After last week’s strange ending to the opening round of the heavyweight tournament, tonight’s Bellator 76 was a welcomed sight. Along with the featherweight tournament quarterfinals, the Bellator 76 main card was headlined by a lightweight super bout between Eddie Alvarez and Patricky Pitbull.
Jeremy Spoon vs. Mike Richman:
Over almost before it started, both men came out ripping and slipping punches in the center of the cage. It wasn’t the punches that ended it though, but a swift head kick by Richman that sent Spoon to the mat in a heap at the twenty-three second mark. Having logged just over a minute worth of fighting in two Bellator bouts, Richman moves into the next round of the tournament with a metric ton of momentum.
Mike Richman wins via 1st round KO (head kick)
Wagnney Fabiano vs. Akop Stepanyan
The well-travelled Wagnney Fabiano faced off with yet another Russian prospect in Akop Stepanyan in the next Bellator 76 Featherweight tournament bout. Stepanyan used an arsenal of heavy looping punches and a multi-level kick attack which had Fabiano on the defensive for much of the round. Fabiano worked his own fundamental striking game and hunted for the takedown, but Stepanyan was well-aware of Fabiano’s reputation on the mat, fighting like a devil to avoid going into the BJJ ace’s world. Try as he might though, Fabiano managed to link together a series of single leg, double leg, and trip takedowns that eventually put Stepanyan onto the mat. While the Russian’s defense was sound, Fabiano was simply a level above him on the mat, working through dominant positions until he found his way to a straight armbar during a transition. Stepanyan seemed to think he could gut out the armbar, but several moments of anguish forced him to change his mind and relent to the Brazilian’s submission.
Wagnney Fabiano wins via 1st round Submission (armbar)
Cody Bollinger vs. Shahbulat Shamhalaev:
Shamhalaev started this bout off with his hard-style muay thai, throwing power shots non-stop as Bollinger looked to get his rhythm, a quick trip from a kick would be the beginning of the end for Bollinger though, as Shamhalaev leapt into his guard to work some ground and pound. Bollinger managed to threaten multiple times with a wily rubber guard, but Shamhalaev was steady in his intensity, landing hard punches for minutes on end. Bollinger blocked as much as he could but Shamhalaev’s pile-driving punches found their way through his guard and badly hurt him. While Bollinger was defending, the referee had seen enough punishment towards the end of the fight, calling it in favor of the Russian.
Shahbulat Shamhalaev wins via 1st round TKO (punches)
Rad Martinez vs. Nazareno Malegarie:
Round one saw a striking battle unfold as the highly-respected Malegarie worked a vicious muay thai game against the wrestler. Crippling inside leg kicks and combinations landed throughout the first round for Malegarie as Martinez used stiff one-two shots. While Martinez only landed a handful of flush punches, he reduced Malegarie’s face to a bloody mess within minutes, despite being only half as active for the round. With seconds left, Martinez went for a landed his first takedown to try and clinch this close round of action.
The second round would see Malegarie mixing some takedowns into his attack and trying to keep Martinez wondering. The tactic worked well as more punches landed for Malegarie while Martinez tried to throw stiff counters. While Martinez tended to get the better of the exchanges, Malegarie controlled the majority of the action, though his gas tank didn’t appear to be holding up any better than his face had as the round came to an end.
We saw the pace slow in the pivotal third round, as Malegarie looked to tighten up his striking and make every shot count, while Martinez countered, forced exchanges, and mixed in some clinch wrestling and takedowns. The bout appeared to be almost too close to call until Martinez found a home for several left hooks that staggered Malegarie and allowed him to take the last minutes of the fight, heading into the decision with at least two rounds in his favor.
Rad Martinez wins via unanimous decision (30-27×3)
Eddie Alvarez’s swan song in the Bellator cage started with cerebral striking by both men, employing a great deal of feints, level changes and rapid footwork around the cage as tension built. Alvarez was first to explode, leveling Pitbull with a lunging hook, but just as victory seemed to be assured, Pitbull spung up and returned fire, punching Alvarez across the cage and chasing him down with a volley of punches. A badly-dazed Alvarez hung on for dear life as Pitbull landed digging clinch knees, looking to gain space and put Alvarez away. He’d have no such luck though, as Alvarez created space and began to work a longer range striking game of straight punches and driving footwork to get him inside straight and true. As the round began to wind down to an uncertain score on the cards, Alvarez took the guesswork out of the match for the judges, icing the ultra-durable Pitbull with a punch/ right high kick combination. A handful of punches followed, but Pitbull was well and truly out, giving Alvarez one last win in the Bellator cage.
Eddie Alvarez wins via 1st round KO (head kick)
Bellator 76 undercard Results:
Ali Mokdad defeated Simon Marini by Unanimous Decision
Magomedrasul Khasbulaev defeated Nayeb Hezam by 1st rd. TKO
Dom O’Grady defeated A.J. Matthews by Split Decision
Chad Laprise defeated Ainsley Robinson by Unanimous Decision
Jason Fischer defeated Kyle Prepolec by 3rd rd. Submission (Arm Triangle Choke)