The BELLATOR Lightweight World Grand Prix is officially underway and undefeated incumbent champion Usman Nurmagomedov (17-0), as well as No. 4-ranked Alexander Shabliy (23-3) will be advancing in the tournament following impressive stoppage victories at BELLATOR 292: Nurmagomedov vs. Henderson on Friday.
Exactly 17 years to the day after BELLATOR President Scott Coker promoted the first sanctioned mixed martial arts event in California, BELLATOR 292 will also be remembered as the final time surefire future MMA Hall of Famer and former UFC world champion Benson “Smooth” Henderson laid down the BELLATOR gloves and retired from active competition.
Rounding out the main card, No. 2-ranked Linton “Big Swarm” Vassell (24-8) emphatically knocked out former interim champion Valentin Moldavsky (11-3, 1 NC), earning himself another shot down the line at Ryan Bader’s BELLATOR Heavyweight World Championship. In the opening bout of the night, BELLATOR’s all-time knockout leader and No. 2-ranked welterweight Michael “Venom” Page (21-2) stopped No. 5-ranked Goiti Yamauchi (28-6) with one of the most devastating kicks to the knee ever seen in MMA.
The next time BELLATOR is in action will be on Friday, Mar. 31 for BELLATOR 293: Golm vs. James at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, CA.
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BELLATOR 292: NURMAGOMEDOV VS. HENDERSON MAIN CARD:
C-Usman Nurmagomedov (17-0) defeated #3-Benson Henderson (30-12) via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:37 of round one
#4-Alexander Shabliy (23-3) defeated #2-Tofiq Musayev (20-5) via TKO (kick) at :29 of round three
#2-Linton Vassell (24-8, 1 NC) defeated #1-Valentin Moldavsky (11-3, 1 NC) via knockout (elbows) at 3:03 of round one
#2-Michael Page (21-2) defeated #5-Goiti Yamauchi (28-6) via knockout (kick to leg) at :26 of round one
Enrique Barzola (19-7-2) defeated Erik Perez (20-9) via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27
Josh Hill (22-5) defeated Cass Bell (6-3) via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Khalid Murtazaliev (17-3) defeated Tony Johnson (8-5) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27-30-27)
Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (20-7-1) defeated Julius Anglickas (10-4) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Laird Anderson (4-0) defeated Rogelio Luna (1-1) via technical submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:41 of round one
Theo Haig (2-0) defeated Adam Wamsley (2-3) via submission (guillotine choke) at 3:01 of round one