Bellator 75 delivered with three of the four heavyweight tournament fights ending in the first round. The event took place from The Venue in the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind.
Richard Hale, Vinicius Queiroz, Thiago Santos and Alexander Volkov all advanced to the semifinals that take place later this season.
Only Volkov’s unanimous decision dismantling of an unengaging Brett Rogers went the distance.
Thiago Santos began the fight with a right hand that made Eric Prindle backpeddle. While Prindle was backing up, Santos went for a double leg takedown and secured it. Santos went from north-south to side control and Prindle’s back multiple times. Santos didn’t do much with his position besides constantly switching, not throwing strikes and looking for an opening for a submission.
Santos tried both a kimura and a north-south choke, but was unable to put Prindle in any danger. It took a warning from the referee that he would stand it up for Santos to throw some ground-and-pound strikes. Santos had an armbar attempt, but Prindle was able to avoid it after it looked to be close to being locked in.
In an ironic turn of events, Prindle axe kicked Santos right in the groin in what is only fitting for the entire series of Prindle and Santos (their previous meeting ended in a no contest for a similar foul). Santos used the entire five minutes and still couldn’t move. Prindle went over to apologize to Santos and the ref disqualified Prindle as a result of the foul.
Alexander Volkov spent most of the first round stalking Brett Rogers around the ring. Volkov clearly was getting the better of the striking in the round—picking Rogers apart. Rogers looked hesitant to throw and couldn’t get things going early on. Volkov landed different strikes throughout the round that Rogers didn’t have an answer for. Both fighters were bleeding from the nose by the time the round came to a close.
In round two things didn’t change . Rogers seemed to hit the air more than actually hitting his opponent. Every time Rogers threw a punch, Volkov was there to retaliate with his own flurry. It was hard to tell if Volkov just looked this good or Rogers looked this bad.
Volkov did a really good job of changing levels—going body-head-body and landing—throwing Rogers off his game even more. Volkov at one point told Rogers to “bring it” in his best Russian—angered about Rogers lack of will to engage. There is a case for a 10-8 second round.
The third round didn’t change from the previous two rounds. Rogers again lacked the will to engage and Volkov just continued to pick him apart. Every time Rogers rushed or threw a punch it just seemed to lack anything behind it. It was cringeworthy to watch.
Volkov made Rogers look like his kid brother in this fight, earning a unanimous decision win.
Richard Hale came out and looked strong against Mike Wessel in the second quarterfinal fight of the night. Hale looked awesome with his striking, landing a lot of his punches during a flurry he threw at Wessel early on in the fight.
Hale eventually got the back of Wessel and instead of going for the choke, Hale instead flattened out Wessel and threw a bunch of punches. This caused the referee to step in and stop the fight from going any further. Hale won on a first-round TKO.
Mark Holata shot for an early takedown that left Vinicius Queiroz defending against the cage. The two separated a minute later and Queiroz was able to land a few flush punches on Holata. It was Holata though that ended up getting the better of the exchange, catching Queiroz with a nice left hook.
The hook dropped Queiroz and was followed up with a plethora of hammerfists by Holata. Queiroz was able to intelligently defend though and eventually tried to lock up a triangle choke using rubber guard, but that was broken up by Holata.
Eventually, Holata left his arm out a little too long and Queiroz locked up an armbar from his guard, submitting Holata in the first round. Queiroz now moves on the semi-finals of the heavyweight tournament.
Alexander Volkov def. Brett Rogers by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Richard Hale def. Mike Wessel by TKO (punches), Round 1, 1:19
Vinicius Queiroz def. Mark Holata by submission (armbar), Round 1, 3:26
Anthony Gomez def. Jose Medina by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 1, 2:32
Joe Williams def. Rod Montoya by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 1, 3:17
Chase Beebe def. Bo Harris by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Ryan Martinez def. Manny Lara by majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)*
Jason Graves def. Rafal Skibinski by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 2:50
Cliff Wright def. Bobby Reardanz by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:39
*Ryan Martinez was deducted one point for a low blow in Round 1
Photo: Thiago Santos (top) (Keith Mills/Sherdog)
Photo: Thiago Santos (top) (Keith Mills/Sherdog)