Bellator came one step closer to crowning a new title-contender and champion last night thanks to a pair of semifinal scraps at Bellator 79. On one side of the divisional spectrum, featherweights Shahbulat Shamhalaev-Mike Richman faced off, while heavyweights Rich Hale-Thiago Santos rumbled on the other. However, despite the size difference, both bouts featured similar results in the form of first-frame finishes.
Shamhalaev earned his tenth win in eleven tries with a TKO of Richman, laying the former Marine out before the midway point of the pairing’s opening round. With the triumph, the 11-1-1 Russian is now poised to take on the winner of an upcoming fight between Wagnney Fabiano/Rad Martinez in hopes of completing a six-figure payday and getting a crack at the 145-pound king to boot (currently Pat Curran).
Meanwhile, Hale needed a little longer to put Santos away though not that much more time as it turned out. Hale picked up his fourth straight victory a little less than four minutes into the match-up, handing Santos the first strike-based stoppage of his career. Hale’s next outing will feature gold up for grabs, eventually taking on either Vincius Queiroz or Alexander Volkov for the vacant heavyweight strap depending on who wins their meeting next weekend at Bellator 80.
Read below for a full list of Bellator 79 results:
Guillaume DeLorenzi def. Jonny Carson via Submission Round 1 (Rear-Naked Choke)
Josh Appelt def. Ed Carpenter via Submission Round 1 (Rear-Naked Choke)
Vitaly Minakov def. Vladimir Starcencov via TKO Round 2 (Strikes)
Magomedrasul Khasbulaev def. Josh Pulsifier via Submission Round 1 (Rear-Naked Choke)
Christ Franck def. Marcus Aurelio via Split Decision
Ryan Ford def. Kyle Baker via Unanimous Decision
Douglas Lima def. Kobe Ortiz via TKO Round 3 (Strikes)
Shahbulat Shamhalaev def. Mike Richman via TKO Round 1 (Strikes)
Rich Hale def. Thiago Santos via TKO Round 1 (Strikes)