3
- Brandon Halsey def. Joe Pacheco by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Ricky Rainey def. Andy Murad by TKO via punches at 1:11 of Round 1
- Rob Emerson def. Joe Taimanglo by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Karo Parisyan def. Ron Keslar by KO via punch at 4:05 of Round 2
- Phelipe Lens def. Travis Clark by submission via rear-naked choke at 0:40 of Round 1
- Rodney Wallace def. Carlos Eduardo by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
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