When Bellator kicked off their seventh season live from New Jersey at Caesar’s Atlantic City, it was the welterweights that were chosen to anchor the bill. The season seven welterweight tournament quarterfinals delivered in spades. The evening’s performances ranged from utter domination to hotly contested bouts, it also featured tournament debuts from a pair of Russians which were met with very different responses.
In the evening’s headlining bout, which mainly played in the clinch, former Bellator champion Lyman Good dominated Jim Wallhead from bell-to-bell. “Cyborg” rushed the Brit early on, pushing him up against the fence, using his dirty boxing and kneeing the body of his opponent. It was that position that would tell the story of the fight, as much of the bout was contested there. Even at distance, the Team Tiger product was getting the better of Wallhead. Unfortunately, the final round saw two groin shots, which prompted a deduction from the judges. Thankfully, it did little to change the direction of the bout as all three judges turned in a 29-27 scorecard.
Former DREAM welterweight champion Marius Zaromskis has finally planted his flag stateside, advancing to the semi-finals of the Bellator 170 lb. tournament with a unanimous decision over Nordine Taleb. While the Tristar product outstruck Zaromskis for much of the bout, it was the Lithuanian who dictated its narrative as he managed to hurt his opponent repeatedly, dropping Taleb at least once in every single round. At the end, the judges would render scores of 30-27, 29-28, and 29-28 for “The Whitemare”.
Michail Tsarev made the most of his Bellator debut by submitting Tim Welch in the second round of their tournament bout. “The Lonely Wolf” sank a deep guillotine in the opening round, which the Montana native was able to survive. Tsarev then connected with two illegal up-kicks, but was not penalized. In the second frame, the Russian looked to use his distinct grappling advantage and it paid off as he took the back of Welch and secured a rear-naked choke, forcing the tap at 1:57 of the middle period.
Andrey Koreshkov made his Bellator tournament debut; unfortunately it was not what was expected from the highly touted Russian. While “Spartan” started off well, with lightning-fast speed and deadly accuracy, Jordan Smith soundly dominated much of the second stanza, exposing the Rusfighter product’s ground game. The final frame saw both men completely exhausted. Koreshkov’s speed and straight punches were all but gone. Fortunately for the Russian, his striking acumen was still enough to take the closing period. At the final bell, the judges rendered a unanimous 29-28 decision for Koreshkov.
Bellator Season Seven Welterweight Tournament (MTV2):
- Lyman Good defeated Jim Wallhead via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
- Marius Zaromskis defeated Nordine Taleb via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Michail Tsarev defeated Tim Welch via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:57 of round 2
- Andrey Koreshkov defeated Jordan Smith via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Preliminary Card (Spike.com)
- Alexandre Bezerra def. Matt McCook via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:04 of Round 1
- Will Martinez, Jr., def. Casey Johnson via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:27 of Round 1
- Michelle Ould def. Munah Holland via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Phillipe Nover def. Derrick Kennington via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:40 of Round 2
- Brylan Van Artsdalen def. Jay Haas via guillotine choke submission, Rd. 1 (1:03)
- Claudio Ledesma def. Kenny Foster via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)