Join us tonight on Bloody Elbow for the live stream, results and play-by-play for Bellator 98: Shlemenko vs. Cooper from Uncasville, CT. The main card features Middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko defending his title against Brett Cooper as well as the return of Patricky Freire, who meets Derek Anderson. The opening round of this season's Middleweight Tournament also transpires on the Spike TV main card, which ignites at 8:00 p.m. ET. Bloody Elbow will stream the event's preliminary card starting at 6:00 p.m. ET as well.
Make sure to peruse Fraser Coffeen's preview and analysis for tonight's Bellator 98 show, and stay tuned afterward for a gif-accented results post.
Alexander Shlemenko vs. Brett Cooper -- Middleweight Championship bout
R1: Cooper shows he's game to trade early by exchanging with Shlemenko. Cooper looks to establish his jab while Shlemenko picks his spots to surge forward with combinations. Shlemenko gets the better of a few exchanges but Cooper waves him in. Cooper shoots but Shlemenko evades it but might have been slightly assisted by the fence.
Shlemenko's spinning back fist comes halfway through the round and Cooper blocks it. Leg kick lands for Cooper, who's still scoring and countering his fair share. Cooper blasts Shlemenko with a short left hook that visibly stuns the Russian and has him retreating. He recovers but Cooper stays on him until the bell sounds. I'll go 10-9 Cooper for the more momentous strikes and comparable volume even though Shlemenko landed a bit more.
R2: The first two minutes are fairly evenly matched exchanges on the feet. Shlemenko is now coming straight forward and standing in Cooper's wheelhouse in lieu of his in-and-out movement and angles. Cooper utilizing a short, chipping left and a sharp right hand very well. Shlemenko's spinning back fist is blocked and Cooper's short shots have his eye bleeding badly.
Shlemenko starts to turn the tide just past the halfway mark with more aggressive punches on the way in and heavy knees in the clinch. Shlemenko throws a high kick and lets his hands go, looking to have Cooper "on the ropes." Cooper leans back on the fence and explodes with a giant right hand that again staggers Shlemenko, who's diving on a desperation single leg. Cooper scores a takedown as the round ends. Damn. I'm going 10-9 Cooper again.
R3: The back and forth war continues. Shlemenko uses his quicker hands to penetrate Cooper's guard but Cooper's counter-shots are just more vicious and powerful. Cooper initiates a clinch and then Shlemenko circles off the cage and lands a nice horizontal elbow. Cooper responds with a thunderous pair of uppercuts and Shlemenko waves him in.
Cooper lands a low kick after Shlemenko's left connects. Cooper caches Shlemenko's left kick but can't turn it into a takedown. Body kick from Shlemenko, then a leaping combination with his hands that connects. Cooper gets on a single, comes upstairs with punches and then drops back down for a power double and gets it. Shlemenko creates space and stands back up. Cooper's power advantage is only present when he's landing and Shlemenko is just finding the mark more often in this frame. 10-9 Shlemenko.
R4: Shlemenko unloads a buzzsaw of strikes and something catches and floors Cooper. The Russian tries to pounce but Cooper does a good job of protecting his head and threatening with a futile takedown attempt that at least preoccupies Shlemenko. Cooper hangs tough and either protects his chin or clinches up to stifle Shlemenko and regain his wits.
Halfway through the stanza, Cooper is recovered and lighting off alternating hooks to a covering Shlemenko. "Storm" raises his hands and smiles after the onslaught and they go back at it. This might not be pretty, but it's a true war and test of heart. Shlemenko peels off a winging overhand left and follows with a right hook, and Cooper counters with a left hook and right uppercut. 10-9 Shlemenko for volume and the knockdown.
R5: They touch gloves, come out and punch each other in the face, both finding the mark mutually. Cooper continues to key in on Shlemenko dropping his head by throwing uppercuts, then transitioning to a single. Shlemenko's takedown defense is too feisty and he stays upright. Shlemenko bursts forward with right and left hooks, then looks for a knee to the body with the single collar tie. Shlemenko backs Cooper up with more right/left combos.
Cooper looking to time his uppercut on Shlemenko's wide left hand. Short clubbing rights from Shlemenko, a spinning back fist that glances and more rights. Now it's Shlemenko who hits a takedown on a seemingly exhausted Cooper. Shlemenko has side control but somehow Cooper gets back to his feet. Lightning fast lefts and rights from Shlemenko. Cooper beckons him forward and Shlemenko obliges with more punches and a takedown from body lock. Cooper starting to show the affect of Shlemenko's volume with a bloodied face. Shlemenko hits another bodylock takedown and ends the round hunting with punches. An admirably valiant showing on both sides for this title fight. 10-9 Shlemenko for a 48-47 his way on my card. All three judges see it the same.
