Bellator 126: "Shlemenko vs. Halsey" takes place TONIGHT (Fri., Sept. 26, 2014) at the Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, live on Spike TV with the fourth event of Bellator's eleventh season.
In our second straight middleweight main event of season eleven champion Alexander "Storm" Shlemenko faces undefeated Bellator season 10 tournament winner "Bull" Brandon Halsey. Shlemenko last faced Tito Ortiz in a loss at Bellator 120, a fight where he gave up a significant size and weight advantage, but with Halsey he's looking for a return to form as one of Bellator's most exciting strikers.
Halsey's challenge is simply to live up to the hype, but even if the "Bull" treats Shlemenko like a china shop, that only means he has Melvin "No Mercy" Manhoef to look forward to. With only one TKO in seven wins he'll need significant improvement in his stand-up to not only withstand Shlemenko's spinning strikes but to successfully defend the middleweight title should he get past him. On the other hand Halsey's tournament finale win over Brett Cooper gives middleweights plenty of reason to fear the All-American's takedowns - though the veteran Shlemenko won't easily be caught in a submission.
There's good action up and down tonight's card. The much anticipated season ten lightweight tournament finale between submission ace Marcin Held and "Pitbull" brother Patricky Freire is a fight with lightning finish potential standing OR on the ground. Ever evolving featherweight Bubba Jenkins welcomes Brazilian veteran Thiago "Minu" Meller to Bellator in the third fight from the top. The opening fight on television pits explosive striker Mike "The Marine" Richman against submission specialist Ed West.
MMAmania.com will be here all night long to bring you LIVE Bellator 126 results below, including quick results of the under card action on Spike.com (7 p.m. ET), as well as play-by-play updates of the Spike TV broadcast that starts at 9 p.m. ET.
Many readers check in before, during and after the fights to share their thoughts on all of the action. Feel free to leave a comment (or 126) about the bouts before you leave and chat with all the other Maniacs during the show - it's always a lot of fun!
BELLATOR 126 QUICK RESULTS:
Main Card (Spike TV):
Alexander Shlemenko vs. Brandon Halsey: Halsey by technical submission at 0:35 in R1 to win the middleweight title.
Patricky Freire vs. Marcin Held: Held by UD - 29-28, 30-27, 30-26.
Thiago Meller vs. Bubba Jenkins: Jenkins by UD - 29-28 and 30-27 X2.
Mike Richman vs. Ed West: Richman by knockout - 2:44 of R1.
Preliminary Card (Spike.com):
Raymond Pina vs. Larue Burley: Burley by submission - 0:22 of R2 (guillotine).
Jacob Ortiz vs. Clifford Starks: Starks by technical submission - 0:52 of R2 (guillotine).
Ryan Martinez vs. Nick Rossborough: Rossborough by TKO - 5:00 of R1 (doctor stoppage).
Michael Parker vs. Joe Taimanglo: Taimanglo by UD - 30-26, 30-27 X2.
Stuart Austin vs. Dan Charles: Charles by KO - 0:18 of R3.
Derek Campos vs. Estevan Payan: Campos by KO - 0:31 of R1.
Brandon Girtz vs. Benny Madrid: Girtz by TKO - 0:57 of R1.
BELLATOR 126 PLAY-BY-PLAY:
Alexander Shlemenko (C) vs. Brandon Halsey
Round 1: Halsy is in American flag trunks with red trim. Shlemenko is in the solid black trunks. Halsey is an undefeated 7-0 and the winner of the season 10 middleweight tournament, while Shlemenko is the reigning and defending champion with a record of 50-8. Our referee in charge is 'Big' John McCarthy. Halsey gets a takedown 18 seconds in and is going for a rear naked choke right away. SHLEMENKO GOES OUT COLD AND HALSEY IS YOUR NEW MIDDLEWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION.
Final result: Halsey gets the technical submission by rear naked choke 0:35 of R1 to become the new Bellator Middleweight Champion.
