Bellator 122, as from the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California, is collapsed and in the books and it was certainly an interesting night of fights.
The card, as televised on Spike TV (July 25, 2014), sported five matches with four of them ending by way of first round stoppages. In each case the winners of the bouts impressed.
The fighters that really shined tonight had to be Liam McGeary, Brandon Halsey, and Andrey Koreshkov.
McGeary looked sharp as he smashed Egidijus Valavicius to advance to the light-heavyweight tournament finale. By view of this large British fighter, he could easily cause some problems for a number of Bellator’s 205-pound class. He is definitely a fighter that adds some much needed weight to the division.
Brandon Halsey looked dominant as he simply put Brett Cooper on his back and tapped him out. It might not have been the prettiest submission ever recorded, but nonetheless, Halsey proved himself to be a big, strong wrestler, with ever improving grappling skills. For his efforts, he secured a slot in BMMA’s middleweight tournament, finale.
Of course, the big winner of the night was Andrey Koreshkov. He pummelled Adam McDonough for three full rounds and clearly put his stamp on an ever improving BMMA welterweight division. He looked flawless tonight, as he stalked his opponent for 15 minutes, while never allowing him into the fight. With his unanimous decision win, Koreshkov takes home the welterweight tournament finale and earns the right to face champion Douglas Lima the belt.
As a final note, Karo Parisyan looked great as he countered his way to a first round KO win over Phil Baroni. Now healthy and focused, Parisyan is yet another tough 170-pounder roaming BMMA’s welterweight halls. Truly, it is a class on the rise.
In considering the number of finishes and the promising talent on display, it was a good first outing for BMMA’s new boss, Scott Coker.
Here’s the full recap and results:
Fight # 1: Karo Parisyan vs. Phil Baroni
There’s not much to say about this match other than it was short and Phil Baroni had no answer for Karo Parisyan. With the fight started, Baroni came out moving forward. However, Parisyan countered brilliantly. With little time elapsed the fight moved up against the cage where Parisyan caught Baroni with a right and an upper cut that caught Baroni and sent him to the mat. With Parisyan giving chase and throwing punches, Baroni turtled up and accepted the blows. Having seen enough, referee “Big” John McCarthy stepped in and waved Parisyan off; winner by way of KO at the 2:06 mark of the first round, Karo Parisyan.
Fight # 2: Liam McGeary vs. Egidijus Valavicius
This was another quick one for the books. The two met in the middle of the ring and feeling one another out momentarily and when the first encounter happened it was the (considerably) smaller Valavicius got the better of it, landing a big overhand right that McGeary clearly did not like. Pushing the fight up against the fence, McGeary began to engage Valavicius in a clinch war. With both fighters throwing knees, Valavicius was the one that took the most damage; exiting the encounter with a bloody nose. The two fighters re-engaged in the middle of the ring and with McGeary coming forward he caught Valavicius with a big right upper-cut that hurt his opponent. Giving chase as Valavicius retreated to the cage, McGeary hammered his foe with some vicious knees and punches. With Valavicius failing to defend himself the referee stepped and called the fight; winner by way of KO at the 2:10 mark of the first round and advancing to the light-heavyweight tournament finale, Liam McGeary.
Fight # 3: Saad Awad vs. Joe Duarte
In a nutshell, the bell rang, the two fighters briefly engaged, and then Duarte dropped Awad with a big overhand right. Looking as if the fight was about to be over, Duarte dropped into Awad’s guard and began to deliver some ground and pound. However, Awad quickly recovered and began maneuvering for a triangle choke. Sinking it in, Awad began to deliver some viscous elbows to the Duarte’s head. With Duarte unable to defend himself, the referee stepped in to stop the fight; winner by TKO at the 1:18 mark of the first round, Saad Awad.
Fight # 4: Brandon Halsey vs. Brett Cooper
The short and sweet on this is Halsey came out and dominated Cooper from the moment the bell rung. Putting his powerful wrestling on display, Halsey came out and immediately grabbed a takedown. With Cooper on his back, Halsey began to throw some heavy elbows from a side control position, but quickly began looking for an armbar. Stepping over to set it in, Halsey showed the flaws in his jiu-jitsu game as he struggled with the move. However, not giving up, Halsey finally powered through Cooper’s defense of it, and finally sunk it in. Rolling over on his belly with Cooper’s arm fully outstretched, his opponent finally tapped; winner by armbar submission at the 2:09 mark of the first round and advancing to the middleweight tournament finale, Brandon Halsey.
Fight # 5: Bubba Jenkins vs. Poppies Martinez
Fight started out well for Jenkins. He came out and scored a quick takedown, however, after a minute or so of control with no results, Martinez was able to work his way back to the feet. However, that wasn’t such a good thing, as Jenkins began to light Martinez up with some stiff left jabs. Looking as he if was about to be completely outclassed on the feet, Martinez seemed to get his blood up and found his voice in the fight. Beginning to land some shots of his own, Jenkins appeared to not like the exchange and immediately began to clinch with Martinez on the cage. While trying to lay in a kimura on Jenkins, Martinez dragged the fight to the ground. However, in doing so, he gave Jenkins the better position. Stuffed up against the cage, Martinez began to eat shots. He was doing his best to fend Jenkins off and indeed the shots didn’t look to be doing much damage, however, that made no difference to the referee who stepped in to stop the fight; winner by TKO at the 4:10 mark of the first round, Bubba Jenkins.
Fight # 6: Andrey Koreshkov vs. Adam McDonough
The bout was a one-sided affair that saw Andrey Koreshkov run roughshod over Adam McDonough for three full rounds. Through all three rounds McDonough had no answer for Koreshkov aggressiveness. When the bell rang to start the fight Koreshkov simply came out and stocked McDonough. Felling his opponent’s power McDonough immediately decided that he wanted to take the fight to the ground, however, he was unable to achieve the objective. Indeed, throughout the fight, Koreshkov continually and easily thwarted McDonough’s takedown attempts. In doing so, he made him pay for them all.
Koreshkov demonstrated solid wrestling defense, good control and ground and pound while the fight was on the mat, and most importantly displayed some impressive stand-up. In particular he threw some beautiful spinning kicks, one of which (in the second round) caught and dropped McDonough when it caught him flush to the face. The third round was simply a repeat of the first and second rounds, with Koreshkov doing all the work and McDonough taking all the punishment. When the clock had elapsed and the judges’ scorecards read, the verdict was a predictable one; winner by way of unanimous decision and winner of the welterweight tournament finale, Andrey Koreshkov.