Big upsets highlighted Thursday’s Bellator 90, in which the promotion saw its most promising star take a huge hit.
In the main event, hometown fighter and favourite Rad Martinez was defeated by Russian Shahbulat Shamhalaev, who captured the featherweight tournament title at Utah’s Maverik Center.
Martinez (14-3) had the edge in round one due to a strong ground game. However, Shamhalaev (12-1) stunned Martinez with strikes early in round two and eventually knocked him out with a hard right hand punch. With the win, Shamhalaev earned $100,000 and a title shot against the winner of the Pat Curran vs. Daniel Straus championship bout scheduled for April 4.
But in an even bigger stunner, Muhammed (King Mo) Lawal was knocked out by Emanuel Newton from a huge spinning back-fist in the light-heavyweight tournament semi-finals. As the organization’s big free-agent signing leading into its first year on cable channel Spike TV, Bellator had pinned a lot of its promotional hopes on Lawal, who will also be featured on TNA Impact Wrestling, also owned by Spike parent Viacom.
Instead, it’s the veteran and former Maximum Fighting Championship title-holder Newton who is moving on to the final. He will take on Mikhail Zayats, who submitted Jacob Noe in the first round, at a later date.
Another former MFC champion reached his second tournament final, as Douglas Lima knocked out Bryan Baker with a punch midway through the first round of their welterweight semi-final. Lima, who was the Edmonton-based promotion’s 170-pound belt-holder before signing with Bellator 2011, is looking to capture his second tournament crown. He won the Season 5 tournament to earn a welterweight title shot.
Lima, subsequently lost to Ben Askren by decision last April, his only defeat in seven appearances with Bellator, will meet former UFC fighter Ben Saunders after he knocked out Raul Amaya with a first-round head kick.
Here are the full Bellator 90 results:
Featherweight tournament championship: Shahbulat Shamhalaev defeats Rad Martinez via knockout (punch) at 2:12 of round 2
Light heavyweight tournament semifinal: Emanuel Newton defeats King Mo via knockout (spinning back fist) at 2:35 of round 1
Welterweight tournament semifinal: Douglas Lima defeats Bryan Baker via knockout (punch) at 2:34 of round 1
Light heavyweight tournament semifinal: Mikhail Zayats defeats Jacob Noe via submission (armbar) 3:38 of round 1
Welterweight tournament semifinal: Ben Saunders defeats Raul Amaya via knockout (head kick) at 2:56 of round 1
Bantamweight tournament qualifier: Travis Marx defeats Chase Beebe via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Welterweight fight: Jesse Juarez defeats Jordan Smith via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Lightweight fight: Sean Powers defeats Dave Allred via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:10 of round 3
Middleweight fight: Lionel Lanham defeats Joe Rodriguez via technical knockout (punches) :49 of round 1
– With files from the Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah) and Spike.com