Alexander Shlemenko caught Brennan Ward by surprise. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Brennan Ward left his neck exposed, and Alexander Shlemenko made him pay.
Shlemenko submitted “The Irish Bad Boy” with a second-round guillotine choke to retain his Bellator MMA middleweight championship in the Bellator 114 main event on Friday at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah. Ward (9-2, 5-2 Bellator) conceded defeat 1:22 into round two, his modest four-fight winning streak halted.
The champion was forced to tread water through much of the first round, as Ward twice transitioned to his back and fished unsuccessfully for rear-naked chokes. Shlemenko invested heavily in kicks to the body, slowing the standup advances of the Season 9 tournament winner. In the second round, the Russian “Storm” caught the fight-ending guillotine during an ill-advised single-leg takedown attempt from Ward. Soon after, the challenger tapped.
Shlemenko (50-7, 11-1 Bellator) has won 28 of his past 30 fights, including 13 straight.
“I’m very glad that I got this victory, and I hope my next 50 victories come in a row,” he said. “Thanks very much to Brennan Ward for the great fight. I was waiting. I knew he would get tired by the second round, so I was just waiting. It is a fight, you know?”
Weichel Wins Fifth Straight, Eliminates Bessette
Former M-1 Global champion Daniel Weichel extended his current winning streak to five fights with a unanimous verdict over Matt Bessette in their Season 10 featherweight tournament semifinal. Weichel (33-8, 2-0 Bellator) swept the scorecards with 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 nods from the cageside judges.
Weichel controlled rounds one and three with an active top game, neutralizing “The Mangler” and forcing him to expend energy from his back. Bessette (13-5, 4-1 Bellator) appeared to turn a corner in the second round, where he landed in combination, attacked with close-quarters knees and stunned the German grappler with a short right hand.
However, Weichel found his second wind over the final five minutes, pinning the Connecticut-based Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt to the canvas and riding out the decision.
Green Outpoints Martinez in Semis
Takedowns and a suffocating top game carried Desmond Green to a unanimous decision over Will Martinez in the Season 10 featherweight tournament semifinals. All three judges scored it for Green (11-2, 3-1 Bellator): 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.
Outside of a crisp left hook in the third round, Martinez (9-3-1, 5-1 Bellator) was largely ineffective from an offensive standpoint. Green pecked away from the outside with punches and leg kicks, mixing in tactical takedowns throughout the 15-minute battle. “The Predator” has rattled off five wins in his last six appearances.
The defeat halted an eight-fight winning streak for Martinez.
Cooper KOs Grove, Advances to Final
Reign MMA’s Brett Cooper knocked out Kendall Grove with an overhand right and a violent volley of follow-up ground strikes in the Season 10 middleweight tournament semifinals. Cooper (20-9, 7-4 Bellator) drew the curtain on the lanky Hawaiian 3:33 into round two.
Grove (19-14, 1-1 Bellator) nearly finished it in the first round, where he struck for a takedown, cinched a body lock and unloaded with punches from back mount. “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 winner’s chin betrayed him in round two, as Cooper cracked him with an overhand, trailed him to the canvas and left him unconscious against the cage.
“He whooped my ass [in] the first round,” Cooper said. “I think that was pretty obvious. I knew I had to come back. Everybody said to keep going forward. He’s a tall guy, so the plan was obviously to come over the top, because out-jabbing somebody who is 6-foot 5 is not exactly easy.”
Cooper will face the winner of the Bellator 115 semifinal matchup between Dan Cramer and Jeremy Kimball in the tournament final.
Prelims: Wilcox, Jenkins Notch Unanimous Decisions
Strikeforce veteran Justin Wilcox (14-6, 3-1 Bellator) coasted to a unanimous decision against Jason Fischer (6-3, 3-3 Bellator) in a non-descript lightweight encounter, earning 29-28 scores from all three judges; onetime NCAA wrestling champion Bubba Jenkins (6-1, 3-1 Bellator) cruised to a unanimous verdict over Sean Powers (8-5, 1-1 Bellator) in a lopsided 155-pound affair, sweeping the scorecards by identical 30-27 marks; Cage Warriors Fighting Championship alum Linton Vassell (13-3, 2-0 Bellator) submitted Trevor Carlson (7-2, 0-1 Bellator) with a rear-naked choke 1:54 into the second round of their light heavyweight tilt; Gavin Sterritt (6-1, 2-0 Bellator) tapped
Mike Estus (6-2, 0-2 Bellator) with an arm-free guillotine choke 3:29 into round one of their clash at 170 pounds; Joe Rodriguez (3-2, 1-1 Bellator) submitted Eric Wahlin (5-3, 0-1 Bellator) with an arm-triangle choke 2:06 into the second round of their middleweight scrap; and Rad Martinez (15-3, 5-1 Bellator) notched a unanimous decision against EliteXC veteran Edson Berto (17-12-1, 1-2 Bellator) in a featherweight matchup.