Alexandre “Popo” Bezerra (15-2-0) vs. Mike Richman (14-2-0)
The fighters take the center of the cage until Bezerra presses Richman up against the cage for a takedown. Bezerra takes Richman down but is having a hard time keeping him there. Landing punches from the top, Richman scrambles but eventually gives up his back. Bezerra keeps a tight body triangle as he works for the choke while punching. Nothing significant is landing, but Richman is unable to escape or land any offense as the round expires. Bezerra wins the round 10-9.
Richman looks to put Bezerra on the defensive so he can avoid the takedown. Bezerra shoots a minute and a half into the round, but it is easily stuffed by Richman. No one is in control yet as the fighters exchange punches while moving around the ring. As Richman continues to work his right hand, he starts to bloody up Bezerra’s nose. Two minutes left and both fighters are landing some hard punches with a small mouse forming under Richman’s eye. The round ends with Bezerra landing more often than Richman which steals him the round 10-9, but it could go either way.
Both fighters seem content to stand at the beginning of round 3. Bezerra is backing up Richman with punches and high kicks, but nothing solid has landed yet for either fighter. A minute and a half in and Bezerra lands a takedown. Bezerra takes side control, and every time Richman sits up to move Bezerra transitions to the other side. Two minutes left and Bezerra takes the back, and locks up the body triangle again. Richman escapes and gets on top of Bezerra with a minute and a half left, but he decides to standup. Richman knows he is behind and starts throwing as many punches as he can. The two fighters slug it out as the round ends. Richman could steal the round, but it should be Bezerra’s fight 29-28.
Judge’s Scorecard: Mike Richman wins via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Dan “Cosmo” Cramer (10-3-0) vs. Brett Cooper (18-7-0)
Cramer crack Cooper with a hard punch seconds into the fight and drops him, but cooper is able to tie it up on the ground. Now, Cramer works to try and pass half guard, and eventually passes to side control. Cooper moves to his knees to try for a takedown, but Cramer transitions nicely to the back where he gets both hooks in. Cramer continues to work for a submission from the back, but pretty much nothing comes from the back control. Cooper finally creates a scramble and takes top control, but the round easily goes to Cramer 10-9.
The second round starts and Cooper pushes Cramer up against the cage immediately to work for a takedown. Cramer reverses off the cage for a second and works some knees, but Cooper drops down for a double leg. Every time Cramer is able to land a knee, cooper drops for a takedown, but more than likely it is just to avoid the knees. The referee restarts them, but it is back against the cage in seconds. A brief exchange with a minute and a half left excites the crowd, and then Cramer lands some nice knees and punches. 2o seconds left and Cramer is landing at will, and since he landed the only offensive Cramer wins the round 10-9.
Through the first minute both Cramer and Cooper exchange punches. Three minutes left and Cooper finally lands a takedown into half guard. Cramer works his way back up and lands a couple punches. Two minutes left and Cooper lands a big uppercut hurting Cramer, and he finishes him pulling off a third round comeback. It was two big rights that finished off Cramer and ended his night.
Cooper very emotional during the post-fight interview, and you can barely understand him on the mic. He knew he was behind but said it was all heart that earned him the win. Clearly he is glad to make it to the finals of the middleweight tournament.
Brett Cooper wins the fight via TKO at 3:19 of Round 3
Sultan Aliev (8-0-0) vs. Doug “Rhino” Marshall (16-6-0)
Aliev looks calm as Marshall tries to take his head off, but Aliev is smart to tie him up and take him down. Marshall keeps him locked up in guard, but Aliev is working some nice punches from the top. Marshall makes it back to his feet with two minutes left, but Aliev ties him up against the cage. The fight goes back to the ground, and Aliev is on top with a little over a minute left. They are stood up with ten-seconds left, but Aliev just takes the fight to the ground again. Not much damage done, but Aliev wins the round easily 10-9.
Marshall tries to keep the fight standing by backing Aliev up, but it does not work as Aliev takes Marshall down off a nice level change into a double leg. Marshall’s guard is wide open, but Aliev makes no move to pass the guard so the ref is forced to stand them up. Marshall throws some big punches, but Aliev is backing away easily. Marshall is sprawling hard on all of Aliev’s takedown attempts who may be tiring as the round ends. Marshall landed the harder punches and was way more active winning the round 10-9.
Marshall is throwing more on the feet, but Aliev seems to be landing the more effective punches, since Marshall is content to let himself be punched. Aliev has Marshall’s back on the ground, but Marshall explodes to his feet. Aliev continues to work for a takedown, and Marshall is clearly frustrated as he ask the ref to separate them. The crowd voices their displeasure with Aliev’s grappling heavy style game plan. The fight becomes increasingly hard to score as Aliev is constantly backing up on the feet, and does nothing when the fight hits the ground. Aliev drops to his back with seconds left in the round, and Marshall unloads with huge punches. Marshall should take the fight 29-28 just based on damage and offense thrown.
Marshall says he did not respect Aliev’s wrestling, but says he hit like a little girl.
Cooper says to expect a war in the Season 8 Middleweight Tournament final.
Judge’s Scorecard: Doug Marshall wins via split decision (27-30, 29 -28, 29-28)
Magomedrasul Khasbulaev (19-5-0) vs. Marlon Sandro (24-4-0)
Khasbulaev lands the first big punch of the fight and has Sandro retreating. They clinch against the cage, and Sandro lands one to Khasbulaev’s groin. It took a while but the fight restarts, and Khasbulaev seems to be outmuscling Sandro. Half way through the round and Khasbulaev lands some big punches, and tries to catch an armbar as they move to the ground. Sandro survives a scary looking submission and takes top control. Khasbulaev hits a reversal off of a kimura, and once again Sandro survives. Khasbulaev ends the round on top and takes it 10-9.
Wild exchanges through the first minute of the second round. Khasbulaev goes flashy, but Sandro lands some hard shots. Khasbulaev goes for the kimura again, but it ends up allowing Sandro to reverse into top position. Sandro catches a nice modified arm-triangle that looks close, but Khasbulaev is able to make it back to his feet. Standing over Sandro, Khasbulaev unloads punches, and he ends up in half guards as Sandro spins to avoid the punches. The round ends with Sandro turtled up as Khasbulaev tries to lands punches. Sandro needs to do something big as he is down two rounds.
Sandro looks extremely tired heading into the third, and he is taken down almost immediately. Khasbulaev moves to half-guard where he transitions to side-control. Still stuck in half-guard, Khasbulaev sits on top of Sandro and unloads many small shots to his opponents head. The ref waves off the fight as Khasbulaev unloads multiple shots as Sandro makes no attempt to move from the position.
Magomedrasul Khasbulaev defeats Marlon Sandro via TKO at 2:38 of Round 3