Tonight the Bellator Fighting Champions returns to cable with the opening round of their Welterweight tournament. "Judo" Jim Wallhead (23-6) brings his high level judo background in against former Bellator Welterweight Champion Lyman Good (12-2). High flying striker Marius Zaromskis (18-6) brings his fan pleasing style to bear against Canadian fighter Nordine Taleb (8-1). On the other side of the bracket Andrey Koreshkov (10-0) takes on Jordan Smith (17-3) and Tim Welch (9-3) faces off with Michail Tsarev (23-2).
As with every major MMA card Bloody Elbow will be providing coverage starting at 8 pm ET. The prelims will air on Spike.com starting at 6:30 pm ET.
Main Card results will be live blogged and here are the prelim results:
Will Martinez Jr defeats Casey Johnson by Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1
Michelle Ould defeats Munah Holland by Decision
Alexandre "Popo" Bezerra defeats Matt McCook by Submission (Guillotine Choke), Round 1
Phillipe Nover defeats Derrick Kennington by Technical Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2
Brylan Van Artsdalen defeats Jay Haas by Submission (Guillotine Choke), Round 1
Claudio Ledesma defeats Kenny Foster by Decision
Andrey Koreshkov vs. Jordan Smith: Wetlerweight Quarterfinal
Fighters start off in the center of the cage, Smith throwing testing strikes out of a south paw stance. Koreshkov lands a flurry of strikes and then lands a spinning back kick. Smith shoots in for takedown and eats a knee to the body and Koreshkov sprawls effectively. Koreshkov lands another combo pushing forward. Smith comes forward but Koreshkov catches a kick and then responds with two hard punches. Koreshkov lands a leap in knee on the head. Smith throws a spinning side kick and Koreshkov shoots for a take down. Smith drops down for Peruvian neck tie, Koreshkov is able to turn out of it but Smith turns it into guillotine, It looks close for a moment but Koreshkov escapes also. Smith locks up a high guard and is looking for a triangle as Koreshkov seems content to lay low in guard. Koershkov postures up and drops down some punches to end any chance at a triangle. Smith now just holding the Russian down, but he is able to posture all the way to standing and start striking hard. Koreshkov closing the round with some thundering strikes. 10-9 Koreshkov
Smith comes in to clinch and eats a smacking right hand but manages to take Koreshkov to the ground and take the Russian's back. Smith is now working for a choke but Koreshkov is controlling Smith's wrists and is now trying to strike. Ref warns Russian for holding the gloves. Smith is looking to trap Koreshkov's left hand with his legs, but the Russian continues to strike. Smith uses the opening created by the striking to lock in a rear naked choke, it looks really deep but the Russian is able to create just enough space to get his chin down. Smith keeps working for the choke, but his arm isn't under the chin. Koreshkov passes Smith's arm over his head and is able to turn into guard. Koreshkov is standing in guard but is also staying low in the guard. Smith is trying to use the rubber guard, but doesn't seem able to use it. Koreshkov is trying to stack and strike but Smith is using his legs well to prevent strikes. Smith now slides into leg lock position but Koreshkov is basing out and striking Smith hard. 10-9 Smith
Koreshkov comes out moving forward looking to land strikes. Smith is keeping his distance and then shoots in for a takedown but Koreshkov sprawls well. Smith hit again as he tries to close the distance to clinch. Koreshkov is able to land two right hands from range. Smith replies with a flurry and Koreshkov attempts a hip toss, both fighters back to their feet. Smith is jabbing at range, and Koreshkov lands a straight right. Fight is slowing down at this point as fighters are looking to make the best use of the energy they have left. Russian blocks a few kicks and then moves forward leading with a right hand. Smith shoots in for takedown but Koreshkov defends again. Smith trips on the side of the cage, but recovers. Smith lands an overhand right, but now Koreshkov is pushing forward with accurate strikes. Koreshkov drives Smith into cage and takes the American down against the cage. 10-9 Koreshkov
Unofficial Scorecard: Koreshkov Wins 29-28
Official Result: Andrey Koreshkov by Unanimous Decision (29-28)
Michail Tsarev vs. Tim Welch: Wetlerweight Quarterfinal
Both fighters come out swinging and Welch pushes Tsarev into the fence. Tsarve looking for a judo style inside trip. Welch breaks out of the clinch and Tsarve throws a head kick that misses. Welch lands a lunging left hand and the presses Tsarev into the chance, the Russian then scores a trip takedown. Welch is now defending from half guard and tries to scramble out and the Russian locks on a guillotine. Welch is able to slip out after a few moments. Tsarev throws and lands two huge up kicks, but the kick is illegal as Welch is grounded. Ref stops fight to allow Welch to recover. It appears Tsarev was not aware of the rule and he apologizes to Welch.
Fighters restarted on the feet and Welch throws a flying knee. Russian takes him down but Welch wall walks back to the feet and Tsarev gets another inside trip. Another guillotine attempt by the Russian who rolls to his back and again the American is able to slip out. Tsarev throws up a triangle but both arms are in the triangle and Welch doesn't appear to be in danger. Tsarev 10-9
Tsarev late getting away from his corner but fight starts again and Tsarev is pushing forward on the feet. Welch throws wild punches and Tsarev ties up. Welch gets the Thai clinch against the cage and lands knees, Tsarev drops down to guard and American stands and walks away. Fight started again and Tsarev gets him down to the ground but Welch again stands up. Tsarev shoots a double leg right into side control. Welch looks to scramble and Tsarev catches the back and locks in rear naked choke. Welch taps.
