Memphis (Oct. 21, 2016) – The most decorated middleweight in Bellator history, Alexander Shlemenko (54-9, 1NC) returned to the cage tonight in a big way against Kendall Grove (23-16). The first round saw aggressive back and forth action with each fighter getting rocked. Shlemenko successfully utilized powerful spinning backfists and heelkicks to close the distance on the 6’6 Hawaiian. “The Storm” stalked Grove throughout the cage before ultimately connecting with a nasty combo that saw a left hand to the liver, followed by a right hand to the chin, sending his towering opponent to the mat. Shlemenko followed up with a barrage of strikes to “Da Spyda” before “Big John” McCarthy waved the fight off at 1:43 of the second frame.
Lashley sinks in a rear-naked choke to end Appelt’s night in round two
Bobby Lashley (15-2) continued to live up to his nickname of “The Dominator” as he tossed his opponent, Josh Appelt (12-6) to the mat at will. Throughout the first round, Lashley jockeyed for position as he rained down punches while trying to lock in a submission in front of his friend from his days as a WWE Superstar, Jerry “The King” Lawler, who watched from his cage side seat. Appelt landed a couple strikes to start the second frame before being slammed to the mat and ultimately submitted with a one-armed rear-naked choke at 1:43 of Round 2.
Yamauchi finishes Couture with armbar submission just one minute into bout
The 23-year-old submission specialist Goiti Yamauchi (20-3) defeated Ryan Couture (10-5) via arm bar submission just 1:01 into the opening round. Making his lightweight debut, Yamauchi becomes the first opponent to submit Couture over his 15-fight career. The win gives the Brazilian-Japanese prospect 20 total over his career, including five since joining the Scott Coker-led promotion back in 2013. The slick arm bar marks the 16th submission victory for Yamauchi, 13 of which have come in the first frame.
Kato scores TKO victory over Matthews
The first televised fight of the evening featured two highly gifted strikers in A.J. Matthews (8-6), a muay-Thai practitioner and Hisaki Kato (7-2), who holds a black belt in Kyokushin Karate. Both fighters exchanged great combinations throughout the entirety of the first round, with Matthews even wobbling Kato halfway through the frame. but was unable to capitalize, allowing Kato to regain his composure. A break in the action because of an accidental eye poke to Matthews allowed Kato to completely recover, and when the fight continued, Kato utilized his right kick to the body-left hand to the dome combination to send Matthews to the canvas, pouncing with a flurry of punches forcing the referee to call a stop to the action at 4:58 of the first frame.
Complete Bellator.com-Streamed Preliminary Card:
Bantamweight Preliminary Bout: Steve Garcia (7-1) def. Ronnie Lawrence (1-1) via UD
Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Ricky Rainey (12-4) def. Gilbert Smith (12-6) via UD
Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Julia Budd (9-2) def. Arlene Blencowe (7-6) via MD
Heavyweight Preliminary Bout: Virgil Zwicker (15-5-1) def. Dan Charles (10-4-1) via TKO at 4:31of Round 2
Heavyweight Preliminary Bout: Chase Gormley (14-5, 1 NC) def. Bobby Brents (17-6) via SD
Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Wade Johnson (11-1) def. Tyler Hill (6-1) via SUB (rear-naked choke) at 3:35 of Round 3
Lightweight Preliminary Bout: James Wallace (2-0) def. Jonathan Burdine (4-5) via SUB (rear-naked choke) at 3:33 of Round 2
Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Eryk Anders (5-0) def. Brian White (5-5) via TKO at 0:23 of Round 1
Catchweight (160 lb.) Preliminary Bout: Jaleel Willis (7-0) vs. Omar Johnson (4-1) via UD
Light Heavyweight Preliminary Bout: Grady Hurley (10-1) def. Chad Cook (10-11) at 2:29 of Round1
Heavyweight Preliminary Bout: Mike Wessell (15-8) vs. Frank Tate (4-2) via UD