earned a stunning come-from-behind victory over Jared Hess
by causing a nasty injury to Hess's leg Thursday night in the semifinals of the Bellator Fighting Championships middleweight tournament.
The Shlemenko-Hess fight was one of the strangest of the year. For the first two rounds Hess took Shlemenko down and controlled him on the ground, using his superior wrestling ability and taking advantage of the fact that Shlemenko has a fairly limited ground game. It looked like Hess was going to win a fairly dull decision -- until the third round, when things got ugly.
Early in the third Shlemenko landed a knee to Hess's head, and Hess crumpled to the ground. For a split second it appeared that Hess had been knocked out, but Hess was clearly conscious and able to dodge Shlemenko's punches on the ground. However, what it took about a minute for the referee, Shlemenko, the fans -- and maybe even for Hess himself -- to realize is that when Hess went down because of Shlemenko's knee, Hess's own knee bent awkwardly and was badly injured.
Once the referee got a good look at Hess's knee -- which looked absolutely disgusting -- he immediately stopped the fight. Hess, showing an incredible amount of toughness, actually appeared to want to keep fighting. But it was absolutely the right call: Hess was in no condition to fight.
Now Shlemenko moves on to the Bellator middleweight tournament finals. And Hess moves on to what will surely be a long rehabilitation process for a major knee injury.