It looks like Alexander Shlemenko will be the next man to challenge for the 185-pound Bellator title.
Fighting in the main event of the card, Shlemenko defeated Kendall Grove in a wild, back-and-fourth scrap that had the Russian fighter in trouble at one point.
The 32-year-old Shlemenko caught the Hawaiian early in the fight, but going in for the kill Grove turned things around and caught Shlemenko with a well-timed hook, rocking the former Bellator champion. Grove then followed up with a series of punches and knees from the clinch, but it wasn't enough to put away Shlemenko. For the rest of the round, both middleweights exchanged solid strikes in an even fight.
Entering the second, Grove looked to stay away from brawling and stayed in the outside, utilizing his range. However, Shlemenko stalked Grove down and landed a left hook to liver followed by a right hook to Grove's chin, causing the Hawaiian to fall to the canvas. Shlemenko raised his hands in victory and then followed up with ground-and-pound, forcing the referee to stop the fight.
"I think Melvin will win, and I will wait for Melvin, again," Shlemenko replied to Smith.
Shlemenko is now 53-9 as a professional fighter, and looks to gain what he lost in 2014 – the middleweight title.
Lashley and Appelt exchanged a few punches at the beginning of the fight, before Lashley scored a takedown against the cage. For the rest of the round, Lashley landed a steady stream of ground-and-pound and mixed it up with a few submission attempts, but nothing significant enough to get the referee to stop the fight.
At the start of the second, Lashley looked very tired, and for a second it seemed that things were going to go south for the 40-year-old heavyweight. But again, Lashley scored a takedown and began punching Appelt from turtle position. In one of the exchanges, Appelt let his guard down and Lashley snuck his massive right arm underneath Appelt's neck, and just a second or two after locking the rear-naked choke from turtle position, Appelt tapped out.
Lashley is now on an eight-fight wining streak and remains undefeated in Bellator. He's 15-2 as a professional fighter.
This fight was Yamauchi's return to the lightweight division, and he delivered in impressive fashion. Couture took down the 23-year-old Yamauchi in the beginning of the round, and it was pretty much over from there, as Yamauchi played high guard to eventually lock up an arm-bar on Couture.
With this victory, Yamauchi is now 20-3 as a professional fighter, and 6-2 under the Bellator banner. He remains a hot prospect in MMA at only 23-years of age.
Kato started the first round looking sharp, catching Mathews with a heavy shot. But that power punch only seemed to wake up Mathews, as the 28-year-old fighter turned up the pressure and had Kato backing up for a good portion of the fight. A little past the first half of round one, Kato accidentally poked Matthews in the eye. The fight was stopped briefly, and when it was resumed the momentum that Matthews was carrying wasn't there anymore. Kato would go on to wobble Matthews towards the end of the round, following up with precise striking, and finishing Matthews via technical knockout with just two seconds remaining in the round.
Kato, who made a name of himself for his brutal knockouts over Joe Schilling, is now on a two-fight winning streak with both victories being technical knockouts.