Bellator 80 went down this past weekend in Hollywood, Florida, and with Alexander Volkov defeating Vinicius Queiroz and Rad Martinez decisioning Wagnney Fabiano the finals of Bellator’s Heavyweight and Featherweight tournaments are set for season 7. The finals are slated for December 14th on Bellator 84, as Volkov will take on Richard Hale in the Heavyweight final and Martinez gets a match with Shahbulat Shamhalaev to close out the Featherweight tournament.
The Heavyweight finals could very well turn out to be a barnburner, or as Dana White would put it , a ‘fun’ fight! Hale is coming up to the heavyweight division, and has looked very solid at 230 plus pounds. he is coming off a win against tournament favorite Thiago Santos and look s to have the right mindset and focus to take the tournament.
Volkov is part of the sizeable Russian contingent that Bellator bought in to satisy a deal on Russian television, and at 6 foot 7 inches tall, he could be more dangerous as a Lightheavyweight in the future. He is a volume striker, and obviously unorthodox because of his height, but I look at Hale as the favorite heading into the finals.
Martinez, who is 25 years old, was impressive in earning his 14th career victory over Fabiano, who is approaching 40 but was the favorite in this fight and was considered to have a skill advantage. Martinez dictated where the fight was going to take place, and he got off his punches first, as he won easily on all of the judge’s cards.
His opponent Shahbulat Shamhalaev is likely to be installed as the favorite heading into the finals. That might be a big mistake. Martinez is going to be better on the ground, and the raw aggression and stand up of the eastern european fighters has not really translated to wins at the highest level.
One inexplicable x-factor will be if the additional week that Shamhalaev and Hale got when Bellator chose to split the tournaments up have any effect on the fighters. The fact is that the two men who fought the shortest semi finals (Hale and Shamhalaev) both also get an extra week’s rest.