From the Pechanga Resort and Casino and Temecula, California, Bellator 92 goes off tonight on Spike TV with a double-dose of tournament semifinals. Bloody Elbow will stream video of the show starting with the preliminary card at 8:00 p.m. ET, so y'all come back and see us then.
This season's middleweight finalists will be determined as semifinal bouts transpire between Dan Cramer and Brett Cooper on one side of the brackets while Sultan Aliev faces Doug Marshall on the other. The same applies for the Featherweight Tournament, as Magomedrasul Khasbulaev takes on Marlon Sandro and Alexandre Bezerra meets Mike Richman.
Bellator 92 Main Card (Spike TV at 10:00 p.m. ET)
Featherweight Tournament Semifinal: Magomedrasul "Frodo" Khasbulaev vs. Marlon Sandro
Featherweight Tournament Semifinal: Alexandre "Popo" Bezerra vs. Mike Richman
Middleweight Tournament Semifinal: Dan Cramer vs. Brett Cooper
Middleweight Tournament Semifinal: Sultan Aliev vs. Doug "Rhino" Marshall
Prelminary Card (streaming on Spike.com and Bloody Elbow at 8:00 p.m. ET)
Featherweight Feature Fight: Nick Piedmont vs. Cleber Luciano
Welterweight Feature Fight: Sabah Homasi vs. Ricky Legere
Lightweight Feature Fight: Akop Stepanyan vs. Chris Saunders
Middleweight Feature Fight: Richard Rigmaden vs. Keith Berry
Heavyweight Feature Fight: Josh Appelt vs. Manny Lara
Featherweight Feature Fight: Shad Smith vs. Aaron Miller
Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Rocky Ramirez vs. Brandon Halsey
R1: Sharp low kick by Sandro. Another. Then a big 1-2 to back
R2:pinning back kick whiffs. Sandro looks to have popped him with a punch but it might have been a slip.
R3: Time is called briefly as Sandro appears to have trouble getting off the stool.
Frenzied and powerful hammer-fists from
Sultan Aliev vs. Doug "Rhino" Marshall
R1: Aliev takes the center but he's backed off by a couple of huge Marshall lefts. Aliev clinches up and hits a trip from the body-lock. Marshall tries to take a knee and stand but returns to his guard after a few shorts from Aliev. Marshall takes some hammer-fists but closes his guard and controls posture to defend. Aliev passes to half but Marshall regains full guard shortly after, then bucks Aliev off into a standing clinch.
Marshall fires a hard knee to the body and Aliev topples him over again with a trip. Short right hands from Aliev in half guard. Aliev bases down with head control and throws hammer-fists. Herb Dean stands them up and Marshall gets taken down on a wild flurry as the bell sounds. 10-9 Aliev.
R1: Marshall wheels out a low kick and a left hand. Rhino switches to a high kick and it seems to stun Aliev. Marshall turns it up with strikes but Aliev again capitalizes on his aggression with a counter takedown. Marshall controls his posture and wrists well for a prolonged period and Herb Dean steps in.
On the restart, Marshall head-hunts with an uppercut and charging left hook. Sequential high kicks from Marshall are blocked. More aggressive kicks and left hooks for Marshall, and Aliev again times his blitz for a double leg takedown. This time Marshall is right back on his feet and chucking bombs. Marshall matches Aliev's level drop twice for consecutive stuffs, and follows with right hands. A third takedown is thwarted. Cleaving right to the body for Marshall in the clinch. 10-9 Marshall for the effective offense.
R3: Marshall on the hunt again with heavy rights and lefts, then stifles the takedown and the follow up trip attempts by Aliev. A big right slips through for Marshall. Aliev shoots and spins to Marshall's back when he sprawls. Aliev cleverly peels a turtled Marshall off the fence enough to take his back with a hook in. Marshall shakes him off and gets enough to room to chamber off a combo but ends up on his butt again.
Aliev is clinging to a leg with little offense and hears from the crowd for it. Herb Dean steps in a moment later and an elated Marshall gives pursuit with his hands whirring. Aliev clinches up to slow him down and lands another double leg and does nothing with it. Herb stands them back up with 10 seconds left and Aliev timidly falls on his back and covers up while Marshall wails a big right hand and a few follow up punches. Hell, Marshall's few spurts of striking were more effective and significant than anything Aliev did in that round. 10-9 Marshall for a 29-28 on my card.
