Alexey Oleinik, Jose Vega and Lisa Ward all won to advance to the semifinals of their respective Bellator Fighting Championships Season 3 tournaments Thursday night at Bellator 26 in Kansas City.
In a bloody mess of a fight in the heavyweight tournament, Oleinik and Mike Hayes slugged it out for 15 minutes. It wasn't an easy fight to score, and could have gone either way, but two judges scored it 29-28 Oleinik while one scored it 29-28 Hayes. It's a good thing for Bellator that Oleinik got the decision, as Hayes had a nasty cut on his right eye that likely would have prevented him from moving on to the semifinals.
As it is, Oleinik will face Neil Grove in one semifinal fight, while Cole Konrad will face Damian Grabowski in the other heavyweight tournament semifinal.
In the bantamweight tournament, Danny Tims exploded out of the gate, throwing wild punches and knocking Vega down in the opening seconds of their fight. But Tims couldn't sustain his wild style for even one minute -- let alone 15 -- as Vega came back and controlled most of the rest of the fight. The judges scored it 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 for Vega, who ran his record to 9-3. Vega becomes the first fighter to advance to Bellator's bantamweight semifinals; the other three first-round bantamweight fights will take place next week.
In the women's 115-pound tournament, Ward used her superior wrestling to dominate Aisling Daly, winning a unanimous decision 30-27 on all three judges' cards. It wasn't a great fight, but it was a solid showing from Ward, who joins Megumi Fujii, Jessica Aguilar and Zoila Frasuto in the semifinals.
In an extremely exciting fight that lasted just two and a half minutes, Steve Carl choked out Tyler Stinson with a guillotine at the halfway point of the first round of their non-tournament bout. Carl's choke came after he was nearly submitted by a triangle choke from Stinson, but Carl showed a great deal of heart and determination in hanging on -- not to mention a great deal of physical strength in picking Stinson up and slamming him to the ground while in the triangle choke. Carl-Stinson was about as entertaining as 150 seconds in the cage can be.