Last night in Gwinnith, Georgia, Bellator 88 went down in exciting fashion, as the organization crowned a champion in their Middleweight division as well as they kicked off their Featherweight tournament with the quarter final bouts. Russian fighter Alexander Shlemenko captured the Bellator Middleweight title with a scintillating 2nd round KO over Brazilian fighter Maiquel Falcao. In the featherweight tournament, Marlon Sandro, Mike Richman, Alexandre Bezarra and Magomedrasul “Frodo” Khasbulaev all advanced to the semi finals. Let’s take a look…
Shlemenko solidified his position as one of the best fighters in the world not competing in the UFC with a huge KO of Sandro that he set up with lethal body strikes. What sets Shlemenko apart is a crowd pleasing style that is based around his bludgeoning and unorthodox striking. If Shlemenko is on his game he literally clubs people to the KO. He even learned a little english, issuing what would be an open challenge with the words ‘Who wants this belt? Come on, in this cage, and I will beat you’.
Bellator is running a Middleweight tournament during season 8, so the winner of that is likely up next for ‘Storm’ Shlemenko.
In the Featherweight Tournament, favorite Marlon Sandro advanced with a 3 round Majority decision win over tough Russian Akop Stepanyan. Sandro was pushed in this fight more than any of the other men that advanced, so his status as tournament favorite may need to be reassessed.
As expected, Mike Richman made quick work out of Mitch Jackson, as the referee stepped in to stop in late in the opening round after he felled Jackson yet again, this time with a nice head kick.
Alexandre Bezarra, whose lone Bellator loss is to Marlon Sandro, caught a quick armbar victory over Genair Da Silva. Bezarra comes through relatively unscathed.
Magomedrasul “Frodo” Khasbulaev was very impressive as he took out Brazilian Fabricio Guerreiro early in the second round. The Russian showed explosiveness in getting out of being mounted early, and he should polished stand up and good ground fighting.
In the semi finals, which will occur in roughly a month, Richman will meet Alexandre “Popo” Bezerra and Marlon Sandro advances to face the potentiall dark horse of the tournament, ‘Frodo’!