The judges at the Mountaineer Casino and Resort in Chester, West Virginia did not have to make many decisions last night, as the fighters of the Bellator 71 main card and Summer Series Light Heavyweight Tournament made the decisions for them. Heavy-hitting Strikeforce veteran “Da Grim” Brett Rogers (12-4) put an abrupt stop to former training partner “Concrete” Kevin Asplund’s (15-2) lengthy win streak before the start of the 205lbs. tourney. Late replacement Tim Carpenter (9-1) submitted Beau Tribolet (7-2) en route to a spot in the tournament semi-finals. ”The Hardcore Kid” Emanuel Newton (18-6) chained together a sixth consecutive victory over fellow Bellator newcomer Roy Boughton (8-3). It took Slovakian 205er and KSW veteran “Pumukli” Attila Vegh (26-4) just 60 seconds to put away DREAM veteran “Benkei” Zelg Galesic (11-7) in the co-main event. The final act of the night saw multi-promotion 80-fight veteran “Diesel” Travis Wiuff (67-14) finish knockout artist and former USMC soldier ”The Professional” Chris Davis (10-4) in the first round. The inaugural Summer Series Light Heavyweight Tournament started with eight contenders, and after a combined 20 minutes and 52 seconds of combat, only four remained.
Brett Rogers vs. Kevin Asplund: Brett Rogers and Kevin Asplund didn’t touch gloves as the bell sounded and the fight began with a light feel out process. Rogers showed control early on as he took Asplund down to the canvas with a lateral drop and moved to half-guard, but Asplund wrapped up a Kimura to stall the action. The fight soon returned to the feet and the two peppered each other with hooks while working from the clinch. Both men poured on the aggression, but Rogers landed with the more telling punches. In the second, Asplund had more success early, dragging Rogers to the mat and landing elbows from the top. However, after a return to the feet, “Concrete” was showing signs of fatigue and Rogers bullied him to the mat where he was forced to stall with the Kimura again. This time, “Da Grim” couldn’t be stopped from advancing but the Kimura at least prevented the Strikeforce vet from meting out more punishment. During the break between two and three, the ringside doctor called a halt to the contest due to excess swelling under Asplund’s left eye, giving Rogers a TKO win. Rogers via TKO (Doctor Stoppage), Round 2
Tim Carpenter vs. Beau Tribolet: Carpenter showed to be the better of the two on the feet with his reach advantage, but he did take some punishment from Tribolet before he could snatch the win. Carpenter kept Tribolet at bay with his jab and out-struck him throughout the first round, easily preventing his opponent from closing. Between rounds, Tribolet and his corner found the answer. From the start of the second, he began forcing the clinch and blasted Carpenter with a pair of solid uppercuts before being bullied to the cage. Tribolet responded with a solid body kick on the break and went right back to working the uppercuts. Then it all came apart. Tribolet went for a takedown, affording Carpenter a chance at a Guillotine Choke. The choke failed, but Carpenter soon had a deep Armbar locked in. Tribolet tried everything in the book to get free, but his opponent held on like a junkyard dog and eventually turned the submission belly-down for the win. With the verbal submission Carpenter became the first man to reach the Summer Series Light Heavyweight Tournament Semi-Finals. Carpenter via Submission (Armbar), Round 2
Emanuel Newton vs. Roy Boughton: Two newcomers to Bellator entered the cage with a common goal, to make a statement that they were the real deal. Both Emanuel Newton and Roy Boughton were all business when the bell to round number one sounded. Boughton wasted no time in looking for the takedown but “The Hardcore Kid” sprawled it out. The Caesar Gracie disciple briefly spun to Newton’s back, but the position was quickly escaped. Each fighter showed their mettle on the mat, but it was obvious that Boughton was superior. He attacked with chains of submissions and while Newton was successful in escaping them, Boughton prevented Newton from mounting any significant offense by moving to sweep or submit any time his foe began to work his ground strikes. The second frame saw a change in tactics as Newton abandoned his ground-and-pound. When Boughton opened with the takedown, Newton sprawled again but this time he took the back of his opponent, setting up a Rear Naked Choke. Shortly thereafter he set the hooks and forced the tap. Newton via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2
Attila Vegh vs. Zelg Galesic: Attlila Vegh and Zelg Galesic wasted no time feeling each other out, it was straight to battle for these two European-bred warriors. Galesic fired a quick combo at Vegh who avoided the strikes and secured a waist cinch for his efforts. “Benkei” showed improvement in his wrestling game and reversed the position before forcing Vegh to the mat briefly. Then the slugfest began with Galesic landing a flying knee that seemed to stagger “Pumukli” only to have the hardened KSW veteran fire back and eventually touch his chin with a hard left. When Galesic hit the mat, Vegh seized the opportunity to run his legs and lock in a fight-finishing submission. Vegh via Submission (Rear Naked Choke, Round 1
Travis Wiuff vs. Chris Davis: Travis Wiuff has fought all over the world and entered the Bellator Summer Series Light Heavyweight Tournament as the early favorite due to his victory over current Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion “TonTon” Christian M’Pumbu (18-4). Welcoming him back to the cage was Chris Davis, a knockout artist with a ton of power in his right hand. “Diesel” was by far the larger of the two men and took quick advantage of the fact by manhandling Davis into the fence. The fight slowed to a snail’s pace as Davis looked in vain for a way off the cage and the crowd became restless. It just wasn’t “The Professional’s” night. Right when it appeared that the referee was going to break them off the fence, Wiuff landed a hard shot behind Davis’s ear that dropped the Alabama native to the canvas. The larger man took his back and blasted away with heavy hands to finish “The Professional” on the ground. Wiuff via KO (Punch), Round 1
Click here for the full list of Bellator 71 fight results.