The first event of Bellator's Scott Coker era went down Friday night in Temecula, California at Bellator 122. The event was headlined by two of the promotion's last tournament bouts.
In the main event, Andrey Koreshkov utterly dominated Adam McDonough in the season 10 Welterweight Tournament Final. For the first two rounds, the Russian danced circles around McDonough, peppering him with a wide variety of strikes, including numerous spin-kicks to the head. By the end, the American was largely content in remaining underneath Koreshkov, and generally coasted toward a unanimous 30-27 decision loss.
Will either fighter become champion?
That win likely sets Koreshkov up for a welterweight title fight with Douglas Lima. Koreshkov and Lima represent two of the most exciting strikers on Bellator's roster, and a bout between the two could end up being a Fight of the Year candidate.
Middleweight uber-prospect Brandon Halsey took top honors in the season 10 Middleweight Tournament with an impressive win over Brett Cooper. Cooper is one of Bellator's top veterans, with a tenure that spans four years and 11 fights. Halsey, however, made the Team Reign product look like a rank amateur with a quick submission win, and could face reigning champion Alexander Shlemenko this fall.
Light heavyweight Liam McGeary advanced to the finals of what will be Bellator's final tournament with an impressive win over Egidijus Valavicius. McGeary entered the event with a 7-0 record with all his wins coming via stoppage. He kept that streak going with a first-round knockout of the 27-10 veteran.
McGeary will next face fellow 2014 Summer Series tournament finalist Kelly Anundson. Anundson also earned his way to the finals Friday night, beating Philipe Lins via awkward injury. After just 90 seconds, Lins threw a punch and suffered an apparent knee injury.
In an awkward, throwaway welterweight fight, aging UFC castoff Karo Parisyan made quick work of fellow aging UFC castoff Phil Baroni...even quicker work than we're used to with Baroni.
This version of Koreshkov could beat a lot of the top 15 fighters in the UFC. Dude is a stud.— Adam Martin (@MMAdamMartin) July 26, 2014
Baroni has been a journeyman his entire career, getting face time in with almost every major MMA promotion along the way, including the UFC, Pride, Strikeforce, EliteXC and, now, Bellator. His ability to find regular employment is where his success in MMA ends, however, as he signed his newest contract amid a 2-7 skid and advanced to 2-8 after being easily dispatched by a reinvigorated Parisyan.
The full results are as follows (via MMAJunke.com):
- Andrey Koreshkov def. Adam McDonough via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27); Season 10 welterweight tournament final
- Brandon Halsey def. Brett Cooper via submission (armbar); Round 1, 2:09; Season 10 middleweight tournament final
- Liam McGeary def. Egidijus Valavicius via TKO (strikes); Round 1, 2:10; Summer Series light heavyweight tournament semifinal
- Karo Parisyan def. Phil Baroni via knockout (punches); Round 1, 2:06
- Augusto Sakai def. Matt Frembling via TKO (strikes); Round 3, 3:32
- Bubba Jenkins def. Poppies Martinez via TKO (punches); Round 1, 4:10
- Kelly Anundson def. Philipe Lins via TKO (injury); Round 1, 1:40; Summer Series light heavyweight tournament semifinal
- Fernando Gonzalez def. Karl Amoussou via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Saad Awad def. Joe Duarte via TKO (elbows); Round 1, 1:18
- Sergio Rios def. Stephen Martinez via TKO (head kick, punches); Round 2, 0:20