Bellator 116 took place Friday evening at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California. It featured two Bellator Season 10 Heavyweight tournament semifinals, in addition to a welterweight and a middleweight tournament semifinal, and also the retirement of one of the long-time veterans of the sport.
Blagoi Ivanov remains undefeated, advances to the heavyweight tournament finals
In the main event of Bellator 116, the second of two heavyweight tournament semifinals took place between Lavar Johnson and the undefeated 10-0 Blagoi Ivanov. With both fighters having gone to a combined 3 decisions in their 36 combined fight careers, it was safe this one was not going to a decision.
Ivanov got a hold of Johnson right at the start and took him down with a single leg against the fence. Ivanov attempted several leg locks but Johnson defended and got back up to his feet. From the clinch, Ivanov locked in a standing guillotine, which prompted Johnson to pick him up and scoop slam him onto the mat. Johnson then mounted Blagoi but easily allowed him to get back up to his feet.
Using a head and arm throw, Ivanov got side control on Johnson on the mat and secured an americana for the tap and securing his spot in the Bellator heavyweight tournament finals.
“I feel amazing, I thanks god because I’m here. I want to thank all my friends and family and to all my coaches,” Ivanov said post-fight.
“I know he’s good guy, I think I will beat him.” Ivanov said of his upcoming opponent in the finals, Alexander Volkov.
“The Janitor” cleaned his last cage
Vladimir “The Janitor” Matyushenko competed in his 35th and final professional MMA bout, and “The Mexicutioner” Joey Beltran had the honor of being his final opponent. Having competed in the sport since 1997, Matyushenko called it a career
Matyushenko did well to avoid getting into brawling exchanges with Beltran, keeping his distance and throwing first, landing 1 or 2 shots at a time–exchanges that he would get the better of as Beltran was not able to return fire. Towards the end of the 2nd round, Matyushenko would begin the tire and shoot for desperation takedowns. Going into the 3rd and final round of Vladimir’s career, all he needed to do was survive and secure the victory. But Beltran did not make things easy, as he turned up the pace on an exhausted Matyushenko and began unloading combinations to the body. Beltran would get the fight to the ground and transition into a north/south choke forcing Vladimir Matyushenko to tap out.
Just the 2nd submission win in Beltran’s career, and also the 2nd submission loss in Matyushenko’s career.
“Yeah I guess it’s time, that’s why I’m going to put my gloves here,” Matyushenko said, as he laid his gloves in the middle of the Bellator cage. “I want to thank the fans for all their support. I also want to thank all the fighters that I’ve fought with and I’ve trained with, it was a pleasure.”
Adam McDonough remains undefeated, headed to the welterweight tournament finals
Nathan Coy took on the undefeated Adam McDonough (10-0) in the welterweight semifinal, and was aggressive early on in trying to get the takedown. But would quickly be reeling against the proverbial ropes, as Coy survived narrowly being finished in the first round when McDonough landed a huge right hand that rocked him and continued to follow up with ground and pound, but Coy would weather the storm and survive. But Adam McDonough did not let him off the hook when round 2 began, a straight right hand would stagger Coy once again, and this time a left hook would put him away for good.
“Round 2 baby, let’s finish the fight” was what McDonough was thinking in between rounds after nearly ending the fight in round 1.
McDonough now awaits the other semi-final between Andrey Koreshkov and Sam Oropeza, which was originally scheduled to take place at Bellator 115, but now postponed to Bellator 118, to see who he will face in the finals.
“Both of them are complete studs, that’s what Bellator does they put the best of the best in here, and may the best man win,” McDonough said. “don’t be confused by my niceness cause I’m coming to win this thing.”
Alexander Volkov kicks his way into the Bellator heavyweight tournament finals
Alexander Volkov is on a quest to regain what was once his, as he punched (kicked) his ticket into the heavyweight tournament finals against “Mighty Mo” Siala-Mou Siliga. Mo began the fight by closing the distance and attempting to get the fight to the ground against the much taller 6’7″ Volkov, but Volkov would defend easily and separate. A few moments following the separation, Volkov landed a 1-2 combination followed by a left high kick right on chin that sent Mighty Mo crashing to the canvas. An incredible one-shot knockout.