Result: Michail Tsarev by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 2, 1:57
Nordine Taleb vs. Marius Zaromskis: Wetlerweight Quarterfinal
Taleb is on his bike early, moving and throwing hard kicks as Zaromskis tries to walk him down. Taleb landing hard leg kicks and dancing out of range of Zaromskis' punches. A spinning back fist from Zaromskis knocks Taleb down and Zaromskis goes to side control. And as Taleb tries to scramble Zaromskis spins to the back. Taleb is able to stand out before the hooks get put in and is back a range. Taleb slips a punch and clinchs, Zaromskis lands heavy strikes in clinch battle and Taleb goes back to range. Taleb throwing a lot of head kicks at range and starting to punch more. Zaromskis throws a punch and drops for a takedown, Taleb defends deftly. Taleb making excellent use of his range, jabbing to keep Zaromskis away. Zaromskis tries another spinning back fist, but Taleb ducks under and clinches. Taleb 10-9
Taleb on his bike again and Zaromskis stalking again. There appears to be damage on the right eye of Zaromskis from the constant jabbing. Taleb throws a punch combination that lands pretty cleanly. Zaromskis lands a left hand and drops Taleb, Zaromskis dives on top of him and almost ends up in a triangle. Zaromskis passes to side control and is controlling Taleb, who manages to sneak back to half guard. Zaromskis is holding Taleb down and the ref jumps in quickly to stand the fighters up. Zaromskis partially lands a head kick off the stand up. Taleb moves in with punches. Zaromskis is closing distance now and is landing punches and Taleb shoots for takedown, nothing for it. Fighters clinch along the fence. Taleb landing a few knees with his back to the fence. Taleb almost gives up his back but is able to get an underhook and defend. Zaromskis driving Taleb into the fence and the ref breaks the fighters apart. Taleb trying to land a head kick, but he is not a nibble as earlier in the fight. Zaromskis 10-9
Zaromskis starts round with takedown attempt but Taleb is able to stop. Zaromskis throws a fight and Taleb complains it was to the back of the head. Fighters exchange and it appears Zaromskis got clipped and he clinches. Zaromskis again pushing Taleb into the fence, looking for a takedown. Ref breaks them again. Taleb throwing hooks at distance, moving away from Zaromskis' head kick. Both fighters are tiring, but Zaromskis continues to press forward. Taleb continues to kick the legs and throw punches, not allowing Zaromskis any time to rest. Taleb looks for takedown and Zaromskis sprawls and now has standing rear waist lock, trying to drag Taleb down. Zaromskis then throws Taebl on to the mat, now working from side control. Zaromskis wants to move to mount, but Taleb is blocking. Ref stands the fighters up again. Zaromskis lands a big head kick, Taleb is visibly rocked. Zaromskis charges in and throws spinning back fist, and whiffs in Chael Sonnen fashion. Taleb takes him down and survives round. 10-9 Zaromskis
Unofficial Score Card: Marius Zaromskis by Decision (29-28)
Result: Marius Zaromskis by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Lyman Good vs. Jim Wallhead: Wetlerweight Quarterfinal
FIghts clinch right away and Good is throwing body shots while Wallhead looks to the throw knees. Good breaks away and lands a left hook on the break. Wallhead shoots for double leg, stands up into clinch. Good working the body and Wallhead breaks away again. Good throws punches at range and lands, Wallhead closes in to clinch again. Good works body again and then breaks away to strike at range. Wallhead continues to use clinch-and-run tactics. Wallhead jabbing very effectively and blocking a lot of Good's strikes at range. They are clinched again against cage. Wallhead looks for an inside trip, but gets hit with some hard hooks. Wallhead bleeding from just above left eye. Good kneeing the legs now in the clinch and throwing upper cuts. Fighters finish round battling the clinch, looking for position. 10-9 Good
Fighters start trading at range, Good is pumping a jab and Wallhead clinches. Wallhead working for judo takedowns, but Good is defending very well. Fighters at range again and Wallhead seems to be finding his distance. Good lands a series of strikes that run Wallhead all the way back to the cage, Wallhead circles off and they are back in the center of the cage. Wallhead lands a knee to the head in the clinch, Good responds with a hard leg kick on the break. Good pumping the jab as Wallhead tries to close distance. Good traps Wallhead against cage and unloads a few quick strikes. Wallhead escapes to center of the cage and is getting jabbed hard. Good throws a step in knee to the body and then a leg kick. Good continues to out land Wallhead at range and is firmly in command of round. Wallhead shoots for takedown, but Good slips away. Round ends as fighters clinch. 10-9 Good
Fighters touch gloves and start exchanging. They clinch and then break apart. A leg kick by Good travels too far up and Wallhead gets hit the groin. The ref grants Wallhead a break to recover. Fight restarts after about a minute and Good is very aggressive, throwing punches and kicks. Wallhead has been flummoxed by Good's reach and clinch ability and has mounted almost no offense this fight. Fighers have clinched and Good is clearly in control of things. Wallhead throws a double jab followed by right cross, his first combination that appears to have been effective. Good moving forward with a heavy right hook. Wallhead is holding on and won't be finished but he is in deep trouble right now. Good still working hard to finish fight, fighters throw hard and another low blow stops time with mere seconds left. Ref takes a point from Good. Round ends three seconds after it restarts. 9-9 (10-9 Good, but point deducted for low blow)
Unofficial Score Card: Lyman Good by Decision (29-27)
Result: Lyman Good by Unanimous Decision (29-27)