Bellator 122 takes place Friday, July 25th at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California. Bellator’s second Summer Series event is headlined by two Season 10 tournament finals in the middleweight and welterweight divisions. This event also marks the beginning of a new era in Bellator—Scott Coker’s first event as Bellator CEO, taking over for the departing Bjorn Rebney.
Andrey Koreshkov wins welterweight tournament, title shot at Douglas Lima
In the main event the Season 10 welterweight tournament finals between Andrey Koreshkov (16-1) against the undefeated Adam McDonough (11-0). Koreshkov won his 2nd tournament title, following a season 7 win, in dominant fashion. And as a result earns a title shot at champion, Douglas Lima.
The Russian utilized an 8-inch reach difference to his advantage, came out aggressively stalking his opponent. Koreshkov defended McDonough’s first takedown attempt and made him pay with a kick to the body. McDonough, unable to get inside the distance of Koreshkov, swung and missed from the outside. Andrey Koreshkov continued to back McDonough back into the fence and unloaded with combinations to the head and body, each time. A dominant first round would end with Koreshkov mounting all of the offense.
Second round went similar to the first, with Adam McDonough unable to get the fight to the ground, and Koreshkov continuing to control the striking, while defending takedown attempts. A spinning back kick to the head of McDonough landed and dropped him to the canvas, but quickly recovering and getting back to his feet. McDonough continued his failed takedown attempts, which this time allowed Koreshkov to get on top and land ground and pound. Koreshkov would attempt another spinning back kick–partially blocked—to end the round.
Andrey Koreshkov continued to push the pace in round 3, landing his variety of kicks, compared to virtually no offense from Adam McDonough. After defending what was the 6th takedown attempt of the fight by McDonough, Koreshkov landed a knee to the side of the body, and got on top to finish the fight in Adam’s guard. In a moment of irony, McDonough would land his only takedown of the fight in the final seconds.
Andrey Koreshkov earned the clear judges’ unanimous decision and won his 2nd tournament title.
“I am very happy, I followed the steps and I don’t disappoint the team,” Koreshkov said of his victory.
The Season 10 4-man middleweight tournament final between Brett Cooper (20-10) and Brandon Halsey (7-0) is the co-main event on Bellator 122. Originally scheduled to take place at Bellator 119, but Cooper’s injury postponed the bout to this date. The two squared off to determine who would be next to face middleweight champion, Alexander Shlemenko.
Brandon Halsey submits Brett Cooper to win Season 10 Middleweight Tournament
Brandon Halsey right away took Brett Cooper down with a single leg and worked towards the armbar, rolling into position. Despite some resistance from Cooper, Halsey continued to crank on the arm and eventually forced Cooper to tap to the belly-down armbar.
Halsey, the late replacement in the tournament, remains undefeated and now earns a title shot at the champion.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world, you learn that all your hard work paid off,” Halsey said of winning the tournament.
“I’m coming for that belt,” was Halsey’s message to his next opponent and Bellator middleweight champion, Alexander Shlemenko.
The finals of the Summer Series light heavyweight tournament will also be determined as all four semifinalists competed on Bellator 122 to determine who advances for a shot at the light heavyweight title, currently held by Emanuel Newton.
Liam McGeary scores 1st round TKO, advances to face Kelly Anundson in the tournament finals
Kelly Anundson had already advanced in the preliminary bout and awaited the winner of Liam McGeary (8-0) and Egidijus Valavicius (27-11). McGeary remained undefeated and continued his streak of all finishes, scoring a 1st round TKO to advance to the finals of the tournament.
A massive 6-inch height and reach advantage enjoyed by the Brit, McGeary began the fight at distance, but quickly got into clinch range and unleashed a barrage of elbows and knees on Valavicius. Once, back in the center of the cage, Liam McGeary pushed forward and hurt the Lithuanian with a left and right hook combination. McGeary followed up with knees and short punches in the clinch as Valavicius began to cover up–leaving the referee no choice but to step in and end the bout in the first.
“I tried to carry this one on for five minutes for the round after, but it just happened you know,” McGeary said of his continual first round finishes.
Karo Pariysan puts The Heat on Phil Baroni
Kicking off the main card on Spike TV, two veteran big name welterweights: The “NYBA” Phil Baroni (15-18) makes his Bellator debut against Karo Parisyan (24-10). Baroni on the downside of his career, having won just 2 of his last 9 bouts, would be his 8th loss in 10 bouts.
Karo used his jab to control the distance, had Baroni backed up into the fence, and landed a grazing right uppercut that forced Baroni down to one knee. From there, Parisyan turned on the heat and finished Baroni will follow up punches, forcing the referee to step in.
After scoring the first TKO victory of his career in his last bout, Karo Parisyan followed up with his second.
