The middleweight title was on the line Friday night in the main event of Bellator 126.
Brandon Halsey, the betting favorite over reigning champion Alexander Shlemenko, proved those in the “know” right, submitting Shlemenko in the first round.
Halsey (8-0) earned his title shot by besting Brett Cooper in July to win the Season 10 middleweight tournament. He is now 6-0 in Bellator with four finishes.
For Shlemenko (50-9), the loss was his second straight – both via submission – after a 13-fight win streak. He also lost to Tito Ortiz in a non-title bout earlier this year.
Marcin Held controlled Patricky Freire in the co-main event, earning a decision victory and the lightweight tournament title. Held will likely face the winner of Michael Chandler-Will Brooks in 2015 for the title. Former NCAA wrestling champion Bubba Jenkins picked up a decision victory over Thiago Meller, while Mike Richman kicked off the main card with a first round knockout of Ed West.
The prelims were also filled with finishes, as all but one bout ended early. LaRue Burley, Clifford Starks, Nick Rossborough, Dan Charles, Derek Campos and Brandon Girtz all earned stoppage victories.
Rossborough’s came after the first round when Ryan Martinez suffered an injury to his bicep and could not continue. Girtz and Campos stopped their opponents in under a minute.
Check out complete results below:
Brandon Halsey def. Alexander Shlemenko via submission (rear-naked choke) at :35 of Round 1 to become the new Bellator middleweight champion
Marcin Held def. Patricky Freire via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 29-28) to win the Bellator lightweight tournament final
Bubba Jenkins def. Thiago Meller via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Mike Richman def. Ed West via KO (strike) at 2:43 of Round 1
LaRue Burley def. Raymond Pina via submission (guillotine choke) at :22 of Round 2
Clifford Starks def. Jacob Ortiz via technical submission (guillotine choke) at :52 of Round 2
Nick Rossborough def. Ryan Martinez via TKO (injury) at 5:00 of Round 1
Joe Taimanglo def. Michael Parker via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27
Dan Charles def. Stuart Austin via KO (strike) at :18 of Round 3
Derek Campos def. Estevan Payan via TKO (strikes) at :31 of Round 1
Brandon Girtz def. Benny Madrid via TKO (strikes) at :57 of Round 1