Bellator 74 rolled out the Season 7 Welterweight Tournament tonight (September 28) with all 4 quarterfinal matches. The hosting New Jersey State Athletic Control Board furnished a top-notch set of officials that included referee "Big" Dan Miragliotta and judges Ricardo Almeida, Jeff Blatnick and Cardo Urso, which made for a controversy-free card.
Lyman Good, a hard-nosed Tiger Schulmann product and Bellator's inaugural welterweight champion, clashed with streetwise UK veteran "Judo" Jim Wallhead in the main event. Lyman bull-rushed out of the gate and applied his massive frame with short, chopping punches, much of which consisted of uppercut-based dirty boxing from the single collar tie hold. Good made it a classic phone-booth fight for the entire 1st round and big-brothered Wallhead to take the lead.
Good ratcheted his range back a notch and stood toe-to-toe in free striking range in the 2nd, which yielded the same results. The former champion substituted the success of his short-range uppercuts with a steady diet of crisp jabs that kept Wallhead's melon bobbing. Good alternated between quickly released distance punches and excursions into the pocket to heave short power shots, eventually notching a textbook 10-9 to enter the 3rd ahead by 2 rounds.
After Wallhead took an inadvertent kick to the pills, action resumed and Good went back to work. He walked Wallhead down, smashed him into the fence and continued the stifling beating, once again flashing back and forth from slicing perimeter punches to up-close brawling. In the waning moments, Good got a little carried away when attacking and planted a knee low on Wallhead, resulting in referee Dan Miragliotta deducting a point for his 2nd foul of the round.
The judges gave Good every round, which factored into 29-27 scores across the board with the point deduction. Good, who looked like a beast, inches closer to the chance of regaining his title with the commanding decision win.
Find out who else we'll see in the welterweight semifinals with the rest of the main-card results plus preliminary outcomes in the full entry.
Taleb, a Canadian prospect training out of TriStar, lit off a cannonade of roundhouse kicks to Zaromskis' head and legs throughout the entire 1st round. The battery was briefly interrupted when Zaromskis landed a spinning back fist that dazed Taleb, but continued immediately when they reset on the feet. The same unique circumstances applied in the 2nd, as Taleb picked up where he left off but was dropped on his can by a lengthy left hand from Zaromskis. This time "The Whitemare" capitalized more effectively by holding top position and taking the back before Taleb escaped, then nullified his striking potency with a clingy clinch attack, which likely evened things out.
Zaromskis stuck with that strategy in the 3rd, reducing the distance and jamming Taleb's distance tools with in-fighting. The round was probably still up for grabs when Zaromskis scored with his patented high kick. The knifing strike wobbled Taleb momentarily; he recovered well but it was the punctuation that Zaromskis needed. Ricardo Almeida turned in an unexpected 30-27 but veteran judges Jeff Blatnick and Cardo Urso both scored more reasonably with 29-28 marks for Zaromskis, whose gains passage to the semis with the unanimous decision.
In the pre-fight promo, Tsarev vowed, "If he doesn't knock me out in the 1st-round, I'll submit him in the 2nd." It came off as an oddly specific prediction ... until it actually happened. Tsarev fulfilled the prophecy by nailing a double-leg takedown and landing in side control, then pouncing with a rear-naked choke when Welch tried to spin out. Russian Michail Tsarev makes his way to the welterweight semifinals by submitting Tim Welch in the 2nd.
Koreshkov, Bloody Elbow's #1 pick on the 2012 Welterweight Scouting Report, cemented his striking prowess in a 3-round tango with Jordan Smith, who gained recognition last year after his split-decision win over former UFC standout Karo Parisyan. Smith was game and scored some takedowns, one of which in the 1st-round led to a Peruvian Necktie attempt that flowed into a guillotine, but Koreshkov's tenacious striking was too much. Koreshkov earned scores of 29-28 from all 3 judges to advance by unanimous decision.
Preliminary Card Results
Will Martinez Jr defeats Casey Johnson by Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1
Alexandre "Popo" Bezerra defeats Matt McCook by Submission (Guillotine Choke), Round 1