Better late than never, but well into their eighth season, Bellator has finally crowned a season seven featherweight champion. The twice-postponed bout finally took place at Bellator 90, which emanated from the Maverick Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, and saw Shahbulat Shamhalaev have his hand raised against Rad Martinez with a crushing knockout, earning the right to face the winner of the coming Pat Curran vs Daniel Straus fight for the 145 lb. title.
The improved boxing of Rad Martinez looked to be a non-factor for Shahbulat Shamhalaev, who was easily getting the better of the exchanges. When the Dagestani countered a leg kick from Martinez with a massive left hook, the American was floored. After letting Martinez back up, Shamhalaev continued to pick him apart for the duration of the first round, until the wrestler was able to score a takedown and close things out in control.
The second stanza saw the Russian hungry for blood. The Utah native still couldn’t put any offense together on the feet, a kick from Shamhalaev wobbled Rad, who tried to fight through but was on shaky legs. Shahbulat would not let up, assaulting his opponent with punches until a devastating overhand right left him splayed out on the mat. The unconscious Martinez was hit with a giant dive-bomb of a right hand before the referee could step in.