On Friday, March 28, Bellator MMA hosted its 114th event from the Maverik Center in West Valley, Utah.

In the night’s main event, Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko put his 185-pound title on the line against season nine tournament winner Brennan Ward. The Russian Shlemenko had reeled off 12 straight wins and has not tasted defeat since 2010. Against Ward he looked to defend his title for a third consecutive time. Ward entered the contest on a four-fight winning streak of his own, all under the Bellator banner.

Also on the card, the promotion hosted the semifinals of the season 10 featherweight tournament as Desmond Green took on Will Martinez and Matt Bessette faced off with Daniel Weichel. Rounding out the main card was one half of the promotion’s season 10 middleweight tournament as UFC veteran Kendall Grove took on former Bellator title challenger Brett Cooper.

The night’s preliminary card kicked off at 7 p.m. ET on Spike.com. The main card aired live on Spike TV beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

Shlemenko taps Ward, retains middleweight title

Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko retained his title with a second-round submission of Brennan Ward.

There was no feeling out process as Ward came out throwing right hands. Shlemenko took the shots well and looked for a liver kick that Ward blocked. Ward sought a takedown, but Shlemenko stuffed it. A left hand from the Russian slowed Ward’s advance. Shlemenko threw a knee that Ward caught, but Ward could not bring the fight to the ground. A counter left hand from Shlemenko again landed, but Ward was able to take Shlemenko’s back in a scramble along the fence. Ward looked for a neck crank, but Shlemenko defended. After a referee standup, Ward again took Shlemenko’s back, this time in the center of the cage, and secured a body triangle. Ward held the position until the round concluded.

More exchanges on the feet kicked off the second frame. Both fighters landed with their hands and traded knees from the clinch. Ward ducked under a head kick attempt from Shlemenko, but left his neck exposed. The Russian capitalized and forced Ward to tap to the deep guillotine choke.

Weichel too much for Bessette, claims spot in tournament final

German featherweight Daniel Weichel used a strong top game to outwork Matt Bessette for three rounds and earn a spot in the season 10 tournament finals.

Weichel fired combinations right off the bat, but Bessette avoided damage and looked for a takedown. A kick from Bessette was caught by Weichel and he dumped him to the mat. The German fighter rained big punches from the top position. Bessette tried to tie up Weichel from his back, but Weichel remained patient with his attack. Bessette worked back to his feet in the final minute of the frame, but was unable to mount much offense.

Round two saw the two exchange on the feet. Each landed single shots before Weichel again caught a kick and threw Bessette against the fence. Bessette quickly returned to his feet and started to open up with his strikes. The two continued to look for openings on the feet until Weichel looked for a takedown. Bessette defended and unleashed a big combination as the round came to an end.

Weichel sought a takedown early in round three and was able to get Bessette to the ground. Bessette struggled to tie up Weichel from his back and ate a number of short right hands. Weichel controlled Bessette for the remainder of the fight, keeping him pinned to the mat and staying busy on top.

Green bests Martinez, advances to tournament final

Featherweight Desmond Green moved to the season 10 tournament final with a methodical unanimous decision win over Will Martinez.

Green scored early from the outside with combinations. Martinez fired back with a right hand along the fence, but it prompted Green to bring the fight to the ground. Martinez worked back to his feet and began to walk down Green. The pair clinched in the center of the cage and each landed short punches on the inside. Green scooped Martinez’s legs and planted him on his back with 90 seconds remaining in the round. The fight would stay there with Green on top until the bell sounded.

A left hand from Green found its mark to kick off the second stanza. Martinez answered with a left hook of his own that slowed Green’s advance. It was short-lived as Green got in deep and locked onto Martinez’s body along the fence. Green scored with a big suplex, but Martinez was able to quickly recover his guard. Martinez looked for an armbar off his back, but Green was wise to it. Green again maintained the top position to end the round.

Martinez came out aggressively in the final round. He fired off a series of right hands, but Green was able to slip the punches. Martinez then tried to bait Green into getting countered, but Green rocked him with a left hand. Neither fighter showed a sense of urgency as they both looked for single shots in the center of the cage. A left hand from Martinez landed and Green looked for another takedown in the final minute of the fight. He got it just as the final horn rang.

Cooper knocks out Grove, moves on to tournament final

Brett Cooper punched his ticket to the season 10 middleweight tournament final with a second-round knockout of Kendall Grove.

Cooper marched forward early as he tried to get inside Grove’s reach. A big leg kick from Cooper stumbled Grove, but he quickly clinched and took Cooper to the mat. Grove took Cooper’s back with both hooks and searched for a rear-naked choke. Cooper managed to defend even as Grove locked in a body triangle. Grove delivered heavy shots in the waning seconds of the round, but Cooper was saved by the bell.

A big uppercut from Cooper connected to kick off the second round. Grove again looked for a takedown, but Cooper kept the fight upright. Grove began to establish his jab, but Cooper looked to counter. Midway through the round, Cooper found a home for his right hand, sending Grove crashing to the canvas. Cooper flurried with heavy punches and knocked Grove out along the fence.

Alexander Shlemenko def. Brennan Ward by submission (guillotine choke). Round 2, 1:22 – for middleweight title
Daniel Weichel def. Matt Bessette by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27 – featherweight tournament semifinal
Desmond Green def. Will Martinez by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27) – featherweight tournament semifinal
Brett Cooper def. Kendall Grove by knockout (punches). Round 2, 3:33 – middleweight tournament semifinal
Justin Wilcox def. Jason Fischer by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Bubba Jenkins def. Sean Powers by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Linton Vassell def. Trevor Carlson by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 1:54
Gavin Sterritt def. Mike Estus by submission (guillotine choke). Round 1, 3:29
Joe Rodriguez def. Eric Wahlin by submission (arm-triangle choke). Round 2, 2:06
Rad Martinez def. Edson Berto by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

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