Patricky Freire vs. Marcin Held
Round 1: Freire is in the red/black trunks. Held is in the white. This is the finals of the season 10 lightweight tournament. Tyler Ennis from the Phoenix Suns is at cageside watching. Our referee is Jason Herzog. Held goess for a leg lock at 44 seconds and winds up in butterfly guard. Freire gets up at 1:22. Held is stuffed on a takedown but goes to his back trying to grab a leg again. Freire puts his weight on Held and steps over. Held tries to smack him with right hands off his back. Held is constantly looking for submissions and keeping Freire tied up. He gets an elbow in here and there but spends most of his time defending against Held. Herzog stands them up with 25 seconds left. Held shoots for a double as the bell sounds and Herzog breaks it up. 10-9 Held.
Round 2: Held with a double leg takedown 0:45 into R2. Freire eats a few elbows and forearms before Held starts passing to half then side control. Held is going hard for the kimura as he's moved back to half guard but realizes he won't finish it and lets go. 2:30. Held punishes Freire with rights to the face as he tries to sit up, then grinds him with the elbow. Fans in Phoenix are a little restless at the 4 minute mark but Held is pouring on the elbows and has opened a cut over his right eye. If R1 was close (historically we know some judges favor the man on top), R2 was not in any way. Held won every minute of it.
Round 3: Held with another takedown 23 seconds into R3. The cut on Freire's right eye leaves a crimson paintbrush stroke in a straight line until he tries to sit up - which Held is having none of. He keeps Freire on the mat. Full mount at 2:49 and Held postures up for ground and pound. Freire explodes to his feet at 3:10 but Held goes for the heel hook and turns it into a takedown to side control. Freire is back up at 4:08 but the relentless Held takes him down again at 4:31. That's a wrap. Held should get the unanimous decision.
Final result: The judges score this contest 29-28, 30-27, 30-26 all for tournament winner Marcin Held.
Thiago Meller vs. Bubba Jenkins
Round 1: Meller is in red/white trunks for his Bellator debut. Jenkins high-fives his local supporters on the way to the cage and he's in black trunks with red trim for this bout. Our referee in charge 'Big' John McCarthy. Meller is working the outside and staying just out of range, throwing the occasional leg kick. Jenkins keeps testing with the jab and winging an occasional overhand right, ducking counter shots. Jenkins gets a takedown at 3:08 but gives up his neck. Meller gets up and keeps the head locked. Jenkins defends until Meller loses it and then punishes with elbows in half guard. Meller is cut on his left eyelid. Jenkins almost winds up in triangle position, almost winds up in an armbar, but at the end of the round he's dropping heavy hammers on Meller's head. 10-9 Jenkins.
Round 2: The close-up shot of Meller's left eye is pretty ugly as R2 gets underway. McCarthy calls time at 40 seconds as Jenkins takes an eyepoke from Meller. McCarthy gives him all the time he wants, asks him if he wants a doctor, he says no. Meller is warned to use a closed fist as action resumes. Jenkins lands the right and goes for a takedown that's stuffed. Jenkins next takedown attempt at 1:49 lands. Jenkins gets an ankle pick to stop Meller from standing. Meller tries over and over to shake him off to no avail and eats right hands as he tries to push away with his legs. Jenkins avoids a triangle and cuts Meller's right eye with an elbow. McCarthy calls for work with under 30 but doesn't stand it up - Jenkins stands himself up and tries a diving punch right before the bell. 10-9 again.
Round 3: The doctor checked Meller's facial damage between rounds but allowed him to continue. Jenkins has a takedown at 0:37 but nearly gives up his neck - he's got another 10 seconds later. Meller goes for a guillotine but Jenkins passes guard to stay out of trouble and McCarthy calls time to make Jenkins pull his trunks back up - then puts him right back in the same position in half guard at the restart. Jenkins takes the back as Meller tries to stand, then unloads with right hands as Meller almost gives up a full mount. Meller gets a half guard back but he's wearing the fight on his face and looks completely gassed. Somebody in the building is whistling and you can almost see the birds circling around Meller's head. Meller is warned he has to defend as we pass the 4 minute mark with Jenkins pouring on rights. Meller hangs on at the bell but that's all he can do. Jenkins should get a clean sweep. Young MC is watching and smiling at cageside. (C'mon Bubba, just bust a move.)
