Bellator's return to the Spike TV airwaves may have been the technical beginning of the Scott Coker era, but it featured a show built by Bjorn Rebney before his departure. Both the main and co-main event featured two season 10 tournament finals, this time in the welterweight and middleweight divisions.
In the main event between finalists Adam McDonough and Andrey Koreshkov, it would be the Russian who would go on to dominate and claim his second Bellator tournament title.
In the first frame, Korsehkov immediately took center cage and after about a minute, McDonough dove for a single, which the Russian easily shrugged off. As Koreshkov pressed the American against the fence with forward pressure, a spinning back kick nearly lands for the Russian, but wasn't enough to substantively hurt McDonough. Korsehkov eventually jumped in with a switch knee to the body that partly landed, but the bout continued on. McDonough tried to use the opportunity for a takedown, but simply couldn't secure it. After another knee to the body, McDonough attempted to press Koreshkov into the fence and as they separated and literally ran from the Russian across the cage.
McDonough kicked off the second round with a leaping low single, but the Russian had none of it. McDonough tried it again with less effect as Koreshkov continued to walk him down. While it didn't put McDonough away, Koreshkov soon scored with a spinning back kick flush to the fsace that sent the American crashing to the mat, although he was able to survive, get back to his feet and reset the action. McDonough reached for another double in the center of the cage, but Koreshkov sprawled, which forced McDonough into a defensive guard. Koreshkov then pounded on top before McDonough returned to turtle and eventually stood to his feet. Koreshkov threw a barrage of spinning kicks and punches as the round ended, but couldn't put McDonough away.
By the third round, McDonough attempted naked left hooks and diving takedowns, none of which worked. In fact, as the round passed the halfway mark, Koreshkov stuffed another single and as McDonough turtled, the Russian drilled a bruising knee to the body. The American tried to evade to avoid further punishment, but was rolled to his back. They eventually separated and as the round expired, Koreshkov chased down a fleeing McDonough with a series of punches.
Koreshkov made the judges decision a simple one as he took a unanimous decision victory, earning 30-27 across all three judges score cards. With the victory, Koreshkov is now a two-time Bellator tournament winner.
"I am very happy that I can follow his steps and that I don't disappoint him," Koreshkov said via translator when speaking about his teammate and mentor, Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko.
In the co-main event and to decide the season 10 Bellator middleweight tournament, top prospect Brandon Halsey faced off with grizzled veteran Brett Cooper.
Halsey immediately took center of the cage and quickly made the bout a wrestling contest with a single leg dump into side control. Halsey also managed to isolate Cooper's nearside arm as he roeated, which allowed him to sit for an armbar as he positioned his own body around. However, the wrestler never managed to get his outside leg over Cooper's face, which allowed Cooper to raise his hips and turn to challenge the submission. Halsey followed him with his hip and body rotation, though, and went belly down, which almost immediately forced the tap. The end came officially at 2:09 in round 1.
In one of the night's light heavyweight semifinals, Liam McGeary continued his striking reign of terror making short work of Egidijus Valavicius. While Valavicius managed to land a hard overhand right, it actually forced McGeary to clinch and then push Valavicius against the fence where the Brit went to work. A series of knees bloodied Valavicius, which only made the crushing uppercuts and subsequent clinch attacks that much worse. The onslaught had Valavicius covering up for dear life, slumping against the cage. The merciful end came officially at 2:10 of the first round. McGeary now faces Kelly Anundson in the finals.
Lastly, the opening bout of the broadcast featured a contest between UFC veterans Phil Baroni and Karo Parisyan. As it turns out, t was the Armenian judoka who would emerge the victor, but he never really had to use his judo to get it done. The pair exchanged strikes until Parisyan forced the clinch and backed Baroni into the fence. Baroni, however, was able to stop any throw or trip attempt, which compelled Parisyan to back out. Yet, he still applied forward pressure with his distancing, keeping Baroni pinned against the fence. A lunging uppercut grazed Baroni, but it was enough to set up the beginning of the end as it sent Baroni to his knees. Parisyan followed up on an obviously hurt Baroni, which made referee 'Big' John McCarthy halt the bout at just 2:06 of round one.
Bellator 122 took place at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California. The main card aired live on Spike TV.