A record-breaking “Storm” highlighted the Bellator 133 event last night in Fresno, CA — in the form of a spectacular spinning back-fist knockout.
The former Bellator Middleweight Champion, Alexander “Storm” Shlemenko, made a new mark in the promotion’s history books with his round two KO win over Melvin Manhoef at the main event.
The win broke a two fight losing streak within the promotion, but also set set new promotional records for appearances, and wins, by a Bellator fighter.
The Russian had quietly enjoyed a 12-fight winning streak over the previous three years: picking up the Bellator middleweight strap along the way, and defending it three times. But then came a loss to Tito Ortiz at light heavyweight, followed by a stunning upset at the hands of unheralded eight-fight veteran Brandon Halsey.
But last night was his night to get back on track, as Melvin Manhoef, a Dutch kickboxer who has accumulated a 29-13-1 record in MMA (with one no-contest), was a victim of the Russian’s vaunted power.
Shlemenko dominated from the opening bell with a dynamic striking attack, eventually scoring the spinning back-fist which sent Manhoef into unconsciousness at 1:25 of the second stanza.
Shlemenko improved his overall MMA record to 52-9 with the victory. He now holds the solo record for most Bellator appearances with fifteen (surpassing Rick Hawn), and victories, with twelve (surpassing Patricio Pitbull).
It was the second straight stoppage loss for Manhoef, who was knocked out by another kickboxing specialist in Joe Schilling at Bellator 131 in November.
Also on the card, perennial Bellator contender Pat Curran was upset by rising star Daniel Weichel in a featherweight bout.
For full results, see Dana Becker’s report at Fightline.com.