Final result: The judges score it 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 all for Bubba Jenkins by unanimous decision.
Mike Richman vs. Ed West
Round 1: Richman is in the red/black trunks tonight and is making his bantamweight debut, while West is in the black/white. Our referee in charge is Jason Herzog. Richman is looking to tag West with a right hook but through the first 90 seconds West is moving to avoid and countering well. He's having to circle out and run through. Herzog stops the fight at 2:11 for a kick to the cup. West eats a headkick, a left, and the exclamation point is when RICHMAN LANDS A WALKAWAY LEFT HAND KNOCKOUT. He set it up with a right hook then crushed West with the left as he was stunned - West went straight down.
Final result: Mike Richman wins by knockout at 2:44 of the first round.
Raymond Pina vs. Larue Burley
Round 1: This fight was changed to a catchweight of 160 pounds when Pina could not get below 159.4 at weigh-ins yesterday. Pina's in the yellow trunks and Burley the camouflage. Pina hits an early takedown and lands an illegal knee as Burley tries to get up that Herzog doesn't see. Fortunately for Burley it didn't knock him out. Pina continues to work on the ground and winds up North-South until he can move to the side and land knees. Burley gets back up at the 2 minute mark. Pina shoots right away. Takedown again at 2:23. Pina is chewing him up with elbows and looking to trap the head in a guillotine - he loses it and Burley gets back up (with a warning not to grab the cage). 3:30. Pina wants the takedown again. Burley spreads his stance. Pina momentarily gets him up over his head. Burley delivers right hands to the body over and over as Pina just won't let go.
Round 2: LARUE BURLEY GRABS THE NECK ON A TAKEDOWN AND GETS A QUICK R2 GUILLOTINE TAP.
Final result: Referee stops this fight for the winner via submission Larue Burley at 0:22 of R2.
Jacob Ortiz vs. Clifford Starks
Round 1: Ortiz is in the black trunks while Starks sports camouflage. Starks is trying to get an early guillotine but ultimately lets go of the head at 1:05. Ortiz complains about a groin shot at 2 minutes but the ref tells him to continue, so he does by trading hands with Starks. Starks keeps inching him toward the cage. Blood is flowing freely from Ortiz' nose. Ortiz turns him around and puts him on the fence at 3:16 and gets the takedown 20 seconds later. Ortiz stays busy until Starks gets back up at 4:23 throwing knees. Ortiz wants another takedown and instead eats elbows until the bell. 10-9 Starks.
Round 2: Starks pulls guard going for the guillotine and STARKS GETS THE TECHNICAL SUBMISSION IN THE FIRST MINUTE AS ORTIZ GOES OUT COLD.
Final result: The guillotine choke ends the fight by technical submission for the winner Clifford Starks at 0:52 of R2.
Ryan Martinez vs. Nick Rossborough
Round 1: Martinez is in black/grey trunks and Rossborough the solid black. The shorter Martinez looks to get in and out and land body shots. Rossborough is standing tall and throwing kicks to keep Martinez away. Through the first two minutes Rossborough's plan is working perfectly. Martinez keeps circling trying to cut a good angle. Any time Rossborough nearly has him against the fence he moves sideways out of danger. Rossborough gets a knockdown late in the round before the bell. A 10-9 for Rossborough is assured and to make matters worse MARTINEZ TORE HIS LEFT BICEP AND THIS FIGHT IS OVER.
Final result: The doctor stops this fight and Nick Rossborough wins by technical knockout at 5:00 of R1.