- Alexander Shlemenko defeats Brett Cooper by unanimous decision (48-47 x 3)
R1: Both fighters come out flashing leather and seem to stun one another. Rogers throws a high kick and slips but gets back up before Parlo can swarm. Rogers uncorks a left-right and follows with a left kick to the body, then lets a jump knee go with more punches. As usual, Rogers is dropping his hands more and more as his offense amplifies, and Parlo rattles him with a stiff right.
Rogers chills and starts circling more, and an unintentional clash of heads occurs on the next collision but the ref doesn't see it. Rogers is slowing down and Parlo is gaining momentum, chipping in short and crisp shots through Rogers' porous guard. Parlo heaves a lunging left hook and then pulls Rogers' dipped head into a jumping knee, then scores with another left hook. 10-9 Parlo for the cleaner and harder shots.
R2: Rogers whiffs his one-two and Parlo touches him on all three of his counter shots. Parlo plugs him with a clean one-two. Rogers unreels a heavy left-right-left combination but Parlo gathers himself and snaps Rogers' head back with a clean sequence that looks to daze him. They clinch up and Rogers, who might be gassed or in the process of, misses his head-and-arm hip toss and ends up on his back.
Parlo smothers him from the top and drubs him with short and consecutive right hands. Rogers tries to boot him off but Parlo connects with more short punches and resumes his top control. Now Parlo switches his angle and bombs heavy lefts to Rogers' body. Parlo bases down in half guard and lands a thudding knee to the ribs, then another. Parlo keeps pounding away until the bell sounds. 10-9 Parlo in a strong round.
R3: Parlo just misses on a monster high kick. Rogers' jumping knee and left hook are somewhat telegraphed and Parlo easily side steps him. Parlo lands another takedown and Rogers hand-fights, but stays flat on his back with no hip activity. Parlo moves to a high half guard and almost traps the arm for the crucifix position but Rogers slips out. Parlo lands a hard forearm to the ribs and stays on Rogers with busy left hands.
Parlo is dominating with strikes from half guard. Finally Rogers explodes and breaks free. Parlo sticks to him and pushes him on the fence before hitting another takedown. Not a single shred of effective offense from Rogers, who gets hammered with heavy punches and a big knee to the body. Rogers gets to the four-point stance and Parlo intelligently attacks his body with more knees, then crumples Rogers with a knee to the face when he stands fully upright. Rogers might be out but the bell rings during what would surely be a finishing flurry. Textbook 10-8 round for Parlo, giving him a 30-26 on my card. One judge has it 30-27 and the other two (slow clap!) have it 30-26.
- Mikkel Parlo defeats Brian Rogers by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26 x 2)
Jason Butcher vs. Giva Santana -- Middleweight Tournament bout
R1: Butcher uncorks a flurry of punches that backs Santana up. Santana changes levels on the next attempt and puts Butcher on his back. Santana moves toward his signature armbar but Butcher is able to break his grip, then starts angling for a kimura. Butcher almost hip escapes; Santana is able to cling to him and regather his base. Santana moves to side control as Butcher tries to shrimp out and throws a knee to the body.
There's a battle for half-guard/side control and Santana switches gears and jumps all the way into full mount. Santana now takes Butcher's back, then finagles an arm-triangle that looks legit. Butcher guts it out and spins into top position but doesn't have any time left to work. 10-9 Santana.
R2: Butcher comes out aggressive on the feet again, but he's much more balanced and inclined to stay standing. Santana tries to time his takedown on Butcher's attack again, doesn't get it and falls onto his back, but Butcher's not feeling it. They restart on the feet and Butcher tags Santana with a short right hand, then pounces with a flurry for the finish. Santana announces his retirement on the mic afterward.
- Jason Butcher defeats Giva Santana by TKO (punches), Round 2.
Justin Torrey vs. Brennan Ward -- Middleweight Tournament bout
R1: They collide with some punches and Torrey drops levels for a single. Ward gets an underhook to stay upright and hits an outside trip from the head-and-arm clinch. Ward stabilizes his base on top of Torrey and drops back for a heel hook. Torrey spins out and stays patient until his leg is free, then postures down in top position and passes into side control.
Torrey gets opposite-side wrist control and lands short knees to the ribs while fishing for the Americana with his hands. Ward seems to cede the position and stays on his back while throwing punches, obviously getting the worst of the exchanges. Torrey hops into full mount and closes the round with a series of hard punches. 10-9 Torrey.
R2: Torrey's left eye is purple and swollen shut, and is cautioned to protect himself from the ref. Ward hits an early takedown again has to wait a moment to subdue the active Torrey before climbing into a high half guard. He goes over Torrey's head for a top-side guillotine attempt and then busts open Torrey's swollen left eye open with a punch. Torrey scrambles his way free but his face is a mess and Ward puts him right back down and thwacks hammer-fists to get the stoppage.
- Brennan Ward defeats Justin Torrey by TKO (hammer fists), Round 2.
