Tonight from Kansas City:
Middleweights were on display at Bellator 16, the promotion's first season-two appearance in Kansas City, and four fighters punches their tickets to the season's semifinal round.
The Kansas City Power & Light District crowd saw three finishes and an entertaining decision in the open-air, outdoor venue, and season-one finalist Jared Hess closed out the evening's main card with a second-round submission of former IFL champ Ryan McGivern.
Bellator 16 took place Thursday night and aired on FOX Sports Net.
Hess pushed the action early and did a good job of controlling the action throughout the opening round. McGivern avoided taking too much damage, but Hess easily claimed the opening frame.
In the second, Hess claimed the fight with a slick guillotine choke against the cage. Hess kept the choke on as he transitioned to the floor, and McGivern was forced to tap at the 1:54 mark of the second frame.
Hess (11-1-1 MMA, 3-1 BFC) has now won two-straight contests since enduring the lone loss of his career, a fourth-round doctor's stoppage to Hector Lombard in Bellator's season one title fight.
Meanwhile, McGivern (13-7 MMA, 0-1 BFC) falls to just 1-2 in his past three fights.
In the night's co-feature, three-time WEC veteran Bryan Baker dominated fellow middleweight tournament participant Sean Loeffler from the opening bell. While Loeffler's recent personal tragedies made him the sentimental favorite, Bake simply overwhelmed him from the start.
Baker took Loeffler down after a brief standup exchange, and the heavy-handed slugger dropped powerful shots from the top. Loeffler absorbed much of the damage from the bottom while trying to survive, but the onslaught eventually forced him to give up his back.
Baker passed on the choke and continued landing hard shots to the head on the floor. A little more than halfway through the frame, the referee was forced to step in and halt the contest.
Baker (12-1 MMA, 2-0 BFC) improves his current win streak to six fights, while Loeffler (12-5 MMA, 0-1 BFC) sees his own six-fight streak halted.
Russian Alexander Shlemenko joined Bellator's season-two tournament as the competition's most experienced fighter. And while he was the only first-round winner not to earn a stoppage in his fight, it didn't make Shlemenko's win over Matt Major any less impressive.
For 15 minutes, "Storm" impressed the crowd with flashy spinning attacks including kicks and punches. Major stood tall in the line of fire and continued to push forward, but he could neither land effective shots on the feet nor keep Shlemenko on the floor. Instead, Shlemenko's striking attack earned him all three rounds, and he was granted a clear-cut unanimous decision.
Shlemenko (28-4 MMA, 1-0 BFC) has now won 13 of his past 14 outings, while Major (6-2 MMA, 0-1 BFC) loses for the first time in four trips to the cage.
In the evening's first televised bout, three-time WEC veteran Eric Schambari made quick work of "The Ultimate Fighter 7" vet Luke Zachrich.
Schambari and Zachrich traded early takedowns, though neither was able to gain an advantage on the floor. Schambari continued with the strategy and gained top position. Zachrich maintained half-guard, but unconcerned, Schambari secured a side choke and forced the tap at the 3:34 mark of the first frame.
Schambari (12-1 MMA, 1-0 BFC) runs his current win streak to five fights, and four of the contests have been finished in the opening round. Meanwhile, Zachrich (9-2 MMA, 0-1 BFC) loses for just the second time in his career and sees a six-fight win streak ended.
The evening's full results included:
* Jared Hess def. Ryan McGivern via submission (guillotine choke) - Round 2, 1:54
* Bryan Baker def. Sean Loeffler via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:43
* Alexander Shlemenko def. Matt Major via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
* Eric Schambari def. Luke Zachrich via (submission) side choke – Round 1, 3:04
* Rudy Bears vs. Brent Weedman*
* Danny Tims def. Brian Davidson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)*
* Drew Dober def. Nick Nolte by arm triangle submission – Round 1, 4:45*
* Eric Marriott def. Demi Deeds via submission (triangle choke) – Round 2, 3:02