“I felt great, the 2nd one in a row, I keep on coming baby,” Parisyan said.
“It’s only up from here now baby, I promise.”
A stacked preliminary card kicked off Bellator 122, featuring notable names such as Bubba Jenkins, Karl Amoussou, Saad Awad, and a summer series light heavyweight tournament semifinal between Kelly Anundson and Philipe Lins.
Augusto Sakai (6-0) scored a 7th career knockout victory and snapped Matt Frembling’s (9-2), 6-fight win streak. Both fighters came out cautious to start, the hometown favourite, Frembling cracked and dropped the Brazilian with a straight left. Frembling would remain on top for the majority of the round, but Sakai dropped him after the bell in round 1 with a knee in the clinch. Sakai continued to land in round 2 with a plethora of kicks to the body and legs of Frembling, however once again Frembling would drop Sakai with a short left and right uppercut to close out the round. Sakai came on strong in the 3rd, at the same time Frembling began to fade. The come back would be completed by Augusto Sakai when he landed a headkick that rocked Frembling, followed up with a knee for the knockout.
Bubba Jenkins (6-1) faces his most experienced fighter to date, in Poppies Martinez (29-9), and passed with flying colours. The Division I national champion wrestler, right away landed a powerful single leg takedown and taking the back of Martinez moments later. Jenkins also showcased some brief moments of newly improved standup, landing a couple of kicks and cracking Martinez with a good punch. It was Bubba Jenkins’ bread and butter that helped him score the first round TKO, landing ground and pound on Martinez from back control, until the ref stepped in.
Kelly Anundson (9-2) defeated Philipe Lins (9-1) in the Bellator Summer Series light heavyweight tournament semifinal under unfortunate circumstances. “Monstro” attempted to take the fight to the ground, but Anunson defended by landing a head and arm throw, leading to Lins rolling into guard. Back on the feet, Lins attempted a wild right hook, that led to him collapsing to the mat, as he planted his left knee and it buckled under him. The fight was stopped due to injury, and Kelly Anundson advances to the finals.
Fernando Gonzalez (21-12) pulled off an upset against the former title challenger, Karl Amoussou (17-7-2) edging out a close competitive 3-round bout on the judges’ scorecard.
A competitive first round, saw the debuting Strikeforce Veteran, Gonzalez edge out the round by out-striking Amoussou with his boxing and maintaining top position as Amoussou pulled guard late in the round. In round 2 the momentum shifted towards the Frenchman, who was able to using his height and reach to outbox Gonzalez with jabs and straight rights. Both fighters left nothing in the cage, coming out and swinging in the 3rd, Gonzalez began the round off to rapid pace, landing blows over and over to the head of Amoussou. But Karl would answer right back, coming forward the entire round. A late trip in the final minute by Fernando Gonzalez sealed the deal and the fight.
Saad Awad (16-6) avenged his loss to Joe Duarte (10-4) in a rematch from Strikeforce in 2011, which Duarte won a 2nd round armbar. Duarte last fought in Bellator at Bellator 13 in 2010, and two years away from the sport, dropped Awad with a counter right hand early. But Awad locked in a triangle choke from the guard, and elbows to the head of Duarte forced a TKO in just over 1 minute.
In the opening prelim, Sergio Rios (8-0) remained undefeated, coming back from losing the first round to knockout Stephen Martinez (10-3) with a front kick in the early stages of round 2, leading to the TKO stoppage.
Main Card (9 PM EST, Spike TV)
- Season 10 welterweight tournament final: Andrey Koreshkov def. Adam McDonough via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Season 10 welterweight tournament final: Brandon Halsey def. Brett Cooper via Submission (armbar)–Round 1, 2:09
- Summer Series light heavyweight tournament semifinal: Liam McGeary def. Egidijus Valavicius via TKO (strikes)–Round 1, 2:10
- Karo Parisyan def. Phil Baroni via TKO (punches)–Round 1, 2:06
PRELIMINARY CARD (7 PM EST, Spike.com)
- Linton Vassell vs. Virgil Zwicker
- Augusto Sakai def. Matt Frembling via TKO (strikes)–Round 3, 3:32
- Bubba Jenkins def. Poppies Martinez via TKO (strikes)–Round 1, 4:10
- Summer Series light heavyweight tournament semifinal: Kelly Anundson def. Philipe Lins via TKO (injury)–Round 1, 1:40
- Fernando Gonzalez def. Karl Amoussou via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Saad Awad def. Joe Duarte via TKO (unanswered strikes)–Round 1, 1:18
- Sergio Rios def. Stephen Martinez via TKO (strikes)–Round 2, 0:20
Heavyweight bout: Manny Lara vs. Dmitriy Sosnovskiy was cancelled due to Lara’s illness.