Bellator Fighting Championships returns TONIGHT (Feb. 7, 2013) at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia, with a middleweight title fight and the season eight featherweight tournament quarterfinals.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of Bellator 88 below, beginning with the Spike TV telecast at 10 p.m. ET. In addition, we'll deliver up-to-the-minute quick results of all the undercard action much earlier in the evening (beginning at 8 p.m. ET), as well as a live stream of the preliminary action.
Headlining the main event will be a Bellator middleweight title fight between season five tournament winner Alexander Shlemenko and season six tournament winner Maiquel Falcao. Both men are vying to fill the huge gap that former champion Hector Lombard vacated when he left Bellator for the UFC
Also on tap, top Brazilian veteran Marlon Sandro returns to the Bellator cage for his third tournament. The knockout artist has been a two-time finalist and is hoping to finally push himself over the top and win one to avenge his losses to Pat Curran and Daniel Straus.
The featherweight tournament will continue as Fabricio Guerreiro battles Russian prospect Magomedrasul Khasbulaev, Brazilians Alexandre Bezerra and Genair da Silva wage war and top striker Mike Richman takes on Minnesota rival Mitch Jackson.
Complete Bellator 88 quick results, live stream and play-by-play are posted below:
Main Card (Spike TV)
185 lb. title: Alexander Shlemenko def. Maiquel Falcão via knockout (ground and pound) at 2:18 of round two
145 lbs.: Marlon Sandro def. Akop Stepanyan via majority decision
145 lbs.: Mike Richman def. Mitch Jackson via knockout (head kick + punches) at 4:57 of round one
145 lbs.: Alexandre Bezerra def. Genair da Silva via submission (armbar) at 1:40 of round one
Preliminary Card (Spike.com)
145 lbs.: Magomedrasul Khasbulaev def. Fabricio Guerreiro via submission (arm triangle)
145 lbs.: George Hickman def. Stephen Upchurch via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:19 of round one
160 lbs.: Clay Harvison def. Ururahy Rodrigues via TKO (strikes) at 3:34 of round three
155 lbs.: Ronnie Rogers def. Shane Crenshaw via unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Joe Elmore def. Jerrid Burke via knockout at 4:11 of round two
|Bellator Live Stream|
185 lb. title: Alexander Shlemenko vs. Maiquel Falcão
Round one: Both men come out swinging and Falcao backs Shlemenko off with a knee early. Body kick from Shlemenko and he throws a right hand but both are blocked. Body punch from Shlemenko and Falcao throws a nice right hand that lands. Spinning back fist from Shlemenko but Falcao uses it against him to drag him to the ground briefly. Shlemenko pops to his feet and Falcao throws a few knees to the back of the legs but he turns into him. Good left hand from Falcao on the inside and Shlemenko comes up short with a left hook. Nice knee on the inside from Falcao and he looks to be the quicker man early on. Shlemenko finds a home for his lead left hook and he scores and outside trip in the cage center. Falcao locks his arms down and the ref stands them up. Spinning back kick from Shlemenko grazes Falcao and he's starting to turn up the aggression. Falcao works for a takedown but pulls Shlemenko on top of him before popping back to his feet. They struggle in the clinch and Shlemenko lands a knee but Falcao fires back with some short punches on the inside. Shlemenko attempts another trip but gets denied and scores with an elbow before time expires. 10-9 Shlemenko
Round two: Falcao presses the action early, throwing a combination and then a knee on the inside. Straight punch lands for Shlemenko and he drops with a left hand to the body. Spinning back kick misses for Shlemenko and Falcao is working for a takedown but can't get it. Falcao has a Thai plum but can't score with a knee and they separate. Heavy left hand lands for Shlemenko and Falcao presses forward with a big flurry of punches. Shlemenko fires back with heavy punches to the head and body with Falcao against the fence. Spinning back kick misses but Shlemenko tags him with a short right hand and Falcao drops to his back. Shlemenko drops a huge right and a left and Falcao is out cold!
