By Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Bellator 99 delivered some key opportunities for featherweights in the opening round of the tournament. First up, Justin Wilcox survived an early and dynamic battering from Akop Stepanyan, only to secure a submission victory. Wilcox, who took the fight on just 7 days notice, could barely stand after Stepanyan dismantled his lead leg with snapping kicks. However, he could not finish him.

Late in the second round, Wilcox was able to bring Stepanyan down and once he did, the transition to the back and subsequent choke, was lightning fast. Stepanyan did his best to escape, but eventually went to sleep after refusing to tap. With the win Wilcox moves on to the next round where he will face ‘Baby’ Joe Taimanglo.

Taimanglo was able to secure his spot in the next round with a win over Andrew Fisher. Utilizing excellent movement, Taimanglo was able to close the distance well, effectively neutralizing Fisher’s reach advantage. At times the fight lacked action, but that was because both fighters were utilizing their game plans. Fisher flurried late in the third round, but it wasn’t enough to sway the judges.

Also fighting in the opening round of the featherweight tournament were two of the promotions youngest prospects. Former #1 155 lbs prospect Fabricio Guerreiro was able to out point a very dynamic Desmond Green. Guerreiro was able to control the pace of the fight, and aside from a few take downs from Green clearly won the fight.

With the win Guerreiro now is faced with the daunting task of going up against Patricio Pitbull in the next round. Pitbull needed just 1:19 to move on, after he blasted Diego Nunes with an incredible hook to the ear that dropped the former UFC standout. Follow up punches removed all doubt.

Also on the card, Vladimir Matyushenko utilized an effective striking game plan to keep heavy handed Houston Alexander at bay for most of the fight. When Alexander did land, ‘The Janitor’ smothered him with a combination of dominating wrestling and grappling skills. Both fighters refuse to look or act their age (41) and the result was one hell of a fight.

With the win, Matyushenko should be on a short list of names for the next 205 lbs tournament.

More pictures will be added later today!

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