The Georgia fighters were featured on the Bellator 88 preliminary portion of the card and they all fought three five-minute rounds.
Two of the fighters from metro Atlanta, Clay “Heavy Metal” Harvison and Joe “Hitman” Elmore, both won their fights. Harvison fought at a catchweight of 160 pounds while Elmore competed at lightweight (155 lbs). Athens, Ga. fighter Jerrid Burke lost to Elmore, Atlanta fighter Ururahy “The Show” Rodrigues lost to Harvison and Atlanta fighter Stephen “The Advantage” Upchurch (featherweight, 145) lost to North Carolina fighter George Hickman.
Harvison, a Marietta native and 2000 Wheeler High graduate, got back on the winning track last Thursday with a TKO of Rodrigues at 3:34 of the third round. In front of a cheering section of more than 120 people, Harvison threw a mixture of good punches and kicks (knocking Rodrigues down in the first round) and he stuffed several of Rodrigues’ takedown attempts. Rodrigues did take him down once, but Harvison quickly got back up.
Harvison didn’t leave the win up to the three cage side judges -- he blasted Rodrigues with a knee to the head in the third round and once Rodrigues went down, Harvison pounced on him and connected with punches until the referee stopped the fight and awarded Harvison the victory. He improves his record to 10-5 while Rodrigues falls to 5-5.
“It felt good to get the win; it was much needed for me. Hard work pays off and it was great to win in front of the home crowd,” said Harvison, 32. “I had to feel Rodrigues out for the first two rounds and once I figured him out, I went for the win.”
Harvison said his coach in his corner — UFC middleweight fighter Brian Stann —and his good friend and fellow MMA fighter Dhiego Lima, gave him great advice in between rounds.
“Both Brian and Dhiego told me that he was putting his head down when he was going for the takedown. They both told me to hit him with a knee and that would do the trick,” said Harvison, who competed on Season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter. “I took their advice and I won the fight.”
Lima and his older brother Douglas, who is currently in the Bellator welterweight tournament, were happy to see their friend get a big win. The Limas are also from Marietta and they graduated from Wheeler High, several years after Harvison.
“I knew Clay was ready for the match. He won with a beautiful knee,” said Dhiego Lima, who competes for the Maximum Fighting Championship (MFC) company. “He’s back.”
Douglas Lima was just as proud.
“Clay had lost his last two fights so he really needed to get this win. It was well-deserved and I’m glad for him,” Douglas said.
In the other Georgia fights from Bellator 88, Elmore (7-5) defeated Burke (5-3) with a left hook KO at 4:11 of Round 2 and Upchurch (2-2) fell to Hickman via a rear naked choke at 2:19 of Round 1.
The main event of the entire card saw middleweight (185) Russian fighter Alexander “Storm” Shlemenko (47-7) defeat Brazilian fighter Maiquel “Big Rig” Falcao (31-5) for the Bellator Middleweight World Championship via second-round TKO.