Patiricio “Pitbull” Freire, Wilson Reis, Daniel Straus, and Kenny Foster earned wins on Saturday at Bellator 37 to advance to the semifinals of its season four featherweight tournament and one step closer to earning a shot at champion Joe Warren:
PRESS RELEASE – Kenny Foster pulled off the upset of the night, becoming the first featherweight to move on to the semifinals in a true testament to tournament-style MMA. Avoiding an early takedown, Foster landed a knee to Erik Larkin’s face, opening a cut above the four-time NCAA D1 All-American’s eye. Foster smelled blood and outwrestling Larkin on the ground to maintain the top position, where he locked in a guillotine choke, forcing an end to the fight at 3:15 in Round 1.
Bellator veteran Daniel Straus and undefeated Argentinean Nazareno Malegarie took to the cage next, putting on a gritty 15-minute MMA show. Straus looked to be in trouble on the ground throughout the fight as Malegarie attempted several submissions. At the end of the three rounds, it was Straus’ dominating performance on his feet that caught the attention of the judges. Straus via a unanimous decision earned his way to the semifinals in a hard-fought battle.
Next up, Wilson Reis brought Zac George to the ground and forced him to give up his back early with a flurry of hammerfists. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist Reis earned his third trip to the featherweight semifinals and ended George’s six-game win streak with a rear-naked choke at 2:09 in Round 1.
All eyes were on Season 2 featherweight standouts Patricio “Pitbull” Freire and Georgi “Insane” Karakhanyan as they closed out the night’s fights. In Round 1 action, Pitbull lifted Karakhanyan off his feet but Georgi defended with a guillotine attempt. The fighters battled through Round 2 mostly on their feet with Freire appearing to a have a slight edge in the momentum. It was all Freire in Round 3 as the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt dropped Karakhanyan to the mat with a left hook to the chin, paving the way for a relentless ground-and-pound assault that ended the fight with a TKO at 0:56 in Round 3.
“The featherweight’s put on spectacular performances tonight at Bellator 37,” said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Fans have the opportunity to witness amazing fights when you let fighters control their own destiny, and I’m thrilled with the start to our fourth season on MTV2.”
The official Bellator 37 results were:
- Patricio Freire def. Georgi Karakhanyan via TKO – Round 3, 0:56
- Wilson Reis def. Zac George via submission (rear naked choke) – Round 1, 2:09
- Kenny Foster def. Eric Larkin via submission (guillotine) – Round 1, 3:15
- Daniel Straus def. Nazareno Malegarie via unanimous decision (29-29, 29-28, 29-28)