R1: Kimball comes out busier with a steady stream of front and low kicks along with busy hands. Kimball showing nice angles and output to command the pace early. Filkins starts to up his tempo with boxing and scores on the first flurry, but Kimball sidesteps the second and touches him with a retreating right hook. Filkins lands a sharp low kick and Kimball shoots a double in response.
Filkins battles his way off the cage and they restart with Filkins waving the busy Kimball in. Kimball obliges by flashing his hands and changing levels for a double leg, but it's short lived again due to Filkins' defense. Filkins lands a low kick and Kimball lands one in return with a stiff front kick to the sternum for good measure. This draws a profanity laced outburst from Filkins, who I believe called Kimball a something-something "bitch" out of frustration. Kimball stays composed and keeps throwing angles and punches, hitting another double leg at the bell. 10-9 Kimball.
R2: Kimball swings a roundhouse to the body, pings two jabs and follows with a switch kick. And it pisses Filkins off again, who beckons Kimball to "come on!" Kimball puts Filkins on the fence and the ref improperly tells Kimball "palm only" in regards to the fence-grabbing rule, which allows fingers/toes through but not grasping the cage. Another wild sequence ensues with Filkins on top, Kimball sweeping and getting the rear waist lock on the escape, Filkins breaking his grip and spinning free, then lifting up and dumping Kimball with a slam takedown.
Kimball's guard is patient and effective but Filkins gets a few shots in, then inexplicably tries some sort of 360-degree spinning left hook thingy that sends him careening off-balance. Kimball tries to capitalize but Filkins dumps him again when they clinch and closes the round unloading punches from back mount. 10-9 Filkins.
R3: Kimball starts out busy again, circling heavily and keeping jabs and hooks in Filkins' face. Jumping front switch kick from Kimball and more jabs from Kimball, who seems to be finding his rhythm. Filkins goes back to what's been working, taking Kimball down and holding strong posture. He gets control and postures up with punches, and Kimball tries to buck him off when he does but Filkins takes his back in the scramble. It's gradual but Filkins eventually sinks in both hooks and taps him out with the Mata Leao.
- Perry Filkins defeats Jeremy Kimball by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 3
R1: We have action early. Anderson pastes Pitbull with a jab, Pitbull responds by heaving a combination and wobbling Anderson, then Anderson drops Pitbull with a front kick. They settle for a moment and then Pitbull clips Anderson with a left hook in a charging flurry. Anderson showing a hittable stance, though Pitbull whiffs with a big overhand right. Pitbull counters Anderson's low kick with a stiff right to the face. Pitbull opting for left-hook/right cross combos while Anderson starts to establish range with his jabs and kicks.
Pitbull blasts a double at the two-minute mark and flies right into full mount. He isolates Anderson's arm and spins for an armbar, then transitions beautifully to a triangle when Anderson counters. Anderson lifts him up and slams him, and it's effective enough to break Pitbull's hold, who angles for an armbar but can't get it. 10-9 Pitbull for the more effective striking and grappling.
R2: Anderson slips while throwing a right high kick and Pitbull takes the free top position but Anderson stands back up shortly after. Pitbull allowing himself to be cornered way too easily and willing to stand right in front of the rangier Anderson. His chin and power are carrying him through, as a jab bounces off his chin amidst another heavy hook-cross combo that lands. Now Pitbull wades forward with double body shots and circles a little, using at least some movement.
Anderson reels off a shockingly effective 5-punch combo, punches going both upstairs and down, some of which connect. Pitbull uncharacteristically collides with Anderson and drops onto his back, but Anderson waves him back up and they exchange smiles. Anderson keeps working his hands with quickness and volume -- while not largely damaging, they're adding up. 10-9 Anderson for the higher volume of effective strikes.
R3: More hook/cross combos from Pitbull while Anderson counter jabs. Anderson leads with a right downstairs but can't find the follow-up hook. Anderson walking Pitbull down until he's content to plant his feet in the corner, this time swinging a right high kick. Pitbull backs him up with a triple jab but Anderson corners him again and wings a one-two that closes with another right high kick. They trade low kicks.
Anderson pieces together a four-punch combo and then lands a spinning back kick that thuds to the body. Pitbull tries to answer with one of his own but Anderson sees it coming. Pitbull shoots a lazy takedown and Anderson literally shoves him to the ground but lets him stand back up. Not sure what's up with Pitbull here, who's fighting lethargic and complacent. Anderson's confidence is skyrocketing after consistently cornering and clubbing Pitbull with volume flurries.No mustard on any of Pitbull's punches now. Anderson throws a left high kick and double jab. Pitbull shoots but Anderson defends it easily. 10-9 Anderson, for a 29-28 his way on my card.
- Derek Anderson defeats Patricky Freire by unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
Bellator 98 Main Card (8:00 p.m. ET on Spike TV)
Spike Preliminary Card (streaming on Bloody Elbow at 6:00 p.m. ET)