Mixed Martial Arts - Shamhalaev earns title shot with KO of Martinez

Shahbulat Shamhalaev knocked out Rad Martinez to win the delayed final of the featherweight tournament at Bellator 90 at the Maverick Center in West Valley City, Utah.

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Bellator fighting championships logo (Imago)

Shamhalaev has earned a Bellator MMA featherweight title shot against the winner of the bout between current Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran and challenger Daniel Straus, who square off at Bellator 95 in early April in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The Russian (12-1-1) stalked local fighter Martinez (14-3) from the opening bell, chopping away at Martinez’s lead leg with low kicks and patiently looking for an opening for his hands.

Just past the midway point of the opening round, Martinez managed to take the fight where he wanted it: to the mat. He put Shamhalaev on his back for the remainder of the round, trying to soften him up with ground and pound.

Round two saw a return to their feet, with Shamhalaev again walking Martinez down until he found an opening for a high kick that rocked him.

Shamhalaev kept the pressure on, landing a knee to the chin and another to the body before finishing off the fight with an overhand right which dropped Martinez to the canvas.

“I think I showed a pretty good fight with every one of my opponents,” said Shamhalaev.

“But I’ve got a lot more that you guys don’t know about.”

Shamhalaev is now the Season 7 tournament champion.

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