This is the live blog for Richard Hale vs. Christian M'Pumbu. Richard Hale is 17-3-1 in MMA, defeating Nik Fekete and D.J. Linderman to advance to the Bellator light heavyweight tournament finals. Christian M'Pumbu shares the same record as Hale. He defeated Chris Davis and Tim Carpenter to reach the finals. The winner of the bout takes home $100,000 and becomes the inaugural Bellator light heavyweight champion.
Play-by-play provided by Bloody Elbow's Dallas G. Winston.
Round 1 - The winner of this bout will be crowned the first Bellator light-heavyweight champion. Herzog handles the final clash of the night. Jab by Hale. M'Pumbu with the low kick. Double kicks, left and right, from Hale to the upper thigh of M'Pumbu. Two more body kicks from Hale, who then leads with the double jab. Low kick from M'Pumbu connects. Double jab from Hale again, M'Pumbu counters with a roundhouse kick, and Hale flurries to push M'Pumbu on the fence.
M'Pumbu connects and Hale is wobbled, staggering backward while M'Pumbu smells blood and lets his hands go. Hale now on his back with M'Pumbu fishing for a D'arce, but Hale clears space and sneaks back to his feet. Hale seems tentative, then hurls a high kick that M'Pumbu blocks.
Round 2 - Hale comes out swinging hard. Double jab by Hale, then setting up the uppercut with his left. Hale leading exchanges though his chin is dangerously exposed. Left body kick is sidestepped by M'Pumbu, and Hale taps his chin with his double jab. More kicks from Hale who is much busier in this round. Now a left hook and jab from M'Pumbu, right straight-left hook combo from Hale, then again. Hale switches to southpaw, throws a right hook and eats a straight punch from M'Pumbu.
Low kick landing to Hale's lead leg and may be causing his change in stance, as he swtiches back to southpaw again. M'Pumbu more accurate, but Hale stalking and much busier. Side-kick by Hale. M'Pumbu too complacent and only retreating with few counters. Finally a straight right by M'Pumbu. Ugly left hook by Hale closes the round.
Round 3 - Left over the top lands for Hale early. M'Pumbu spins off a nice combo to slow the charging Hale's pace. Hale now holding southpaw, pawing with his jab, then a right low kick, followed by a left low kick. M'Pumbu counters but is getting out-punched. Straight to the body by M'Pumbu, then a straight left to the head gets through. Hale flicks out a jab from southpaw, then follows his right hook with a nice straight left. Triple jab now by Hale, then follows with a straight left.
It doesn't matter how often Hale is actually landing, because M'Pumbu is barely even throwing; just defending. Uppercut penetrates M'Pumbu's guard, who retreats and connects with a body kick. Now M'Pumbu advances with a left with a sense of urgency, counters Hale with a right, then clocks Hale with a huge right that drops him flat. M'Pumbu hesitates, then commences a storm of hammerfists and hooks from the top that inspire the referee to intervene for the third round TKO.
Christian M'Pumbu defeats Richard Hale by TKO at 4:17 of round three.