You can’t go more than one day without something happening to a fight on any given card in MMA. Injuries and illness tend to be the norm more and more with each passing week. This time the culprit was food poisoning, and its victim was featherweight tournament finalist Shahbulat Shamhalaev.

These things happen, though, and in the case of Shamhalaev versus Rad Martinez, the fight is only postponed one more week for a now even more stacked Bellator 84 card.

Bellator 83 took place in Atlantic City, N.J., at Caesar’s Atlantic City, and it had an interesting twist to say the least.

Shamhalaev became ill with food poisoning and, just minutes before the main event was originally slated to air, the fight was canceled in an unexpected turn of events for everybody, including Shamhalaev’s opponent, Martinez. Replacing Martinez and Shamhalaev in the final slot on the televised card was Darrell Horcher versus Chris Liguori in a fight that saw a pretty dominant first two rounds in favor of Horcher.

Also on the main card were two major upsets in the Bellator ranks. Former champion Zack Makovsky was beaten by Anthony Leone and in the women’s division, current champion Zoila Gurgel was defeated via a quick submission from Jessica Eye.

Bellator 83 was interesting to say the least and like usual, it was a pretty good night of fights from Bellator.

Darrell Horcher defeats Chris Liguori by unanimous decision in prelim-turned-main event fight

Darrell Horcher definitely got the better of Chris Liguori in the first, dominating him standing and eventually almost sinking in a guillotine choke.

On top of that, Horcher had Liguori crumpled up and was landing unanswered punches that didn’t seem to make the referee end the fight in a surprising turn of events. Liguori couldn’t hold down Horcher the few times he got the fight to the ground, and was definitely hurt for the majority of the first round.

The fight didn’t change much from the first, and Horcher again beat Liguori standing as Liguori couldn’t find an answer for anything Horcher threw. Liguori showed tremendous heart though, shrugging off everything Horcher had thrown and eventually landing a takedown to end the second round.

Liguori, knowing he was behind on the scorecards, opened the third with an aggressive approach. He did an excellent job in the third round in the striking department and even landed a couple takedowns where he proceeded to batter Horcher a little bit. It was too little, too late though, as Horcher took the fight by unanimous decision.

Anthony Leone upsets Zack Makovsky with unanimous decision victory

In the second upset of the night, Anthony Leone survived two early close rounds to beat former Bellator champion Zack Makovsky.

Leone and Makovsky started off slowly and felt each other out for the first couple of minutes before the fight really began. Makovsky landed a single leg on Leone and ended up in side control, but the ground fight didn’t last long as eventually Leone got out and standing. Leone got the better of the standing exchange in the first, seeming to hurt Makovsky, but couldn’t land the takedown attempt right after.

The second round was more of the same, with Leone quickly getting up after any Makovsky takedown. Leone landed a takedown that Makovsky tried to counter with a guillotine choke, but Leone was able to break out of it and switch position. Makovsky then attempted a triangle choke that Leone escaped, but Leone couldn’t hold onto the top position in the ensuing scramble and Makovsky landed on top.

Leone tried a guillotine choke of his own to open the third round, starting more aggressive than in the previous two rounds. Leone eventually landed a takedown and ended up moving straight over to side control in what was a pretty uneventful third round. From there, Leone just consistently kept changing position to north-south, side control and half guard to help throw off Makovsky.

A pretty dominant third round earned Leone two rounds on two judges’ scorecards as Leone won the fight by split decision.

Jessica Eye submits Zoila Gurgel in underdog win

Jessica Eye immediately opened the fight trading with Zoila Gurgel and dropped her with a beautiful combination of two hooks and a cross. The champion then tried to stand up, but was immediately met with punches from Eye.

Eventually, the two clinched up and Eye grabbed Gurgel’s arm as Gurgel turned her around along the cage. Eye then went for the standing arm-triangle choke and sent Gurgel into a panic as Gurgel tried her very best to avoid the choke attempt. Eye seemed determine to finish the choke, yanking Gurgel around while still holding onto the choke.

Gurgel eventually fell to her knees, succumbing to unconsciousness and Eye took the fight with the impressive submission victory.


Darrell Horcher def. Chris Liguori by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Anthony Leone def. Zack Makovsky by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Jessica Eye def. Zoila Gurgel by technical submission (arm-triangle choke), Round 1, 0:58

Mike Wessel def. Alexei Kudin by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Jimmie Rivera def. Jesse Brock by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Terrell Hobbs def. Brylan van Artsdalen by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 1, 3:07

Tuan Pham def. Matthew Lozano by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Claudio Ledesma def. David Harris by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Photo: Jessica Eye (L) and Zoila Gurgel (Bellator Fighting Championships)