Bellator 109 was the final event in the promotion’s ninth season. Like most other fight cards, it had its ups and downs.
Of note on the prelims, famed wrestler Bubba Jenkins rebounded from his upset loss to Larue Burly at Bellator 100. Blagoi Ivanov, one of the few men to beat Fedor Emelianenko in Sambo and who recently recovered from near-death, extended his unbeaten streak to nine fights. Also, 20-year-old Brazilian prospect Goiti Yamauchi ran over Saul Almeida like a soccer mom in a Ford Excursion runs over a small possum (though the Brazilian was seven pounds overweight for the fight).
In the night’s first bout, Terry Etim faced Patrick Cenoble. This was Etim’s first fight outside of the UFC since the promotion let him go. After watching this match, the UFC is probably patting themselves on the back for that call. Etim won a pedestrian decision. If you like seeing a grappler lounge in dominant positions for 15 minutes, this was your kind of fight.
Fans who didn’t sprint away from Spike TV after Etim-Cenoble were treated to the lightweight tournament semifinal: Will Brooks vs. Alexander “Tiger” Sarnavskiy. The first round was closely contested. Sarnavskiy landed a few crisp combinations, as did Brooks. The American slowed the pace in the second round, employing the grinding style which he’s become known for. “Tiger” became a kitten under Brooks’ pressure. Brooks outclassed Sarnavskiy in the latter 10 minutes of the fight. He was stronger, better conditioned, and a superior grappler. He earned a unanimous decision victory.
Ron Keslar and Rick Hawn faced off in the welterweight tournament semifinal. Keslar controlled the first round and even floored Hawn with a brutal knee to the body. But Hawn turned things around in the second, using a stiff jab to dictate the pace and range of the striking. Hawn built off this success in the third round, scoring a beautiful walk-off KO less than a minute in. Words can’t really describe how brutal the third round was. Let’s say that Keslar started it as a fighter, but ended it as a punching bag.
Then it was time for the main event, a middleweight title bout between champion Alexander “Storm” Shlemenko and Doug “Rhino” Marshall. The fight didn’t last long. Shlemenko made Marshall worry about takedowns before unleashing a liver shot that would’ve made Bas Rutten’s tear up with pride. Marshall’s face grimaced and contorted as he fled from the pocket. The champ smelled blood (or the secretions of a wounded liver) and finished the fight with another body shot a few moments later.
Overall though, the televised card displayed the same banality that’s plagued both Bellator and the UFC throughout 2013. Each amazing knockout was balanced out by a lackluster, grinding decision that scared the casuals off and made even the most hardcore fan consider tuning out for a little bit.
Here are the complete results:
Alexander Shlemenko def. Doug Marshall via TKO (punch to the body), 4:28 of Round 1
Rick Hawn def. Ron Keslar via KO (punch), 0:55 of Round 3
Will Brooks def. Alexander Sarnavskiy via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Terry Etim def. Patrick Cenoble via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-26)
Mike Bannon def. Ahsan Abdulla via technical submission (arm triangle), 1:51 of Round 1
Blagoi Ivanov def. Keith Bell via submission (rear naked choke), 3:59 of Round 1
Goiti Yamauchi def. Saul Almeida via KO (punches), 2:04 of Round 1
Bubba Jenkins def. Ian Rammel via TKO (punches), 2:38 of Round 3
Brent Primus def. Brett Glass via submission (rear naked choke), 3:20 of Round 1
Lester Caslow def. Jay Haas via submission (guillotine), 2:44 of round 3