http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2015/9/1/9238039/beyond-the-octagon-russia-dennis-hallman-kod-ufc-vet-taylor-tsarev/in/8055268 Spoiler As we take a look at Russian promotion Plotforma S-70 and the monster card they put together for last Saturday, which featured a healthy dose of former UFC and Bellator talent. In the night's co-main event, Dennis Hallman (53-19-2, 4-5 UFC, 2-0 Strikeforce, 2-1 IFL) moved up to middleweight for a bout with Mikhail Kolobegov. Against the larger, comparatively comfortable Kolobegov, Hallman appeared uneasy, hesitant, and weighed down by the four losses hanging over his head. There would be no time to shake it off, as shortly after the the opening bell, a flying knee and uppercut from the Russian left Hallman on the mat, scrambling to regain some semblance of control. For a brief moment it looked like Hallman might counter Kolobegov's ground-and-pound with a leg lock, but he lost the hold and, with it, seemingly, the will to fight. Strikes from within the depleted Hallman's guard forced the referee's hand, granting Kolobegov the TKO victory. His record improves to 9-3-0, 1NC, with eight wins coming within the distance. Hallman is 0-5 in the last two years. His last four losses have come by (T)KO. Kolobegov vs. Hallman is here. Also on the card, Bellator's Ron Keslar (11-8, 2-3 Bellator, 1-2 Strikeforce) faced welterweight slugger Alexei Kunchenko (10-0-0). Keslar, who had the privilege of handing War Machine his first Bellator loss, was looking to rebound from the three-fight skid that saw him out of that organization. Kunchenko employed a sharp kickboxing game that pushed him easily ahead on the scorecards heading into Round 3. Keslar would then try to change things up with a takedown, but Kunchenko handily escaped to his feet. He then pressed forward with a barrage that drove Keslar into a defensive shell, and a short, startling right hook would leave Keslar in a tangled heap, barely saved from falling out of the ring by the referee. This makes for Keslar's third (T)KO in four losses. Kunchenko, meanwhile, has knocked out his last three opponents. Watch Kunchenko vs. Keslar here. The finish starts at 11:40. Earlier in the night, a surging Tim Hague (20-10, 1-4 UFC) looked to capture his fifth straight victory at the expense of heavyweight prospect Evgeny Erokhin (11-4-0). Erokhin would, however, not give up his own appreciable winning streak, laying Hague out with a blistering right some two minutes into Round 1. Check out Erokhin vs. Hague here. Strong showing from Erokhin who, by the close of 2013, had lost three in a row, leaving his record at 5-4. Six straight victories since then, including knockouts of Brett Rogers, Mike Kyle, and Jeff Monson, all but guarantee his signing by a major organization sometime this year. And in a lightweight affair, the oft-sensational Akop Stepanyan (20-7, 1-4 Bellator) out-struck TUF runner-up Andre Winner (20-9-2, 2-4 UFC) en route to a unanimous decision victory. This, following three rounds of kickboxing during which Winner's size advantage was insufficient to overcome Stepanyan's edge in speed, varied arsenal, and ring generalship. With this latest victory, Stepanyan moves to 7-0 since his release from Bellator in 2013. Winner tastes defeat for the first time in as many bouts. Watch Stepanyan vs. Winner here. Jesse Taylor (29-12, 1-1 WSOF, 0-2 Strikeforce, 1-0 Dream, 0-1 UFC) was the only UFC veteran to find victory Saturday evening, despite being tasked with arguably the strongest opponent (who also happens to have arguably the best nickname). "The Lonely Wolf" Michail Tsarev (29-5, 1-2 Bellator) seemed poised for a return to one of the major MMA promotions, having bludgeoned his way to stoppage victories in his last six fights, all of them ending in Round 1. But Taylor, a dependably strong competitor on the regional circuit, would show up in top form, promptly securing the takedown and proceeding to squash Tsarev's attempts at submission or escape. Following four minutes of such control, Taylor seized Tsarev's neck and passed to mount, eliciting the tap via guillotine. Taylor has won two straight and improves to 2-2 since a failed bid for the WSOF middleweight title. Tsarev loses for the first time since the 2013 TKO from Douglas Lima that saw him released from Bellator. Taylor vs. Tsarev is here. And kicking the night off was Vadim Nemkov (2-0-0), who set the tone early with his upset victory over Joaquim Ferreira (17-10-0), the only man outside the UFC to beat Junior Dos Santos. Nemkov flattened Ferreira within 30 seconds. Nemkov vs. Ferreira, sans sound, can be seen here. http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2015/8/31/9233021/beyond-the-octagon-hirota-road-to-ufc-finals-satoshi-ishii-pride-strikeforce Spoiler st week yielded up a