Blagoi Ivanov kept his undefeated record intact on Friday night (April 11, 2014), as he submitted Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran Lavar Johnson via Americana in the main event of Bellator 116, which took place inside Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California.
The submission came late in a back-and-forth opening round that saw both men trade moments of dominance, including an impressive power body slam takedown executed by Johnson, and a slick head and arm throw into side control from Ivanov, which set up the eventual finish.
With the victory over Johnson, Ivanov advances the finals of the season 10 heavyweight tournament, where he will face former 265-pound champion Alexander Volkov, who won his semifinal bout against Siala-Mou "Mighty Mo" Siliga in impressive fashion in the opening bout of the televised portion of last night's show.
Volkov needed just two minutes and 44 seconds to make short work of his opponent, thanks to a devastating headkick that knocked Mighty Mo out immediately upon impact.
In the co-main event of the show, a battle between former UFC mainstays ended when Joey Beltran pulled off a come-from-behind victory over Vladimir Matyushenko via a third-round North South Choke.
Although the fight was close, it appeared Beltran was down on the scorecards heading into the third round. However, the body shots Beltran landed throughout the fight appeared to pay off for him, as "The Janitor" came out sluggish in the third. The finish came after an exhausted Matyushenko shot for a takedown and Beltran ended up on top, where he would eventually secure the submission.
In addition to the semifinal round of the heavyweight tournament, one half of the welterweight semifinals was also decided when Adam McDonough defeated Nathan Coy via technical knockout at 0:30 of the second round.
However, perhaps the most newsworthy moment on the show didn't happen inside the Octagon. During a cageside interview with announcer Jimmy Smith, former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz announced he would be making his Bellator debut in a 205-pound feature attraction fight against middleweight champ Alexander Shlemenko on May 17 at Bellator 120.
More on that here.
Bellator returns to Spike TV next Friday, April 18, with a main event featuring Douglas Lima versus Rick Hawn to decide the vacant welterweight championship.
Full Bellator 116 results and play-by-play right here.