The final event of Bellator’s third season concluded at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida with two title fights. Bellator champion (27-2) “Shango” Hector Lombard took on Russian knockout artist “The Storm” Alexander Shlemenko (29-4) for the middleweight belt, and the world’s pound-for-pound best female fighter “Mega Megu” Megumi Fujii (22-1) went up against striking sensation “The Warrior Princess” Zoila Frausto (10-1) to crown the first Women’s 115lb. Champion. The dangerous striker and multiple-time Cuban Judo Champion Hector Lombard was expected by many to don his usual style of vicious striking and finish his opponent within the first round, whereas Fujii/Frausto was anticipated to be a showcase in the war of disciplines: striker vs. grappler. Both Fujii and Lombard were favorites in the title fights. However, only Lombard would deliver, but not with the expected results. “Mega Megu” put on a world class performance but in the end became just another name on the list of Japanese superstars to fall in the American MMA arena.
Lombard vs. Shlemenko: The first round began as all of Lombard’s fights have: he came out in the southpaw stance, his hands high and stalking forward. Shlemenko established an orthodox kickboxing stance, backing away from the champion as he pressured the Russian. A head kick was blocked by Lombard and he fired back with big punches. Shlemenko defended well and survived before getting some distance and unloading a flashy spinning backfist. Lombard ducked and made him pay with big shots and perfectly timed counter strikes. Lombard then secured a takedown and started pounding, forcing Shlemenko to give up his back before returning to his feet. Lombard picked up a cut on his head right at his hair line, but was unphased. He caught a kick from Shlemenko and put him on his back again, this time in the Russian’s full guard. Lombard unloaded several elbows from top position, however; Shlemenko manages a sweep and took the mount before forcing Lombard to give up his back. The victory was short lived for Shlemenko. Lombard shook the challenger off his back and made him pay with more ground-and-pound, resulting in a big knot on the Russian’s forehead. Lombard seemed to be slowing down in his attack when he drilled “The Storm” with a big left elbow that caused Shlemenko’s head to bounce audibly off the mat. Lombard postured up and attacked with big right hands, forcing Shlemenko to hold on to Lombard’s arms and try to get away. The round ended with Shlemenko being saved by the bell. Round one clearly went to Lombard.
In round two, Shlemenko came out aggresive with a spinning backfist then a spinning kick. Lombard evaded both and took a body lock from behind. Shlemenko was warned for grabbing the fence as Lombard sought a takedown before the two men separated. Shlemenko again looked to attack with big kicks, first firing off a head kick and then a side kick, but Lombard blocked the head kick and countered the side kick with a quick takedown. Lombard again went back to the ground-and-pound, showing no respect for Shlemenko’s guard. The referee warned both men to improve their positions, and Shlemenko gave up his back in order to get to his feet but Lombard took him down immediately before Shlemenko finally regained his feet. Lombard again clenched with underhooks, but Shlemenko managed to break free and land a body kick. Lombard responds with a huge right hand and counters the Russian’s counter knee strike with a double leg. The action stopped as the remaining ten seconds of the round ticked away and Lombard definitively claimed round two.
Before the start of round three, time was called to check out the enormous swelling on Shlemenko’s head. The ring side doctor said he was good to go and the round began with both men exchanging in the pocket. Shlemenko ate a big punch from Lombard and again countered with a spinning backfist. Lombard again evaded the blow before taking a knee to the body from Shlemenko. Lombard shot in for another takedown and went back to the ground-and-pound assault that had been the most telling offense in the fight so far. Shlemenko managed to lock Lombard in his guard but ate several body shots as he looked to the referee for a stand-up. Shlemenko got his stand-up and finally managed to mount an effective offense, landing a pair of clean knees and a punch to the champ’s body. Shlemenko then decided to push his luck with a body kick and it was back to business as usual as Lombard caught it and put the Russian on the mat again. The referee stood them up again for lack of action, allowing Shlemenko to fire off another spinning back kick to the body before Lombard gets another takedown and the round ends. Lombard claimed the third round with the same ease he did the first.
