Rich Hale took what Thiago Santos had to offer. After that initial attack, Hale unleashed his own offense, finishing Santos and advancing to the finals of the season seven Bellator heavyweight tournament Friday night at Bellator 79.

While nothing has been confirmed, the Bellator heavyweight title is currently vacant. Normally, the winner of a tourney receives a title shot – along with $100,000 – but it’s possible the winner here will become the new champion.

In other action, Shahbulat Shamhalaev knocked out Mike Richman to advance in the featherweight tournament.


Main Card

Rich Hale def. Thiago Santos via TKO (strikes) at 3:31 of Round 1 in heavyweight tournament semifinal

Shahbulat Shamhalaev def. Mike Richman via KO (punch) in 1:45 of Round 1 in featherweight tournament semifinal

Douglas Lima def. Kobe Ortiz via TKO (strikes) at 4:50 of Round 3

Ryan Ford def. Kyle Baker via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Preliminary Card

Christ Franck def. Marcus Aurelio via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

Vitaly Minakov def. Vladimir Starcencov via TKO (strikes) at :27 of Round 2

Magomedrasul Khasbulaev def. Josh Pulsifier via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:30 of Round 1