- One judge has it 30-27 for Aliev and the other two see it 29-28 for Doug Marshall, who defeats Sultan Aliev by split decision.
Dan Cramer vs. Brett Cooper
R1: Cramer floors Cooper with a right hand counter during a lazy low kick attempt. Cramer jumps into the recovered Cooper's guard and snakes to half guard, then interestingly goes back into Cooper's full guard. Back to half for Cramer. Cramer uses the headlock to control Cooper while slipping his leg out for a pass to side control. Cooper tries to spin out and grab a single but Cramer takes his back and puts one hook in while fighting to get the other.
Cooper turtles and Cramer gets the other hook in and rolls onto his back while seeking the rear-naked choke. Cooper drops some elbows to Cramer's thigh. Cooper bucks him off and almost gets mounted, then explodes again to reverse into top position a few seconds before the bell. 10-9 Cramer.
R2: Cooper doesn't set up the double and can't get it. 50/50 clinch that stalemates as Cooper can't grab the single. Cramer bombs a pair of knifing knees from the Thai plum when he gets some space, then another. And another as soon as Cooper threatens to drop levels. And another, each coming betwixt unsuccessful Cooper double leg attempts. Changing to the single bears no fruit and Big John McCarthy restarts them.
Cooper sticks to him again and again he's countered with a strong Thai plum from Cramer. Now Cooper tries to counter the plum knees with uppercuts and he digests a good 4-5 knees, then a clipping left hook on the break. Another left lands for Cramer, then an uppercut. Strong 10-9 for Cramer.
R3: Cramer gets the better end of the opening striking exchange, then continues to thwart Cooper's clinch game with the Thai plum. Cramer looking nice on the feet and throwing tight heaters. Lunging left hand is good for Cooper, who's following it up with charging 1-2's. Cooper darts in, steps back and unloads a big right hand, and lands a solid takedown attempt.
Cramer scrambles back up and they're trading leather with Cooper increasing his volume. Cramer lands another Plum knee but gets shellacked with a brutal uppercut when chasing Cooper down. He's wobbled, and Cooper sights in another uppercut to put him on roller-skates, then finishes him off with a few thunderous rights. Stellar comeback and laudable spirit shown by Cooper there.
- Brett Cooper defeats Dan Cramer by TKO (punches), Round 3.
Mike Richman vs. Alexandre "Popo" Bezerra
R1: Popo opens with a low kick and shoots a moment later. Richman stuffs it with underhooks but then gets taken down while trying to cinch a front choke. Richman's back up a moment later, then right back down as Popo stays on him with takedowns. Popo stays on a tight half guard then beautifully passes to side control, full mount and takes Richman's back in gradual transitions.
Popo gets the body triangle and alternates between chopping left hands and mata leao attempts; Richman switches from blocking punches to hand-fighting the choke. Richman survives the last 45 seconds in the position. 10-9 Bezerra.
R2: Richman tees off with straight lefts to start the 2nd. Popo weathers the barrage but absorbed plenty. Richman backs off and methodically sights in his left cross, shucking a Popo double leg easily. Richman fires one to the breadbasket that lands but his head kick is blocked. Popo returning fire now despite a bloodied schnaz. Richman snaps Popo's head back with a jab and then dabs him with a 1-2, showing quick hands.
Popo's counter left hook lands but there's not much on it. His body kick slips through. Richman glides right with a shovel punch to the body and comes high with a straight left. Solid re-stabilizing round for "The Marine." 10-9 Richman.
R3: They trade rights and Richman follows up with a tight 1-2-3. Popo scores with a combo in response. Popo busy with his jab and using it to set up his right. He dodges a crisp Richman flurry and changes levels for a deep double leg. Popo baits him by giving up the triangle and then passing to side control. Popo clears Richman's underhook and bases down while throwing short elbows and attacking with the far-side kimura. Richman tries to spin out but Popo takes his back again and locks up the body triangle.
Richman fights off a rear-naked choke and spins into his guard with a minute-thirty left, and stands back up shortly after. Richman lets his hands go and stings with some punches. Richman stuffs a half-hearted takedown attempt and touches Popo up with consecutive flurries. I was just saying I don't score draws that often, but that was basically a minute of even striking, a few minutes of Popo owning on the ground and a few minutes of Richman owning the stand-up. 10-10 for even offense, making for a draw on my card.
- 29-28 for Popo and the same score twice for Mike Richman, who defeats Alexandre "Popo" Bezerra by split decision.