Michael Parker vs. Joe Taimanglo
Round 1: White trunks for Parker, Taimanglo in the black. Taimanglo hits an early takedown and Parker pops right back up. Taimanglo goes for a standing guillotine, tries to change it to a Peruvian necktie, can't hit it but still keeps head control of Parker. Parker is back up at 1:25 but not without eating a knee. Taimanglo hits a takedown to side at 1:58. Parker has a cut over his right eyebrow. Taimanglo spins and takes the back but loses it at 2:44. Taimanglo keeps Parker pinned against the fence, unable to take him down again, until Parker finally breaks free at 4:20. Taimanglo has him hurt with elbows and knees with 15 seconds left. Parker is saved by the bell. 10-9 Taimanglo.
Round 2: Taimanglo continues to move forward and pick his shots for the first two minutes. Jimmy Smith: "One good shot can turn the tide (for Parker) but he just isn't throwing." Taimanglo's hands are low around his waist - daring Parker to take a good shot at him. Try as he may though Taimanglo is too elusive - or Parker's too slow. All he can do by the fourth minute is backpedal and defend. The announcers debate if Parker can be warned for timidity or even have a point taken. Smith: "There's a fine line between angling and running." An almost effortless 10-9 for Taimanglo.
Round 3: Parker is hurt by a right 20 seconds into R3 and Taimanglo continues to press forward, getting a takedown at 0:39. They're stood up at 1:40 as the action stalls on the ground. Given how beat up Parker's face is now that may be the last thing he wanted. 2:42 Taimanglo traps the head and drops down looking for a submission. He lets it go and Parker gets off his knees at 3:14. Parker needs to dump his gas tank and go for broke - but he circles and backpedals instead. He throws little jabs that never land. Taimanglo tries a flying knee and rolling thunder just for the heck of it. Anything LESS than a 30-27 from these judges for Taimanglo is questionable.
Final result: All three judges score the decision for Taimanglo - 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27.
Stuart Austin vs. Dan Charles
Round 1: Charles is in the white trunks, Austin is in the black. Austin is a heavyweight many people have their eye on - he's 8-0 with 7 finishes in his career. Dan Charles is no slouch though at 7-2 with 6 finishes of his own. 'Big' John McCarthy calls time at 1:47 for Charles to put the mouthpiece back in. Austin seems content to let Charles push the pace then catch him with a counter shot. McCarthy calls time again for a kick to the cup and gives Austin time to recover. McCarthy tells Charles he doesn't want to warn him again. Action resumes with a minute left. Austin rocks Charles with a left hook late and seals the round 10-9 with a final second takedown.
Round 2: Austin is more the aggressor in R2, forcing Charles to work from the outside and throw kicks. Charles stands his ground well and refuses to go straight back to the fence, and by the 3 minute mark he's the one pushing the pace and making Austin back up. Austin is getting tagged by combinations. Charles hits a takedown with less than 30 seconds left and is immediately in side control. Jimmy Smith: "Almost the total opposite of the first round." INDEED. A 10-9 performance for Dan Charles.
Round 3: Charles comes out swinging hard to open R3 and CHARLES GETS AN EARLY R3 KNOCKOUT FINISH OF THE PREVIOUSLY UNDEFEATED STUART AUSTIN. The right hand was right behind the ear and the follow-up hammers on the ground weren't even needed - fortunately McCarthy was right on top of the action.
Final result: Dan Charles defeats Stuart Austin at 0:18 of round three by knockout.
Derek Campos vs. Estevan Payan
Round 1: Campos is in the white trunks, Payan the black. THIS ONE IS OVER EVEN QUICKER AS CAMPOS CRACKS PAYAN WITH ONE LEAPING LEFT HOOK A HALF MINUTE INTO THE BOUT.
Final result: Derek Campos defeats Estevan Payan at 0:31 of round one via knockout.
Final result: Brandon Girtz defeats Benny Madrid at 0:57 of round one via technical knockout.