Bellator returned to Ohio last night (Oct. 26, 2012) with the continuation of its season seven welterweight tournament with the semifinals plus a pair of top Ohio talents being put on display. There were plenty of exciting moments, although things would have been much better had the referees not made themselves so visible in the final two bouts.
In the main event of the evening, former Bellator welterweight champion Lyman Good took on hungry Russian grappler Michail Tsarev. Good surprised everyone by bullrushing Tsarev immediately and taking him down within the opening seconds of the fight. He spent the majority of the first round in top position looking to drop punches and pass guard while Tsarev simply held on without threatening much from bottom.
Round two was completely different, however as Good had difficulty taking Tsarev down and the Russian responded with a multitude of aggressive kicks from distance and actually getting the better of the striking exchanges, which is normally Good's specialty.
Near the end of the round, Good threw a straight left hand that missed, but his thumb jabbed Tsarev's right eye as his hand sailed past his head. Tsarev immediately grabbed his eye, backed off, motioned to the ref and turned to the ref to be given a few moments to recover. The ref seemed ready to oblige, stepping forward and looking like he was going to halt the action, but Good also stepped forward and began teeing off with a flurry of punches along the fence.
Inexplicably, the ref just backed off and let them slug it out. Eventually, Good overwhelmed Tsarev and the ref finally intervened to put a stop to the fight. The Russians were visibly upset with how it all went down and deservedly so.
In the co-main event of the evening, unbeaten Russian Andrey Koreshkov battled former Dream welterweight champion Marius Zaromskis in a tournament semifinal bout. Zaromskis was his typical self, stepping forward and trying to put pressure on Koreshkov, but "The Spartan" battled back with a series of sharp and explosive counter strikes which landed with deadly accuracy.
After scoring with punches, knees and kicks, a left hook from Koreshkov landed in the sweet spot and Zaromskis lost his bearings badly, falling down along the fence. Koreshkov swarmed and began unloading with huge left hands but the referee didn't step in until Zaromskis had already taken about 10 unanswered blows, at least five or six too many, to give Koreshkov the first round victory.
In featherweight action, Bellator season six 145 pound tournament champion Daniel Straus took a fight against UFC veteran Alvin Robinson while waiting for his title shot. Robinson was a black belt with almost all of his career wins coming by way of submission on the ground, but that didn't stop Straus from immediately pressuring him and taking the fight to the canvas in the opening seconds.
Straus survived a few submission attempts and a failed scramble to eventually win the round, but his pressure was too much for Robinson in round two as the Vision MMA fighter kept a high pace and pushed Robinson to his limits on the ground. Straus secured dominant positions, repeatedly tossing Robinson to the ground and eventually took his back, sinking in a rear naked choke and forcing a tap with just seconds remaining in the second round.
In the opening bout of the main card, powerhouse middleweight striker Brian Rogers took on fellow Ohioan Dominique Steele. Rogers was coming off a knockout loss and had switched to becoming a full-time fighter. His approach was clearly different in this match, fighting much more measured than in prior bouts.
Despite the measured approach, Rogers still cracked Steele with heavy shots, rocking him on multiple occasions but he couldn't put him away. Steele hung in like a champ and took his licks, but he kept moving forward and trying to score with his right hand or get a takedown.
Steele's face was a bloody swollen mess by the time the full fifteen minutes were up, but he had won the crowd with his gutsy performance. It didn't help with the judges, however, as they unanimous decided with Rogers via a clean sweep of 30-27 across the boards.
So what did you think of the fights last night, Maniacs?
Were you as disappointed with the refereeing in the final two bouts as I was? Who do you think will win this season's welterweight tournament now that it's down to Koreshkov and Good?