As with every major show, Bloody Elbow will be here to bring you live results and commentary for Bellator 52. Our live blog will start with the beginning of the MTV2 broadcast (9 p.m. ET) so be sure to make Bloody Elbow your home for this event.
Tonight is the quarterfinals in the season 5 heavyweight tournament. The eventual winner of the tournament will receive $100,000 and a shot at the Bellator heavyweight championship belt, currently held by Cole Konrad.
The card for this event is as follows: Mike Hayes vs. Neil Grove, Abe Wagner vs. Eric Prindle, Blagoi Ivanov vs. Zak Jensen, and Mark Holata vs. Ron Sparks. Blagoi was originally scheduled to fight Thiago Santos, but Santos had to withdraw from this fight due to visa issues. Hayes, Grove, and Sparks all took part in the first Bellator heavyweight tourney, while Wagner and Jensen will be familiar from their stints on The Ultimate Fighter. Prindle and Ivanov have fought previously in Bellator non-tournament fights as well.
Round one: Sparks lands a hard left early, Holata comes back strong and gets Sparks on the cage. They move back to the center quickly, though. Holata lands a good left followed by a solid kick. Sparks fires back with a right, then a left, Holata is down, Sparks moves in to finish and the ref stops it. Ron Sparks def. Mark Holata via KO, 1:24 of round one
Round one: Prindle is swinging but not connecting. They clinch, each lands some glancing blows. Prindle kicks, Wagner catches it and gets Prindle down. Wagner moves to side control but quickly moves to full mount. Prindle trying to keep him tied up, but Wagner lands some horrendous gnp. Prindle spins and manages to end up on top in Wagner's guard. He isn't doing much with the position, he lands a couple of shots to the body. Prindle is up waiting for Wagner to get up. He moves back to Wagner's guard. Now Prindle is landing some hammerfists while Wagner is working for an armbar. Prindle gets his arm out, and they stand up. They trade some halfhearted kicks. Prindle is swinging hard but missing. Now Wagner lands some shots that rock Prindle but he just won't go down. Prindle moves in with a punch, Abe clinches and lands some knees, and the round is over. I give it to Wagner 10-9.
Round two: Prindle again swining hard but missing. He clinches Wagner on the cage, then tries to take him down. He lands a knee to Wagner's face before they separate. Now Prindle is landing shots and Wagner is rocked. Prindle gets in a liver shot, and Wagner answers with a right that moves Prindle back. They clinch on the cage again and Prindle is landing good body shots. Prindle looks tired now but Wagner isn't much better. Prindle is unloading on Wagner who is staggering. Wagner goes for a desperate single that Prindle turns into an americana attempt. Wagner gets his arm loose. Prindle goes for an anaconda, but lets go. Wagner tries to stand but Prindle gets him back down. Wagner goes for an ankle lock, Prindle has one too but lets it go. Wagner is cranking it but the round ends. Holy crap, crazy round. I think that one goes to Prindle 10-9.
Round three: Wagner lands a flurry, and Prindle is coming back with leg kicks. Prindle lands a push kick then tries to get Wagner down. Doesn't work, and Wagner lands a weak uppercut. Prindle is exhausted but Wagner isn't exactly fresh. Wagner goes for a single but instead Prindle ends up on him in side control. Prindle lands a good shot and Wagner is trying to spin out but can't get up. Prindle is back to side control and landing hammerfists on Wagner's face. Wagner is trying to keep Prindle tied up but can't keep him from landing elbows to his face. Prindle gets full mount and unloads the gnp. Wagner tries to turn out of it and Prindle tries to lock in a chin lock. He can't keep it so goes back to gnp. Wagner finally reverses and lands a few shots before the round ends. Wow. I give that one to Prindle 29-28 but it was a hell of a fight.
Eric Prindle def. Abe Wagner via unanimous decision
Round one: Jensen with a head kick right away, but it's blocked. Ivanov throws Jensen and goes straight to full mount. Jensen scrambles and Ivanov goes to half guard. Jensen keeping Ivanov tied up pretty well, and then reverses and ends up on top with ivanov on the cage. They stand up. They're both swinging and landing huge shots. Jensen tries to take Ivanov down but can't do it. Ivanov lands a nasty right, then several more shots, and Jensen answers back with just a couple. Jense lands a leg kick then eats some more shots. Ivanov lands a knee to Jensen's face. Jensen keeps moving forward and lands the occasional shot, but he's eating punch after punch from Ivanov. Round is over. 10-9 Ivanov.
Round two: Jensen throws a head kick but misses. They clinch, and Ivanov trips Jensen and goes to side control. Ivanov has an arm and is working a keylock but doesn't seem like he's going to get it. Ivanov is cranking the submission but eventually lets it go. Ivanov is in full mount, and Jensen is trying to hold him down. Jensen manages to spin and they stand, but Ivanov is trying for a guillotine. Jensen is out! Blagoi Ivanov def. Zak Jensen via technical submission (guillotine), 2:35 of round two
Round one: Hayes opens with several leg kicks. Grove answers with one of his own that staggers Hayes. Hayes keeps landing little leg kicks that aren't landing with any force. Grove lands another nasty leg kick. Hayes dodges a right hand and keeps moving back away from Grove's power. Grove is landing some serious leg kicks while Hayes lands lighter ones again and again. Hayes throws a kick and eats a jab on the way in. Grove moves in, Hayes trips him, Grove is back up immediately. End of the round. 10-9 Grove for more power in his punches/kicks. Kind of a boring round, though.
Round two: Hayes comes in swinging but missing, and Grove fails to connect with a counter. Hayes is looking tentative and twitchy, and has no power behind what few shots/kicks are landing. Grove lands a right, then a great leg kick followed by a little flurry that doesn't do much. Grove lands a kick to the body then backs off. Hayes is kicking and throwing punches but just not managing to connect with anything meaningful. Grove is mostly content to let Hayes come forward and not hit him. Grove does try to trip Hayes but can't do it. Hayes finally comes in with a couple of shots, Grove counters but there's not much there. End of the round. 10-9 Hayes, at least he was active if not effective.
Round three: Hayes immediately throwing kicks but again they just aren't very powerful. Grove finally shows some aggression and comes after Hayes, swinging some horrible shots. Hayes takes him down though and is in side control. They scramble and Hayes is in north/south. Grove turns and Hayes tries to take his back. For a second Grove almost had a kneebar on Hayes. Hayes has one hook in and is trying to get the rnc, but can't from where he's at. Grove turns and ends up in Hayes' guard. Grove is landing some body shots and a few hammerfists. Grove goes for Hayes' leg, Hayes sweeps him and locks up a keylock but Grove gets loose. Now Hayes is landing body shots from side control. Fight is over! I score it 29-28 for Hayes.
Mike Hayes def. Neil Grove via split decision
That gives us Mike Hayes, Ron Sparks, Blagoi Ivanov, and Eric Prindle for the semifinal fights. Ought to be pretty interesting.
Well, thanks for hanging out, guys (both of you, lol). It was fun!