Final Result: Alexander Shlemenko defeats Maiquel Falcao via knockout at 2:18 of round two
145 lbs.: Marlon Sandro vs. Akop Stepanyan
Round one: Sandro probes with a head kick and Stepanyan attacks with a spinning kick to back him off. Sandro shoots in for a takedown and lifts Stepanyan into the air but can't complete the takedown. Sandro has a reverse body lock against the fence, and he nearly lifts Stepanyan into the air again but he grabs the fence and gets warned by the referee. Stepanyan throws a kick but it's caught by Sandro, although he can't take him down. Spinning back kick from Stepanyan grazes and Sandro steps inside with a right hand. Another pair of spinning kicks from Stepanyan but he can't quite land it dead center. Flying knee from Stepanyan slightly connects and Sandro fires back with a leg kick. Clubbing right hand from Sandro but Stepanyan counters with a body kick. Heavy right hand from Sandro and Stepanyan counters with a right hand over the top. Sandro closes the distance and is looking for a takedown, lifting Stepanyan into the air and landing in his guard. Stepanyan locks him down defensively but they stay that way until the bell sounds. 10-9 Stepanyan
Round two: Stepanyan opens aggressively and Sandro attempts a takedown but he can't get it. Stepanyan blasts him with a spinning kick to the head and Sandro is wobbled. Stepanyan turns it on and Sandro is still hurt, he can't get his bearings. After some more punches, Sandro shoots in for another takedown but Stepanyan takes top position, although he can't do much with it. Stepanyan backs off and they're back to their feet. Sandro throws his right hand but he can't find a home for it. Body kick lands fo rSandro and Stepanyan is still in control. Heavy body kick from Stepanyan and Sandro telegraphs a bad takedown which is avoided easily. Spinning kick from Stepanyan and he shrugs off another takedown attempt by Sandro. Heavy body kick from Stepanyan and Sandro partially blocks it. Good right hand connects for Stepanyan and Sandro shoots in for a takedown, grabbing a body lock and dropping down for a heel hook but he can't cinch it in before the round concludes. 10-9 Stepanyan
Round three: The referee has taken a point away from Stepanyan for grabbing the cage at the very end of the second round, which means Sandro can perhaps tie this fight or win it if he can dominate. Sandro quickly scores a takedown and passes to half guard on top. Short right hands from Sandro while on top and he's working to pass to side control. Sandro drops elbows from top position and wow, the referee stood them up. Leg kick from Stepanyan and he throws a spinning back kick which allows Sandro to take him down again. Sandro slams Stepanyan slightly, then again trying to create space to work. He maneuvers Stepanyan towards the fence
Final Result: Marlon Sandro defeats Akop Stepanyan via majority decision (28-28, 29-27, 29-27)
145 lbs.: Alexandre Bezerra vs. Genair da Silva
Round one: Da Silva is looking for the big strikes early on, landing a good right hand but he shoots in for a takedown and can't get it. Bezerra lands a stiff left jab that rocks da Silva and he pounces on da Silva, working for a standing rear naked choke and he gets both hooks in as da Silva is still standing. Da Silva is hunched over along the fence and he peels Bezerra off him, landing on top. Da Silva drops huge hammerfists on Bezerra but Popo grabs his exposed arm and latches on an armbar, rolling for the submission finish and da Silva taps!
Final Result: Alexandre Bezerra defeats Genair da Silva via submission (armbar) at 1:40 of round one
145 lbs.: Mitch Jackson vs. Mike Richman
Round one: Pawing left hook from Jackson and Richman has control of the cage center. Another left from Jackson and Richman backs him off with a left of his own. Straight right jab from Richman and Jackson shoots in for a takedown but Richman stuffs it with easy. They break and Richman goes back to stalking Jackson. Nice right hand connects for Jackson but he doesn't follow up. They trade right hands that both land but Jackson briefly gets dropped before popping back to his feet. Richman smells blood and starts pressing the action, stuffing a takedown from Jackson. Richman is really looking for the right counter. Left hand rocks Jackson and then another. Richman is getting ready to go for the kill. Richman knocks Jackson down again and he's on top inside Jackson's guard. Jackson closes his guard and Richman drops a couple punches but he's not doing much. Both men are cut near their eyes and bleeding. The ref stands them up and Richman stuffs a takedown attempt. Straight left from Richman connects and then a nasty head kick drops Jackson! Richman swarms him with hammer fists and the ref intervenes. Nice knockout from Richman!
Final Result: Mike Richman defeats Mitch Jackson via knockout (head kick & punches) at 4:57 of round one