Round four opened with a side kick from Shlemenko followed by a spinning heel kick that missed and allowed Lombard to lock him up and get another takedown. Shlemenko returned to the only defense he had managed to mount by locking the closed guard and looking for the stand-up as the crowd booed at the slowed pace of the fight. Shlemenko got back to his feet but Lombard held on to the clinch and, after Shlemenko managed to land a couple knees to the body, Lombard put him down yet again. This time Lombard took Shlemenko’s back and looked for the choke. Shlemenko turtled up and Lombard landed a few strikes, hoping to bait Shlemenko into surrendering a choke but the Russian stood up as soon as the head and arm control was released. Lombard however, maintained a body lock and put the outmatched challenger back down on the mat. Shlemenko regained his feet and the men separated and squared off in the center of the cage. Shlemenko again went for a kick to the body and again Lombard caught the kick, countered with a punch, and seized a takedown. Lombard began to show signs of fatigue but was still effective with his repeated takedowns. Shlemenko looked to the referee for another restart. With 20 seconds left in the round, the referee tells them to improve position then stands them up due to lack of action. The round ends and both men return to their corners with Lombard taking round four every bit as definitively as he did the first three .
The final round starts with time being called again to look at Shlemenko. The doctor looked in his ear and the commentors informed the fans at home that a way to tell if the jaw has been broken is if there is blood in the ear. Shlemenko was cleared to continue and came out with a high kick that missed and a knee to the body and then a punch didn’t. Lombard returned fire with heavy hands then shot but couldn’t get the takedown for the first time in the bout. Shlemenko gained some distance to try to set something up. He attacked with a three punch combo and a kick, all of which missed. The Russian landed a spinning backfist on Lombard’s chin but it proves ineffective. Lombard caught another kick and put Shlemenko down on his back. Shlemenko grabbed the fence to pull himself to his feet but the referee caught him and forced him to let go. Shlemenko turtled up and Lombard sat on his back, resting as the crowd booed the lack of action. After a stand up Shlemenko threw another spinning backfist and landed a punch on Lombard’s jaw. He then stuffed Lombard’s takedown but left Lombard the body lock and they reached a stalemate in a clinch. The referee separated them with only 45 seconds to go. Two rights from Shlemenko and a body kick landed but Lombard got a body lock and secured the takedown. Shlemenko got back to his feet as the bell sounded and the referee separated them with round five ending in what could easily be called a draw as neither fighter controlled the other or managed to inflict significant damage.
The judges give Hector Lombard the win by unanimous decision (49-46). The champ claimed he was not at 100%, believing he was sick or had a minor injury. This was easily believable as he failed to finish the bout despite having controlled his opponent for the majority of the twenty-five minutes. After thanking God and his team, he called out Strikeforce Middleweight Champion “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza (13-2), continuing what seems to be growing animosity between the champions of the Strikeforce and Bellator organizations.
Fujii vs. Frausto: In round one, Zoila tried to keep Fujii at bay with jabs and punches. Fujii ate a right and countered with a couple of punches and a high kick. Fujii missed a combo, but she then dropped Frausto with a big left. “The Warrior Princess” quickly regained her composure but Fujii kept putting on the pressure in the stand-up where Frausto should have had the advantage. A left then a right from Fujii landed then both women missed with a high kicks. Fujii remained the aggressor and threw a left hand that landed hard on Frausto, followed by a straight left and a leg kick. Fujii was clearly winning on the feet. Frausto looked tentative and nervous, missing with a right and a couple of combos before rocking Fujii with a head kick. Frausto tried to pounce and finish Fujii but the Japanese superstar shot a double leg that, while unsuccessful, ran out the clock and allowed her to recover between rounds. It was a hard round to score, but Frausto managed to take it 10-9 with her near fight-ending head kick.
