(Full fight video of Shamhalaev’s tournament-winning performance against Rad Martinez at Bellator 90, courtesy of Wax6ynat Wamxanaeb-P3A MaptnHe3 Fuck You.)
Another day, another injury.
At last week’s Bellator 90 event, stone-faced Russian “Assassin” (is there any other kind?) Shabulat Shamhalaev wrapped up the promotion’s 7th season featherweight tournament with a vicious knockout over fellow finalist Rad Martinez. In doing so, Shamhalaev earned a future shot at the winner of the Pat Curran/Daniel Straus featherweight title fight scheduled for April 4th. Fortunately for Shamhalaev (and unfortunately for Straus), a broken hand has forced the season six tournament winner out of the fight and has in turn opened the door for the Russian, who will now face Curran a bit earlier than expected. Bjorn Rebney broke the news via his Twitter account:
As Bjorn noted, the opponent switcheroo arguably makes for a more interesting matchup for both Curran and the fans. Shamhalaev exploded onto the mainstream scene with a pair of uber-violent first round TKO’s in his first two stateside appearances at Bellator 76 and 79. The fact that he appeared to come out no worse for the wear in his destruction of Martinez makes for the perfect matchmaking opportunity. After capturing the featherweight title with an unnecessarily brutal beatdown of Joe Warren last March, Curran most recently outpointed the highly-touted Patricio Freire at Bellator 85 in January.
So Potato Nation, will the Bellator featherweight title, like the middleweight strap before it, fall into the icy hands of the Russians come April 4th?