Bellator 292, held at the SAP Center in California, was nothing short of entertaining with its headlining match between the current champion Usman Nurmagomedov and former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson.
However, a co-main event bout between Tofiq Musayev and Alexandr Shabliy has become a topic of controversy due to its unexpected conclusion.
Here’s what happened and what the referee, Jason Herzog, had to say about it.
The two went head-to-head in a lightweight bout that also served as a quarter-final match for the grand prix. The action was intense, and both were trying to gain momentum throughout the first two rounds. In the third round, things started to heat up, and the guys started to play aggressively.
Shabliy delivered a quick front kick, which appeared to have landed on Musayev’s groin, causing him to walk away while holding in the pain. Although many fans believed that it was a disqualification as the 33-year-old Musayev was unable to continue, referee Jason Herzog gave the victory to Shabliy.
He deemed it clean and explained that the kick initially connected with Musayev’s chest.
Herzog wanted to make sure that Musayev understood his decision clearly, and Musayev himself confirmed that he couldn’t go on and accepted his defeat. Later on, Bellator MMA president Scott Coker revealed that Tofiq Musayev broke ribs, which made him unable to continue.
MMA analyst John Morgan took to his social media to share the explanation provided by the referee.
With this result, Alexandr Shabliy moves on to the grand prix semi-final, where he will face the winner between A. J. McKee and Patricky Pitbull. Meanwhile, Usman Nurmagomedov will take on the winner between Mansour Barnaoui and Brent Primus.
Ezra Samuel is a passionate freelance writer with a particular love for covering MMA news. His interest in the sport dates back to his college days, and he has since established himself as a respected voice in the MMA community. Over the years, Ezra has contributed his writing to a variety of digital outlets, including the popular site calfkicker.