Last night, Bellator 92 went down out in California with semi final bouts in their season 8 Middleweight and Featherweight tournaments. In a pair of Featherweight wars, Magomedrasul Khasbulaev defeated Marlon Sandro by KO and Mike Richman won a split decision over Alexandre Bezerra. The middleweight tournament also featured a KO and a split decision as Doug Marshall took out Sultan Aliev by SD and Brett Cooper dropped Dan Cramer.
There was much talk heading into the tournament about the favorite being Marlon Sandro, as he had a lot of Bellator cage experience and his training camp with teammates that are UFC Champions (Renan Barao, Jose Aldo) were thought to be a cut above. Sandro was not ready for the rush of ‘Frodo’ who looked good on the ground in threatening submissions a was abusive in the striking game.
Mike Richman will face ‘Frodo’ in the finals as he won a difficult, grind of a fight with Bezarra where he was taken down in rounds 1 and 3 and had to use his stand up game to impress. He bloodied Bezarra in the second round, which was his best round, but an argument could be made for Bezarra.
Regardless, ‘Frodo’ will be the favorite heading into the finals, as he put out energy but not the same kind that Richman did in surviving. ’Frodo’ is fresher heading into the finals, which are just a few short weeks away.
The Middleweight final will have Doug Marshall facing Brett Cooper as both men came through long, tough battles in the semi finals. Marshall spent a lot of energy beating Aliev, who had a big first round before he tired as the fight went on. Still, many observers felt Aliev had done enough to win the fight.
On the other end of the bracket, Dan Cramer owned the first two rounds against Brett Cooper, however Cooper was lucid throughout the fight and as both men tired in the third round, Cooper threw an uppercut that KO’d Cramer and gave him the fight.
I look for Cooper to come in a slight favorite over Marshall for the finals. The winner gets a match with Bellator Middleweight Champion Alexander Shlemenko.