The season seven Bellator lightweight tournament kicked off on Friday night at The Reading Eagle Theater in the Sovereign Center Reading, Pennsylvania and Rich Clementi pulled off what most people will consider an upset over Alexander “Tiger” Sarnavskiy.
Clementi (45-21-1) won a split decision over the previous undefeated Russian fighter and nearly came up with a submission victory late in the first round.
The MMA veteran was able to implement his gameplan early in the fight and was able to get the back of his opponent. After having his opponents back for most of the round, Clementi was able to lock in a rear-naked choke and appeared to have it in tight. Sarnavskiy was able to survive the choke and make it to the second round.
Sarnavskiy would be able to get some offense going in the second round, but once again Clementi was able to take the fight to the ground and control the action. While on the ground, he looked for submissions and Sarnavskiy was able to defend them. At the end of the round, Sarnavskiy landed strikes that appeared to stun the MMA veteran.
In the final round, Clementi came out and fought like a fighter that knew he was up two rounds and if he made it to the final bell, he would win the fight. Sarnavskiy dropped Clementi several times in the round, which was more of him falling to the ground and hoping that Sarnavskiy would come to the ground.
At the end of the fight, Sarnavskiy had Clementi in a triangle, but the final bell out sound and the two of the three judges gave the fight to Clementi.
In the other quarterfinal bouts, Dave Jansen and Ricardo Tirloni scored submission victories and Marcin Held won his tournament fight by unanimous decision.
Tirloni started the main card off against Rene Nazare and finished the fight in the second round with a d’arce choke. Jansen used a guillotine choke to finish Magomed Saadulaev on the third round and Held was able to do enough in the judges eyes to defeat Murad Machaev.
At the post fight press conference, Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney announced that the lightweight tournament semifinals will take place on November 16th at Bellator 81 with the matchups being Held vs. Clementi and Jansen vs. Tirloni.
The full Bellator 77 results are below:
Main Card: (MTV2/EPIX2)
Rich Clementi def. Alexander Sarnavskiy via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) *
Dave Jansen def. Magomed Saadulaev via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 3, :41 *
Marcin Held def. Murad Machaev via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) *
Ricardo Tirloni def. Rene Nazare via submission (d’arce choke) – Round 2, 1:14 *
Preliminary Card: (Spike.com)
Matthew Lozano def. Dave Morgan via submission (inverted triangle choke) – Round 2, 2:28
Lew Polley def. Carmello Marrero via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Darrell Horcher def. EJ Brooks via KO (strikes) – Round 1, :21 **
Cosmo Alexander def. Mike Bannon via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) – Round 2, 5:00
Duane Bastress def. Ariel Sepulveda via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Brett Martinez def. Eric Albright via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 2, 3:28