Lyman Good was Bellator's first welterweight champion, and now he wants to be its next one. The New Yorker has been a staple of the promotion since the beginning, has reached the top, and believes he's on his way back.
On Friday night at Bellator 74, Good again started the first step on that journey, defeating Jim Wallhead in a night that featured all four welterweight tournament quarterfinals.
Good easily handled Wallhead, winning 29-27 on all three judges' scorecards even after one point was deducted from his score following an errant low blow with one second left in the bout.
Good excelled both from distance and in tight, using a stinging jab from the former position and uppercuts from the clinch in the latter, scoring at will. By the end of the fight, Wallhead's face was badly marked up, with cuts over both of his eyes.
"I feel great," said Good, who lost his belt to current champ Ben Askren in October 2010. "This is my first step towards regaining what used to be mine. The first step on the adventure to get that belt around my waist again."
Good entered the tournament in season four, but lost to Rick Hawn in a close split-decision. This was his third consecutive win since then as he he improved to 13-2.
Wallhead, who is known for his judo game, could never really get his offense on track, and never came close to bringing the fight to the ground. He fell to 23-7.
Earlier in the night, Andrey Koreshkov was the first welterweight to advance into the tourney's semifinals, besting Jordan Smith in a unanimous decision by a trio of 29-28 scores.
It was the first time that the 22-year-old prospect has gone to a decision in his career, and for a few moments in the second round, it appeared he might lose to a rear naked choke. But he worked his way out and then won the pivotal third by capitalizing on his striking edge.
Koreshkov landed several stinging punches during the course of the three-round fight, but needed all 15 minutes in improving his career record to 11-0.
"I didn't expect it to be that tough, but I won, and that's the important thing," he said afterward through his interpreter.
Michail Tsarev then joined his countryman and teammate, finishing Tim Welch with a second-round rear naked choke submission.
Tsarev had threatened Welch twice in the first, with a guillotine and a triangle, respectively. But in the second, he utilized a takedown to get the fight to the ground and quickly transitioned to Welch's back. He immediately sunk his choking arm under his opponent's neck and got a quick tap for the win.
Tsarev is now 24-2, with 19 of his victories coming by way of submission. He'll ride an 11-fight win streak into the semis.
Lithuanian Marius Zaromskis, perhaps the most recognizable name on the card due to his time in the Strikeforce and DREAM promotions, became the third and final nationality to advance to the semis by way of a unanimous decision over Nordine Taleb by scores of 30-27, 29-28, 29-28.
The striker had a bit of trouble early as Taleb opened up with some sharp combinations, but made adjustments as the fight went on, dropping Taleb twice in the fight, and clearly stunning him on another occasion. Though he couldn't finish, it was clearly enough for a win.
Zaromskis is now 19-6-1 while Taleb's loss snapped a seven-fight win streak, dropping his record to 8-2.