Round two saw Fujii stalking again, landing a quick jab then a straight left. She seemed to have her legs back under her and was out for revenge. Fujii continued to out strike Frausto whose sole offense at that point was a high kick that Fujii caught and released. Fujii seemed content to stay in the pocket with Frausto who fired back with bad intentions but little effect. Fujii stayed aggressive, moving in on Frausto as they exchanged combinations with nothing landing hard. With one minute to go Fujii landed a big left hand and caught another kick from Frausto but let it go before eating a leg kick from Frausto as the round ended. After another dead even round, Fujii tied the score taking the second 10-9.
In the third, Frausto’s face looked visibly swollen. She opened up with a nice left, looking to return the favor. Fujii again sat back on her jab before moving in with a straight left. Frausto responded with a leg kick that landed before eating another left-right combination from Fujii. “Mega Megu” used her jab to put Frausto’s back against the cage and started walking her down with solid one-two combinations. Frausto tried to counter with a kick but missed and Fujii continued working her jab from the outside. A big right from Frausto landed, hurting Fujii and saw Zoila take the offensive for only the second time of the night. She landed a left and barely missed a head kick as Fujii ducked and slipped to regain her repose as Frausto tried hard to finish her. Fujii took a big leg kick followed by a solid right from Frausto who just missed finishing her. Fujii then tried to counter but ate another big leg kick from Frausto who was swinging for the fences. Fujii kept calm under pressure, regained her composure, and responded with several punches to close the round. Fujii had weathered another late storm but came away with a big mouse under her eye. Frausto stayed strong through out the round and gained the momentum for the first time of the night in a solid 10-9 round.
Both women started round four with several shots. Nothing seemed to land for either fighter until a straight left connected from Fujii, and Frausto landed a pair of solid leg kicks. A left hand from Frausto followed by a big leg kick saw “The Warrior Princess” maintain the momentum she had taken in the later part of the third and forced a clinch from Fujii. They exchanged knees to the body before Frausto turned and put Fujii against the cage. Fujii landed a big knee to the face of Frausto before attempting a hip toss, but the throw failed and Zoila managed to break free of the clinch. Fujii come forward and avoided some big big shots from Frausto before closing the round with a sharp combination. It was a very close round, but Fujii controlled the action and managed to regain the momentum. Fujii gets it, 10-9.
At the opening bell of round five, Fujii shot for the first time but Frausto stuffed it and landed a solid leg kick. Fujii countered with a few nice punches as she moved inside but Frausto connected and opened a cut on “Mega Megu”. Frausto again began to swing for the fences and missed but forced Fujii to clinch. Megumi landed a knee as she exited the clinch and followed with a left hand and a one-two. It was clear that she was keeping her distance so Frausto couldn’t land another big, momentum stealing hay-maker. A left hand from Fujii prompted an exchange that ended in Megumi shooting a single leg and trying hard to get it. Again Frausto managed to stop the grappling ace’s takedown attempt but Fujii landed a big left hand on the break and she finally got a big takedown in the final 30 seconds of the round. Frausto got full guard with ten seconds to go but Fujii controlled the rest of the action. After the final bell, no one envied the judges. It was another close round to score but Frausto got the nod from the powers that be with her aggression and ability to stuff the Japanese superstar’s shoot. “The Warrior Princess” 10-9.
Frausto defeated Fujii by a razor thin, but hard fought split decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46). She threw up her hands, dropped to her knees and prayed her thanks before having the belt clasped around her waist. Fujii also raised her hands as she let her warrior’s heart shine through her first pro defeat.
—Undercard and Local Feature Fights—
Mike Bernhard defeats Dragan Tesanovic via unanimous decision
Raphael defeats Tony Lopez via unanimous decision
J.P. Reese defeats Boumny Somchay via TKO (punches) Round 1. 3:32
John Kelly defeats William Kuhn via unanimous decision
Ralph Acosta defeats Tulio Quintanila via split decision
Frank Carrillo defeats Moyses Gabin via unanimous decision
Dan Cramer defeats Igor Almeida via TKO (doctor stoppage), Round 1, 2:36