By: William Holmes, Ringside
Bellator Season 8 concluded at the Revel Atlantic City and featured the middleweight and featherweight tournament championships, as well as a featherweight world championship bout between Shahbulat Shamhalaev and the champion Pat Curran.
Bellator has long used Bally’s Casino to stage their fights whenever they came to Atlantic City, but due to their rising popularity and with the support of Spike they’re now able to stage shows in the much larger and eye pleasing Ovation Hall at the Revel Casino.
The first televised fight of the night was between two Judo specialists, UFC veteran Karo Parisyan (22-9) and Rick Hawn (14-2) in the welterweight division. Rick Hawn previously challenged Michael Chandler for the Bellator Lightweight belt but was unsuccessful. His foray into the welterweight division however turned out to be good decision.
Parisyan and Hawn started off cautiously, and Parisyan threw several wild overhand rights. Parisyan complained of a low blow in the first round but replays showed that Hawn hit Parisyan with a knee to the belly. Hawn landed a few outside leg kicks and ended the first round strongly by landing a high right kick followed up with a blistering combination. Hawn came out for the second round confident and ended the fight with a straight right hand that sent a wobbly Parisyan to the canvas. Hawn followed it up with some ground and pound and the referee stopped the bout at 1:55 of the second round.
Afterwards Rick Hawn announced that he’s going back to the lightweight division.
The next bout of the night was the middleweight tournament final between Brett Cooper (19-7) and former WEC Light Heavyweight Champion Doug Marshall (17-6). Marshall is 36 years old and this was likely his last chance at a legitimate world title, and he took advantage of it.
Cooper staggered Marshall early in the first round with a combination and then took him down near the cage into half guard position. Marshall was able to wall walk and get back to his feet, but Cooper took him down again and landed a few more short punches. Marshall was able to get up again, except this time he landed three very hard measured right hands, and the last one brutally dropped Cooper. Marshall followed it up with one more right hand while Cooper laid motionless on the ground and the referee quickly stopped the bout. Doug Marshall wins the middleweight tournament with a 1st round KO at 3:39.
Frodo Khasbulaev (20-5) and Mike Richman (15-2) met next for the featherweight tournament championship. Richman was a southpaw with a reach and height advantage, but Khasbulaev was extremely aggressive and at times wild. Khasbulaev mixed up his combinations well in the first round and kept Richman guessing by attacking with both punches and kicks. Richman momentarily slowed Khasbulaev down with a crisp straight left hand, but Khasbulaev ended the first round strong with an inside leg kick and a two punch combination to the head.
In the second round Richman’s nose was bleeding. Khasbulaev was wild with his combinations and throwing bombs. Richman however began to settle down and landed solid punches to Khasbulaev and opened up a cut near Khasbulaev’s right eye.
The third round featured both fighters landing their own combinations, but Khasbulaev landed two takedowns and connected with a perfect superman punch. This fight was entertaining, and in the end the judges scored it 30-27, 30-27, and 30-27 for Frodo Khasbulaev.
The main event of the night was between Shahbulat Shamhalaev (12-1) and Pat Curran (18-4) for the Featherweight World Championship and it was a short one. Both fighters seemed hesitant to exchange and Curran shot in on an extremely quick power double leg and transitioned to an arm in guillotine choke. Shamhalaev did not tap but lost consciousness while the choke was applied. Pat Curran retained his title with a guillotine choke submission at 2: 38 of round one.
Undercard Quick Results:
Liam McGeary (4-0) defeated Anton Talamantes (5-4) by TKO; Light Heavyweights
Kevin Roddy (13-14-1) defeated Brylan Van Artsdalen (7-6) via armbar; Featherweights
Will Martinez (6-2) defeated Michael Brent Hess (3-2) by 1st round KO at 4:15; Featherweights
Jimmie Rivera (12-1) defeated Brian Kelleher (7-4) by unanimous decision with scores of 30-27, 29-28, and 29-28 ; Catchweight (140 lbs)
Phillipe Nover (8-5-1) defeated Darrell Horcher (7-1) by unanimous decision with scores of 29-28, 30-27, and 30-27; Lightweights
Tom DeBlass (9-2) defeated Carlos Brooks (4-3) by TKO at 5:00 of round 2; Middleweights
Sam Oropeza (8-2) defeated Shedrick Goodridge (3-5) by TKO at 4:22 of round 2; Welterweights
Lyman Good (15-3) defeated Dante Rivera (15-7) by unanimous decision with scores of 29-28, 30-27, and 30-27.; Welterweights