Clementi (right) narrowly edged Alexander Sarnavskiy at Bellator
77. | Photo: Keith Mills
Sometimes, experience trumps talent.
UFC veteran Rich
Clementi spoiled the promotional debut of Alexander
Sarnavskiy in the Bellator Fighting Championships Season 7
tournament quarterfinals, as he captured a split decision from the
highly touted Russian prospect in the Bellator 77 main event on
Friday at the Sovereign Center in Reading, Pa.
All three judges scored it 29-28: Brent Colflesh
and Brad Duruttya for Clementi (45-21-1, 2-1 Bellator), Kings Kao
for the previously undefeated Sarnavskiy (20-1, 0-1 Bellator).
Clementi's grappling authored an
upset against Sarnavskiy.
“That dude was shooting cannons; a tough, tough dude,” Clementi
said. “One thing about this ring; it does not lie.”
The 35-year-old Clementi nearly finished in the first round, where
he pressed for takedown, maneuvered onto the standing Sarnavskiy’s
back and fished for the rear-naked choke. After a lengthy struggle,
the Louisianan slipped his arm underneath Sarnavskiy’s chin,
flattened him out from behind as he fell to the ground, and
tightened his grip. The end seemed near. However, the resilient
Sarnavskiy withstood the choke for more than a minute and
ultimately freed himself from Clementi’s clutches.
Round two played out in similar fashion, minus the near-submission.
Clementi again transitioned to the Russian’s back, popped him with
punches and tried to create opening for another choke attempt.
Sarnavskiy defended well, but found himself in a two-round
Perhaps sensing his situation had grown dire, Sarnavskiy asserted
himself in the third round. There, he clipped Clementi with a punch
and peppered him with standing-to-ground punches. Seasoned by
nearly 70 professional bouts, Clementi weathered the attack and
settled for the decision on the scorecards.
“This sport is like everything else in life,” he said. “It has its
ups and downs.”
Jansen Guillotine Dispatches Saadulaev
Extreme Cagefighting veteran Dave Jansen
Saadulaev with a third-round guillotine choke in the Bellator
Season 7 lightweight tournament quarterfinals. On the brink of
going unconscious, Saadulaev (14-2, 0-1 Bellator) tapped out 41
seconds into round three.
Jansen punched his semis ticket.
Jansen (17-2, 4-0 Bellator) overcame a slow start to record his
fourth consecutive victory. The 33-year-old Sports Lab product
found another gear in the second round, when he struck for a
takedown, passed the Saadulaev guard and ultimately battered him
with standing-to-ground punches to the body and head. It took a
noticeable toll on the promotional newcomer.
In round three, Saadulaev telegraphed a takedown and left himself
exposed. Jansen locked up the choke, jumped into full guard and
squeezed his way to the submission.
“I felt pretty confident [in the guillotine],” Jansen said. “I knew
I had trapped his arm. It took me a while to wake up. I don’t know
why. I’m glad I got better at the end.”
Held Outworks, Outpoints Machaev
Polish grappling prodigy Marcin Held
extended his winning streak to four fights with a unanimous
decision over previously unbeaten Russian import Murad
Machaev in the Bellator Season 7 tournament quarterfinals. All
three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Held (14-2, 3-1
Held outlasted Machaev.
Though he had issues employing his vaunted ground game, Held was
the aggressor for much of the bout. The 20-year-old scored with a
pair of takedowns in the first round and kept Machaev at bay with
well-timed left jabs and stinging low kicks in the third.
Machaev (9-1, 0-1 Bellator) did his best work in the second round,
when he cracked the Pole with multiple left hooks. However, none of
them did enough damage to turn the tide in his favor.
Tirloni Choke Submits Nazare
Tirloni won for the 12th time in 13 outings, as he submitted
fellow Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Rene Nazare
with a second-round brabo choke in the Bellator Season 7
lightweight tournament quarterfinals. Nazare (10-3, 3-3 Bellator)
conceded defeat 74 seconds into round two.
Tirloni came, swung and subbed.
The two men battled to a stalemate through the first five minutes.
In the second round, Nazare lit up Tirloni (15-2, 2-1 Bellator)
with a series of left hooks and had the 29-year-old on his heels.
However, Tirloni countered with a searing right hook, followed up
with an attempted guillotine choke and drove Nazare to the ground.
From there, he set up the brabo choke from side control and forced
the tapout. Nazare had never before been submitted.
“I like fights like that,” Tirloni said. “The public wants to see
Polley Outduels Marrero; Undefeated Horcher KOs Brooks
In preliminary action, Lew Polley
captured a unanimous decision over UFC veteran Carmelo
Marrero in their heavyweight encounter, earning 30-27, 29-28
and 29-28 nods from the judges; Blackman MMA prospect Darrell
Horcher kept his perfect professional record intact and knocked
out the previously unbeaten E.J. Brooks 21
seconds into their Bellator Season 7 lightweight tournament reserve
Alexandre forced a doctor’s stoppage against Mike Bannon
in between rounds two and three of their lightweight affair; Duane
Batress took a split verdict (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) over Ariel
Sepulveda at 185 pounds; Brett
Martinez submitted Eric
Albright with a guillotine choke 3:28 into the second round of
their featherweight tilt.
Polley eked past Marrero.