Vitaly Minakov remained undefeated on Wednesday at Bellator 97 as he defeated Ryan Martinez by third round TKO to win the Summer Series Heavyweight Tournament.
The action opened with Minakov throwing the first punch and they immediately clinched up with Minakov taking the fight to the cage. He attempted to take the fight to the ground with an inside trip and Martinez stopped the attempt.
Martinez ended up taking the fight to the ground and went for a submission choke. Minakov defended the attempt and the fighters separated. Minakov would use his striking to secure a takedown but Martinez was able to get back to his feet.
Once again, they would clinch against the fence with Martinez having his back against the fence. Minakov ended up backing off and once again they clinched and Minakov landed a hand as he backed way from Martinez.
After Minakov landed a right hand, he closed the distance and they clinched against the fence. Martinez would be able to break away from the clinch and landed a right hand as they separated. They continued to strike with each other and Minakov went for a takedown with 25 seconds left in the round. He would be unable to get the takedown before the end of the round and the fight moved into the second round.
At the beginning of the second round, Minakov was able to land his straight punches but Martinez countered the punches. They would clinch against the fence and the fight was paused after Minakov landed an accidental groin shot. The referee would end of taking a point away from Minakov for the accidental groin shot without giving Minakov a warning.
Upon the restart, Minakov started to push the pace and they exchanged strikes with Martinez countering what Minakov was throwing. Minakov looked for a takedown in the final 20 seconds of the round and the fight moved into the third round.
In the third round, Minakov contiued to come forward and Martinez continued to land his counter strikes. Martinez began to attempt to throw heavy power shots including an overhand left hand but it did not connect. Minakov took the fight to the ground near the two minute mark of the round and worked his way to the back of Martinez.
Minakov passed to top position and began to throw down strikes from the mount position. He continued to throw strikes and Martinez was struggling to move Minakov off him. He would be unable to get out of the position as Minakov landed several punches and the referee came in to stop the fight.
Minakov (12-0) now has eleven stoppage victories in his career and this was only the third time in his career that his fight went into the third round. With this victory, he earns a title shot and will meet Bellator heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov at a future Bellator event.
Bellator 97 Results:
Vitaly Minakov def. Ryan Martinez via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 4:02
Patricio Pitbull def. Jared Downing via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, :54
Bubba Jenkins def. Mike Barreras via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 1:05
Anthony Leone def. Frank Baca via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 1:07
Rafael Silva def. Rodrigo Lima via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 2:03
Will Brooks def. Cris Leyva via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 2:20