The Bellator light-heavyweight final was set tonight at Bellator 42, as Christian M’Pumbu and Richard Hale notched wins in their exciting semi-final match-ups.
In the main event, Richard Hale edged out a hard fought split decision against a very game DJ Linderman. The first round was a back and forth battle as Linderman and Hale exchanged hard strikes. Hale managed to recover from an early knockdown in the second to keep the bout close headed to the third. Linderman came out aggressive in the third, trying to secure a takedown before making a critical error when he attempted to throw from a poor position. Hale took mount and dominated the rest of the bout with strikes and submission attempts.
Kinshasa native Christian M’Pumbu looked undersized in his match-up with Tim Carpenter but it did not matter as M’Pumbu scored a first round TKO. M’Pumbu peppered Carpenter with kicks early in the bout before landing a hard overhand right and following up with a vicious uppercut which dropped Carpenter. While the stoppage appeared premature as Carpenter appeared to recover when he hit the ground, Carpenter’s awkward fall sealed the TKO in the referee’s eyes. Carpenter did not put up much protest over the stoppage. M’Pumbu will meet Hale in the final to decide the first Bellator light-heavyweight champion.
In other action, featherweight Ronnie Mann dominated Josh Arocho in a three round beating. Arocho landed the first takedown of the bout but that was pretty much the only offense he had the whole fight. Mann quickly countered with a tough sweep and began a brutal display of ground and pound. Arocho would again try for takedowns in the second and third rounds but Mann’s takedown defense was excellent as Arocho was forced to bail on both attempts. Mann took top off each blocked shot and pounded away on the American to cruise to an easy unanimous decision. After the fight, Mann issued a challenge to the rest of the Bellator featherweight division. Mann will be the next featherweight tournament.
The MTV2 televised card kicked off with bout between bantamweights Luiz Nogueira and Jerod Spoon. Nogueira (no relation to the Nogueira twins) displayed strong wrestling and striking throughout the fight against Spoon. Spoon seemed to hold his best for last in each round but was unable to erase the work Nogueira did through out the fight. Nogueira will be in the upcoming bantamweight tournament according to Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney.
Richard Hale def. D.J. Linderman via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) – light-heavyweight tourney semifinal
Ronnie Mann def. Josh Arocho via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25)
Christian M’Pumbu def. Tim Carpenter via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:08 – light-heavyweight tourney semifinal
Luiz “Betao” Nogueira def. Jerod Spoon via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Brandon Shelton def. Owen Evinger via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:35
Jared Hess def. Chris Bell via submission (triangle choke) – Round 1, 1:40
Shane Howell def. Mark Oshiro via submission (D’arce choke) – Round 1, 4:15
Mark Holata def. Tracy Willis via submission (strikes) – Round 1, 0:49
Pictured: Christian M’Pumbu (via M-1global.com)