Bellator tourney finalist Doug Marshall happy judges didn't favor 'wet blanket'


doug-marshall-5.jpgAt one point in his clash with Sultan Aliev, Doug Marshall got a much-needed standup after spending much of the fight on the ground. He then had a message for referee Herb Dean.

“I’m like trying to push Herb Dean out of the way,” Marshall recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “I’m like, ‘Herb, you got to get out of the way, man. I’ve got limited time here. I need to knock this dude out. You’ve got to get out of the way.’”

Marshall (17-6 MMA, 3-0 BFC) never got the knockout, but he did get the win over Aliev (9-1 MMA, 1-1 BFC) at this past week’s Bellator 92 event. The March 7 victory earned him a ticket to the Bellator Season 8 middleweight final, where he meets Brett Cooper (19-7 MMA, 6-2 BFC).

Marshall clearly became agitated in the recent fight. The free-swinging ex-WEC champ continually was put on the mat, where Aliev’s offense was often limited. Marshall played to the crowd, signaled to the ref for a standup, and huffed and puffed as his anger boiled over. He landed a few clean blows in the second round after getting to his feet, but after spending much of his fight on his back, Marshall appeared to be on his way to a decision loss.

Instead, though, the judges gave him the split-decision nod via 27-30, 29-28 and 29-28 scores.

“I was just glad the judges got it right for once,” Marshall said. “They’re usually too busy rewarding that takedown with those lay-and-pray guys and not looking at the overall picture of the fight.

“If you’re going to take me down, take me down and pound my head into the mat. Take me down. Throw up some submissions. Pass my guard. Do some stuff. Don’t just take me down and lay there so tight on me like a wet blanket where I can’t even move. Then you want to pitty-pat me? That’s just not my style.”

Marshall had defeated three consecutive opponents, including Andreas Spang (whom he met in the tourney’s opening round), via knockout. In fact, 11 of his 17 career wins have come via KO. He had been fighting opponents who were willing to stand and bang, but against the Russian Aliev, he got the exact opposite.

“You get a great wrestler that’s really active and able to take you down and do damage and win the fight? That’s great,” Marshall said. “But every time I came in, he just dropped his butt to the floor, and I could hear little Russian mumbles as I think he was saying some prayer to the Russian gods or something.

“We see it constantly – the wrestler, the ground guy getting credit for just the take down. … Even if they’re booing for the other fighter, I don’t want to hear booing in my fights. I like to put on a show and make it exciting. Against a fighter like that, it’s almost impossible.”

Marshall feels like he’ll get a better matchup when he meets Cooper, who’s won eight out of his past 10 bouts, including six via knockout. Marshall also gets a new weapon in the tourney final. Unlike the first two rounds of the eight-man tourney, Marshall is allowed to elbow a downed opponent in the final.

“During the finals, OK, you took me down, so here, let me kiss your face a couple times with these elbows, and let me know if you want to stay there,” he said. “This is going to be a much better matchup for me with Brett Cooper. He’s got some good standup, good takedowns, decent on the ground, good ground and pound, and he’s a really, really tough guy. It’s going to be a great fight.”

For more on Bellator 92, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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