Bellator’s eighth season ended much like it began — with featherweight champion Pat Curran putting his belt on the line and emerging victorious. His opponent in the main event of last night’s Bellator 95 card in Atlantic City, New Jersey, was Shahbulat Shamhalaev, the Dagestan-bred knockout artist who clinched his title shot with his KO of Rad Martinez in February. Unlike his 25-minute squeaker against Patricio Freire in January, Curran only needed half a round to take Shamhalaev down and put him to sleep with an arm-in guillotine, earning his second successful title defense.
Depending on availability, Curran’s next opponent could be Season 6 winner Daniel Straus — who was forced to withdraw from Bellator 95 due to a broken hand — or Bellator’s latest featherweight tournament winner, Magomedrasul “Frodo” Khasbulaev, who defeated Mike Richman in a 15-minute dogfight last night. Though Richman was game through all three rounds, opening up some cuts on the Russian’s face in round two, Frodo clearly had the advantages in striking, takedowns, and overall aggression. Khasbulaev was awarded 30-27 scores from all three judges, and a $100,000 check from his employer.
In the night’s other Season 8 tournament final, middleweight Doug “The Rhino” Marshall continued his improbable career comeback by knocking out Brett Cooper in the first round. Cooper had some success early in putting Marshall on his back, but once Marshall regained his footing, it was Rhino Time. A hard right hand from Marshall sent Cooper to the canvas, and some follow-up bombs sealed the deal. The win increased Marshall’s Bellator record to 4-0, with three of those wins by first-round KO/TKO.
“Man, I hope he’s OK,” Marshall said afterwards. “I was trying to knock his beard off, but it didn’t come off. Maybe next time.”
The main card was led off by a grudge match between ex-judo rivals Rick Hawn and Karo Parisyan. Parisyan was making his Bellator debut last night, and Hawn was returning to the welterweight division to greet him, following his unsuccessful tournament run at lightweight. Parisyan looked sharp in the opening frame, out-landing Hawn on the feet — until the closing seconds when Hawn landed a head kick that rung Parisyan’s bell and blitzed him with punches as the round ended. With momentum on his side, Hawn repeatedly found a home for his right hand in the second round. Eventually, he dropped Parisyan with it, and poured on hammerfists until the ref intervened.
Full results from Bellator 95 are below…
- Pat Curran def. Shahbulat Shamhalaev via submission (guillotine choke), 2:38 of round 1, retains featherweight title
- Magomedrasul “Frodo” Khasbulaev def. Mike Richman via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3), wins season 8 featherweight tournament
- Doug Marshall def. Brett Cooper via KO (punches), 3:39 of round 1, wins season 8 middleweight tournament
- Rick Hawn def. Karo Parisyan via KO, 1:55 of round 2
- Lyman Good def. Dante Rivera via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x 2)
- Sam Oropeza def. Shedrick Goodridge via TKO, 4:22 of round 2
- Tom DeBlass def. Carlos Brooks via TKO (doctor’s stoppage), 5:00 of round 2
- Phillipe Nover def. Darrel Horcher via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x 2)
- Jimmie Rivera def. Brian Kelleher via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x 2)
- Will Martinez def. Michael Brent Hess via KO, 4:15 of round 1
- Kevin Roddy def. Brylan Van Artsdalen via submission (armbar), 1:04 of round 2
- Liam McGeary def. Anton Talamantes via TKO, 1:18 of round 1