Bellator 95: Curran vs. Shamhalaev goes live tonight from Atlantic City, New Jersey, with a featherweight title fight between reigning champ Pat Curran and Russian knockout artist Shahbulat Shamhalaev atop the card. Also on tap for the main card are finals matches in the middleweight (Brett Cooper vs. Doug Marshall) and featherweight divisions (Mike Richman vs. Magomedrasul Khasbulaev) and the most elite Judokas in MMA facing off in the Karo Parisyan vs. Rick Hawn welterweight scrap.
Preceding the 10:00 start of the main card on Spike TV, Spike.com and Bloody Elbow will stream the entire preliminary card, which begins at 7:15 p.m. ET. Inaugural welterweight champion Lyman Good meets former TUFer Dante Rivera while star grappler Tom DeBlass makes his Bellator debut against Carlos Brooks. The full lineup is listed below.
Bellator 95: Curran vs. Shamhalaev
Main Card (Spike TV at 10:00 p.m. ET)
Featherweight Championship: Pat Curran vs. Shahbulat Shamhalaev
Featherweight Tournament Final: Mike Richman vs. Magomedrasul "Frodo" Khasbulaev
Middleweight Tournament Final: Brett Cooper vs. Doug "The Rhino" Marshall
Welterweight Feature: Karo Parisyan vs. Rick Hawn
Preliminary Card (Bloody Elbow and Spike.com at 7:15 p.m. ET)
R1: Tentative start between these counterpunchers until
- Pat Curran defeats Shahbulat Shamhalaev by submission (guillotine choke), Round 1.
Mike Richman vs. "Frodo" Khasbulaev
R1: Both come out sighting in punches after an intense staredown. Frodo pushes the pace with big hooks and succeeds in putting Richman in retreat mode through the initial flurries. Frodo shoots a low single from way outside that Richman easily shrugs off. Richman looking to pivot right and throw his straight left, but not throwing often enough. Frodo all over the place with wide right and left hooks and big body kicks. Now Richman zings a nice left through and Frodo responds by amping up his already frenetic punching pace.
Richman calmly avoids or blocks most of the haymakers but he's being forced to defend too much. Frodo stepping in with a short, chopping right hand that's swelling up Richman's right eye. Richman's counters land cleaner but it's no match for the power and volume of Frodo. 10-9 Khasbulaev.
R2: Frodo continues to lumber forward and cram leather down Richman's throat, but pays for his aggression with a stinging left hand from Richman that cuts him over the eye. Frodo starts to stay in the pocket and bob under to open up his short right hand, then catches Richman planted for a quick single leg. Richman gets back up quickly but finds himself hopping backwards on one leg with Frodo after another single.He slips out and they're back trading in the center.
Richman's long and busy jab is starting to find a home. Frodo slips on a high kick and goes to his back but Richman motions him to stand back up. Richman goes downstairs with a hook and ends up on top; Frodo looks to pull guard or was stunned from the punch. Richman doesn't mount any offense before curiously disengaging and allowing Frodo to stand up again.10-Khasbulaev.
R3: Frodo's pace has definitely planed off in the 3rd -- he's still active with punches but isn't darting in busy angles. Frodo lands an uppercut simultaneously with Richman's hard left. Frodo standing in front of Richman now and eating more punches because of it. Richman comes in with jab and low hook before seeking a knee from the collar tie. Richman gets caught plodding forward with either a high kick or knee attempt and Frodo takes him down briefly.
Richman is back up and pressuring with punches a moment later. Frodo tries to return fire but he looks out of gas and his punches are wild. 10-9 Richman. I have it 29-28 for Khasbulaev overall.
- All three judges have it 30-27 for
Anton Talamantes vs. Liam McGeary
R1: Talamantes looking to drop levels and does after some big swings. McGreary is active from his back and ties up an arm with his legs. McGreary thumps a spiking elbow to the head of Talamantes and tacks on a cleaving forearm, both of which back Talamantes off and seem to daze him. McGreary smells blood in the water and attacks viciously with punches to elicit the stoppage.
- Anton Talamantes defeats Liam McGeary by TKO (punches), Round 1.
Doug Marshall vs. Brett Cooper - Middleweight Tournament Championship
R1: Marshall starts fast with a lunging left hook and high kick. He pours it on with more right-left combos and powerful kicks, and Cooper returns fire despite getting the worst of it. Cooper shoots a deep double and gets it. Marshall works an open guard back to the fence and then patiently uses it to stand, showing good composure. He grabs the Thai plum in the clinch and bangs a hard knee off Cooper's head before going back down.
Rhino being Rhino: he gives a confident thumbs up whilst eating a stream of short right hands from Cooper. He cage walks again to stand, clears out some space with an underhook and backs Cooper off. Marshall unlatches a barrage of heaters and connects with a depth charge of a right hand that wallops Cooper. He goes down and is out cold.
- Doug "The Rhino" Marshall defeats Brett Cooper by KO (punch), Round 1.
Karo Parisyan vs. Rick Hawn
R1: Karo wings a wild right but follows behind it to clinch up. Hawn pivots and nearly gets the rear waist lock but Karo spins out and digs an underhook. They release and collide again and Karo takes a low knee. We restart after a short pause with Karo lunging with double jabs while Hawn circles out in retreat. Now Hawn comes forward with a combo that Karo blocks. Outside leg kick lands for Hawn.
Karo's lead hand is dangerously low, but he unwinds a jab downstairs. Karo catches Hawn's incoming kick and pounces with a flying knee that Hawn defends well. Karo stays busy with jabs. Hawn's first 1-2 counter whiffs but the second gets Karo's attention. Hawn calls time out after Karo's inside low kick appears to graze the cup. Again, little time is wasted on the pause, and Hawn clips Karo with a sharp high kick that seems to wobble him just before the bell. The late kick and follow up punches were enough to tilt the close round in Hawn's favor. 10-9 Hawn.
R2: Karo comes out aggressive with punches again until Hawn cracks him with a left a minute in. Hawn follows with another hook-based flurry, resets and uncorks his signature right hand. The blow rocks Parisyan, who crumbles under the hail of strikes behind it.
- Rick Hawn defeats Karo Parisyan by TKO (punches), Round 2