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Bellator 126 results: Brandon Halsey establishes name in sport with 35-second Bellator title win


Middleweight Brandon Halsey put his name on everyone's radar Friday night by not just winning the Bellator championship, but also finishing champion Alexander Shlemenko in just 35 seconds.

Halsey (8-0), a former college All-American wrestler at Cal State Bakersfield, immediately took Shlemenko (50-9) down and took advantage when Shlemenko turned his back to him. Halsey got the choke immediately. Shlemenko, for the second fight in a row, refused to tap, and was choked unconscious before it was stopped.

"I felt like a monster, baby," said Halsey as the crowd at the Grand Canyon University gym in Phoenix, Ariz., showered him with loud "USA" chants.  "I feels great. I wouldn't be here without God.  I want to give all the thanks to him. I put in the work. I put in the training. Putting this belt around my waist feels great."

This was Shlemenko's fourth title defense, coming off losing a non-title fight at light heavyweight to Tito Ortiz to Bellator's May 17 pay-per-view event.

Halsey, a physical powerhouse at the weight, coming from wrestling at 197 pounds, has been fighting less than three years. He dominated a four-man summer tournament to earn the title shot, and has now finished three of his last four Bellator opponents in under three minutes.

In the co-main event, the striker vs. grappler battle between Marcin Held and Patricky "Pitbull" Freire in the finals of a lightweight tournament went the way of the grappler. Held (20-3) got the fight to the ground quickly in all three rounds and kept it there to win a decision on scores of 29-28, 30-27 and 30-26. The win should put Held, a leg lock specialist, at the top of the line when it comes to meeting the winner of the Nov. 15 lightweight title match with interim champion Will Brooks against former champion Michael Chandler.

The crowd booed the fight late as Freire (13-6) was unable to get any striking game going. Held did significant damage in the second round, leaving Freire cut from the right eye and smothered most of the way. Held went for some submissions during the fight, never coming close to finishing, but seemed content to control the top position and land strikes a Freire was on the defensive most of the way.

In a featherweight battle, former NCAA champion wrestler Bubba Jenkins (8-1) won a 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 decision over Thiago Meller (19-6), in similar fashion.  Jenkins used his wrestling to control the fight on the ground, cutting Meller from both eyes.

The television opener saw Mike Richman (17-5) make a successful move to bantamweight, dropping from featherweight. "The Marine" used a right left combination to knock out Ed West (18-9) at 2:44 of the first round.

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