“We practiced that kick, exactly the one,” Volkov said.
Volkov now meets Ivanov in the heavyweight tournament finals, which will take place at Bellator 119 in May.
Brandon Halsey punches his ticket into the Season 10 Bellator Middleweight Tournament Finals
Joe Pachecho vs Brandon Hasley were both inserted into the season 10 middleweight tournament as semifinalists when the previous week, the original semifinalists– Jeremy Kimball and Dan Cramer–did not compete due to Kimball missing weight, and Cramer not taking a fight with another fellow middleweight, the result was their semifinal bout being cancelled all together.
Well their loss, was Brandon “Bull” Halsey’s gain, as he used his wrestling and heavy top control to remain undefeated at 6-0, defeating Joe Pachecho via a dominant unanimous decision to advance to the tournament semi finals.
Brett Cooper awaits Halsey in the finals, as he booked his place by knocking out Kendall Grove at Bellator 114.
“He’s the bull, I’m the matador, I’m coming to finish,” Cooper said of Halsey post-fight in the ring.
A boatload of recognizable names on the Bellator 116 prelims, including Rodney Wallace, Keith Berry, Karo Parysian, Poppies Martinez, and Rob Emerson.
Karo Parysian earned his first Bellator victory, but did not come without adversity as he was losing the fight–being out struck by a fairly large margin by Ron Keslar on the feet, that is until he turned the tables with one punch. As the two were separating from the clinch, Karo landed a perfectly placed right hand on the button that knocked out Keslar. Karo’s first career KO/TKO win in 34 fights.
Rob Emerson and Joe Taimanglo engaged in one of the more entertaining fights on the card, Emerson had a clear advantage on the feet, while Taimanglo had the advantage on the ground. Emerson was able to catch Taimanglo again and again with his lead hook and stun the Guam fighter, while surviving on the ground after Taimanglo had taken his back several times in the first two rounds. Emerson made a successful bantamweight debut winning via unanimous decision.
Rodney “Sho Nuff the Master” Wallace was able to use his boxing and jab, despite having a shorter reach than his opponent Carlos Eduardo. Wallace was able to keep Eduardo at a distance, continue to land and out-strike his opponent for the unanimous decision victory in his Bellator debut.
Also on the prelims, Ricky Rainey and Philipe Lins both had successful Bellator debuts and made quick work of their opponents, both winning in and around 1 minute.
Full Bellator 116 Results
MAIN CARD (Spike TV, 9 p.m. ET)
Heavyweight tournament semifinal: Blagoi Ivanov def. Lavar Johnson via Submission (americana)–Round 1, 4:08
Joey Beltran def. Vladimir Matyushenko via Submission (north/south choke)–Round 3, 3:06
Welterweight tournament semifinal: Nathan Coy vs. Adam McDonough via Knockout (left hook)–Round 1, 0:30
Heavyweight tournament semifinal: Alexander Volkov def. Siala-Mou Siliga via Knockout (head kick)–Round 1, 2:44
PRELIMINARY CARD (7 PM EST, Spike.com)
Keith Berry vs. Dave Vitkay
Poppies Martinez vs. Josh Smith
Brandon Bender vs. Mario Navarro
Middleweight tournament semifinal: Brandon Halsey def. Joe Pacheco via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Karo Parisyan def. Ron Keslar via Knockout (punch)–Round 2, 4:05
Rob Emerson def. Joe Taimanglo via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
180lb catchweight bout: Ricky Rainey def. Andy Murad via TKO (combination punches)–Round 1, 1:11
Philipe Lins def. Travis Clark via Submission (rear naked choke)–Round 1, 0:40
Rodney Wallace def. Carlos Eduardo via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Tags: Adam McDonough Alexander Volkov Andy Murad Blagoi Ivanov Brandon Bender Brandon Halsey Carlos Eduardo Dave Vitkay Joe Pacheco Joe Taimanglo Joey Beltran Josh Smith Karo Parisyan Keith Berry Lavar Johnson Mario Navarro Mighty Mo Nathan Coy Philipe Lins Poppies Martinez Ricky Rainey Rob Emerson Rodney Wallace Ron Keslar Travis Clark Vladimir Matyushenko