giant-sized selection of MMA results to check out, with UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator, and PRIDE veterans turning out in force. With that in mind, we'll be taking a look at the MMA scenes of Japan, Russia, and the good ol' U.S. of A separately. We start things off in Tokyo... On Saturday, in the headlining bout of Inoki Genome Federation 4, Oli Thompson (15-8, 0-2 UFC) looked to keep his developing win streak alive against prospect Chris Barnett (13-2-0). Thompson had a brief, unremarkable UFC tenure and has generally struggled to gain momentum in the years since his 2012 release. He did, however, start off this year with a victory over Ikuhisa Minowa, and has remained undefeated since. Chris "Huggy Bear" Barnett, who has developed into something of a cult favorite, burst onto the scene in 2009. Victories over solid competition in Kenny Garner, Walt Harris, and Mario Rinaldi marked him as a heavyweight with potential, but injuries removed him from competition before he could gain any real traction. Barnett returned to competition last year, looking untroubled by his three-year hiatus, and proceeded to make up for lost time, claiming three (T)KO victories in 2014. Thompson and Barnett tested each other's chins frequently during the bout's opening round, alternating periods of positional sparring along the ropes with firefights at range. Round 2 unfolded much the same, with a visibly exhausted Barnett slowly but irrevocably losing ground to Thompson. In the end, the judges would see it the same way, awarding Thompson the unanimous decision, making for the most significant win of his career and the first time in five years that he's won three consecutive bouts. He'll face 9-1 Fernando Rodrigues, Jr. in the IGF tournament final. Watch Thompson vs. Barnett here. It's a valiant but deeply flawed showing from Barnett, who exhibits good killer instinct in the ring but will obviously need to train with greater discipline to gain a foothold in any major promotion. Also on the card, Olympian judoka and would-be JMMA savior Satoshi Ishii (14-4-1, 1-1 Dream, 2-1 K-1) snatched up a first-round rear-naked choke of Will Penn (8-5, 0-1 Bellator). This, following a few minutes of positional dominance from Ishii, who is two victories removed from his disappointing TKO loss to Mirko Filipovic. Check out Ishii vs. Penn here. That same day, Tokyo also played host to DEEP Cage Impact 2015. The main event saw Yuki Sasaki (25-20-2, 1-3 Sengoku, 0-1 UFC) return from a two-year hiatus for a contest with journeyman Hidenobu Koike (13-18-8). In his lone UFC appearance, Sasaki turned in a turgid performance against Dean Lister, losing by unanimous decision. Against Koike, however, his submission skills would win out, with Sasaki tying up a definitive rear-naked choke in Round 1. He's 3-1-1 since his last appearance in a major show: a TKO loss to Mamed Khalidov in Sengoku. In the co-main event, Kazunori Yokota (24-5-3, 5-3 Sengoku) further established himself as Japan's best featherweight with a unanimous decision win over Kenjiro Takahashi (8-4-0). Yokota is 12-0 in the last five years, with this latest victory halting a seven-fight winning streak for his opponent. Also on the card, leg-lock specialist Masakazu Imanari (32-14-2, 4-3 Dream, 0-2 PRIDE) made predictably short work of novice Moon Hwan Yang (0-1-0), securing a fight-ending heel hook in 21 seconds. Imanari is 4-0 for 2015. DEEP also ran it's WMMA show Jewels this weekend, featuring a strawweight title fight between Emi Fujino (16-9, 0-1 WSOF) and champion Mizuki Inoue (9-4, 1-2 Invicta). The two had fought previously, in the semi-finals of a DEEP tournament that resulted in Inoue's championship. Inoue would again emerge with the unanimous decision victory, marking a successful rebound from her loss in Invicta last Februray. Fujino, meanwhile, sees a three-fight win streak go up in smoke. In the co-main event, Ji Yeon Kim (4-0-2) upset bantamweight champion Takayo Hashi (15-6-1, 0-1 Invicta, 0-1 Strikeforce) with a unanimous decision-worthy effort. This is the second title fight in a row that Hashi has lost, having failed in her bid for Barb Honchak's Invicta title last November. Finally, Road to UFC: Japan named its first finalist following a clash between Team Nelson's Mizuto Hirota (17-7-1, 0-2 UFC, 0-1 Strikeforce, 2-1 Sengoku) and Team Barnett's Daiki Hata (17-9-7, 1-2 Dream). Hirota and Hata both had difficult quarterfinal matches, with Hirota besting Nobumitsu Osawa by majority decision and Hata overcoming a dwindling gas tank to claim a unanimous decision against Tatsunao Nagakura. The pair would again go the distance in their semifinal bout, with Mizuto Hirota coming away with the unanimous verdict. He'll face the winner of Akiyo Nishiura vs. Team Alpha Male Japan's Teruto Ishihara.