Alexander Shlemenko secured career win No. 50, defended his Bellator MMA middleweight title for the third time, and extended his winning streak to 13 fights with a dazzling performance in tonight’s Bellator 114 headliner.
Shlemenko (50-7 MMA, 11-1 BMMA) overcame some first-round troubles to score a second-round submission victory over Brennan Ward (9-2 MMA, 5-2 BMMA).
The event took place at the Maverik Center in West Valley, Utah. The main card aired on Spike TV following prelims on Spike.com.
Ward, who scored three stoppage wins in the Season 9 tournament to earn his title shot, initially proved game for Shlemenko, who’s ranked No. 11 in the latest USA TODAY Sports MMA middleweight rankings. He traded leather with the Russian and landed some solid punches and a crisp elbow. He also threatened with a rear-naked choke for nearly two minutes in toward the end round.
However, despite his success in the opening round, Ward didn’t survive the second.
After the fighters traded some early punches and kicks, they scrambled, and Shlemenko eventually found himself standing in front of a kneeling Ward. The veteran swiftly locked on a 10-finger guillotine choke and forced a quick tap-out.
The stoppage came at the 1:22 mark of the round.
“I was waiting,” the 29-year-old Shlemenko said after the fight. “I knew he was going to get tired by the second round.”
Weichel earns judges’ nod over Bessette
Daniel Weichel continually put Matt Bessette on his back, was quicker to the punch, did more damage on the ground and eventually earned himself a unanimous-decision victory.
The bout, which was the first of two Season 10 featherweight-tournament semifinals on the card, was competitive, but Weichel always seemed a step ahead.
After a takedown and solid ground and pound in the first round, Weichel effectively countered Bessette, who initially proved effective off his back, as he tried to pick up the pace in the second round. In the final frame, Weichel again used a takedown and a dominating top game to ride out the victory.
In the end, the judges scored it 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 for Weichel.
Weichel (33-8 MMA, 2-0 BMMA), a longtime M-1 fighter, is now 10-1 over his past 11 fights. Bessette (13-5 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) suffers his first Bellator loss while snapping a five-fight winning streak.
Green edges Martinez in tourney semifinal
It wasn’t a performance you’ll see on highlight reels, but Desmond Green used takedowns and cage control to earn a unanimous-decision victory over Will Martinez.
The Season 10 featherweight-tournament semifinal featured only pockets of action. After some early exchanges, Green soon resorted to takedowns and top control while Martinez seemed stumped as how to combat his opponent’s plan.
Early in the third round as his opponent stalked, Martinez put his back against the cage and simply ate punches and kicks before Green surprisingly circled away and let him reset in the center of the cage.
The pace picked up later in the round, and Martinez finally showed some signs of life and clipped his opponent with a few solid shots. But Green sealed the deal with a late takedown.
In the end, he earned the unanimous-decision victory via 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 scores, and he’s now got a ticket to the tourney final.
Green (11-2 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) has now won three straight fights and five of his past six. Martinez (9-3-1 MMA, 5-1 BMMA) suffers his first Bellator loss while snapping a three-year-long eight-fight winning streak.
Cooper rallies to KO Grove
Brett Cooper was seconds away from a first-round loss, and as the second frame got started, he was looking in no better shape against UFC vet Kendall Grove.
But a few well-timed and perfectly placed right hands eventually salvaged his night and earned him a ticket to the Season 10 middleweight tournament final.
Grove dominated the first round after scoring a takedown, taking his opponent’s back and eventually working for a rear-naked choke. However, he was most effective with a late-round barrage of punches from mount that Cooper only narrowly survived. Cooper was turtled up and eating dozens of shots, but he was saved by the bell – and made the most of it a few minutes later.
As Grove’s reach continued presenting problems in the following round, Cooper finally pushed his way forward and landed a flush uppercut. A follow-up overhand right sent Grove crashing to the mat, and Cooper unloaded a quick flurry of punches to force a knockout stoppage at the 3:33 mark of the round.
With the comeback win, Cooper (20-9 MMA, 7-4 BMMA) halts a two-fight skid and picks up his first victory in a year. Grove (20-14 MMA, 1-1 BMMA), meanwhile, halts a two-fight winning streak.
Official Bellator 114 results include:
MAIN CARD (Spike TV)
- Alexander Shlemenko def. Brennan Ward via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 2, 1:22 – to retain middleweight title
- Daniel Weichel def. Matt Bessette via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) – featherweight tournament semifinal
- Desmond Green def. Will Martinez via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27) – welterweight tournament semifinal
- Brett Cooper def. Kendall Grove via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 3:33 – middleweight tournament semifinal
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com)
- Rad Martinez def. Edson Berto via unanimous decision
- Justin Wilcox def. Jason Fischer via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Bubba Jenkins def. Sean Powers via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Linton Vassell def. Trevor Carlson via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 1:54
- Gavin Sterritt def. Mike Estus via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 3:29
- Joe Rodriguez def. Eric Wahlin via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 2:06