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Bellator 126: Shlemenko Loses Middleweight Title to Halsey

Bellator-Alexander-ShlemenkoPHOENIX, Arix. – Brandon Halsey (9-0) remains undefeated and takes the Bellator Middleweight World Title from Alexander Shlemenko (50-9) with a first round rear-naked choke at Bellator 126 on Friday night. The championship fight between Halsey and Shlemenko was the main event for Bellator on a four fight card.

Halsey won by submission for the second straight fight ending Shlemenko’s reign as champion and his eight fight winning streak in the middleweight division. As the fight started Halsey moved quickly for the takedown and took Schlemenko’s back. The Vista, California native immediately worked the rear-naked choke that literally choked the Russian unconscious to take the title.

The lightweight tournament final served as the co-main event with Marcin Held (20-3) taking the unanimous decision win over Patricky Friere (13-6) (29-28, 30-27, 30-26). In the fight Held out-struck Freire 42-17 and had a four takedown to none advantage when the fight went to the judges. The first round could go either way as both fighters landed strikes and had advantage but Held got the better of the exchanges and was driving for another takedown as the round ended. Round two was heavily in Held’s favor as he kept Pitbull defending submission attempts and absorbing damage. Held kept the pressure on in a dominant round three that apparently swayed a judge into a 10-8 score for the Polish fighter.

Make it four wins in a row for Bubba Jenkins (8-1) as he defeated Thiago Miller (19-6) by a unanimous decision in featherweight action. Jenkins controlled and dominated the fight landing 53 strikes to Miller’s 20 and finding success on three takedowns.

In the bantamweight action Mike Richman (17-5) puts his two-fight losing streak to rest with a first round knockout of Ed West (18-9). Richman finished the fight with right hands that backed West up to the cage. Once there, Richman lands a well-timed hook-cross combination that knocks West out in walk-off fashion.