Bellator 75 ends in bizarre fashion as Thiago Santos defeats Eric Prindle by disqualification

It was a similar weird ending as their first match, but this time Thiago Santos moves on in the Season 7 heavyweight tournament, after Eric Prindle was disqualified for an illegal groin kick in the closing seconds of the first round.

The weird rivalry between Eric Prindle and Thiago Santos got even stranger Friday night in their Bellator 75 match at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind.

Last November, Prindle took an illegal kick to the groin from Santos and could no longer continue during the final match of the Season 5 heavyweight tournament.

On Friday, it was Prindle delivering an illegal blow, this time and axe kick that landed flush to Santos' groin as he was on his back during the final seconds of the opening round of the Season 7 heavyweight tournament.

"I was trying to hit him in the stomach," Prindle told referee Gary Copeland.

"I know, and I realize that," Copeland responded. "You've been nothing but courteous the whole time you've been here. But unfortunately I have to call it like I see it."

After lying on his back for the full five-minute recovery time, Santos and his corner told Copeland and the ringside physician he was in tremendous pain and could no longer continue — which meant Prindle would receive a disqualification loss for his actions and Santos (11-1 1 NC) would advance into the semifinals.

Santos quickly took Prindle (7–3 1 NC) down early in the first round and controlled the Arizona native for all but the final moments of the round, almost pulling off a pair of submission attempts. But as Prindle stood up in the final seconds while Santos stayed on his back, Prindle opted for a standing axe kick that mightily missed its mark and sets off a series of exclamations from the crowd.

It was just the latest odd chapter between the two.

After the initial no-contest when Santos blasted Prindle when he was down, a rematch for early 2012 was delayed when Prindle came down with "flu-like symptoms. The then rescheduled rematch a week later was then called off when Santos missed weight by a dozen pounds and Prindle won the tourney by default.

In other action, Brett Rogers' comeback took another detour Friday when Russian prospect Alexander Volkov picked him apart for all three rounds in a unanimous decision victory (30-27 for all three judges).

"Thank you for your support, it's the first time I fight in the U.S. I trained very hard for this fight because I really respect Brett Rogers as an opponent," said the 23-year-old Volkov, who improved to 17-3. "We had a good game plan that worked out tonight and I’m very glad that I won."

Rogers — who was still trying to rebound from the domestic violence incident from June 2011 that cost him his job in Strikeforce — allowed the two-inch taller Russian to use his length throughout the fight. Rarely did he try to rush or engage from the inside, instead allowing Volkov to just time shots from the outside – making Rogers pay throughout the entirety of the fight.

Rogers, who started his MMA career with a 10-0 run, is only 2-6-1 in his last nine fights. The win was the eighth straight for Volkov.

It was another quick night for Richard Hale, who defeated Mike Wessell by TKO just 1:19 with a series of big punches.

"Just to give it out to all the heavyweights so they know: I'm coming. I ain't just a light heavyweight, I'm a heavyweight coming," said a fired up Hale, who has won three straight fights with first-round stoppages.

"We're looking for that belt, looking for that gold. I'm coming. I'm coming hard."

Rounding out the opening round of the tourney was Vinicius Querioz taking out Mark Holata with a first-round submission via an armbar.

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