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Asplund, Richman both return to Bellator Print E-mail
Written by Ben Pherson   
Wednesday, 31 October 2012 09:07

Minnesota's Kevin "Concrete" Asplund suffered a second-round TKO loss in his Bellator debut last June. The loss came at the hands of former teammate and fellow Minnesotan Brett Rogers.

But Bellator hasn't cut ties with the big man they call Concrete. Asplund is getting another shot with the big-time organization, and that shot comes Friday night in Canada.

Of course, Bellator isn't giving Asplund an easy opponent in his return. Far from it, actually.

Asplund (13-2) is set to square off against heavyweight prospect and heavy hitter Alexei Kudin (14-4). The fight is part of Bellator 79, which takes place Friday in Rama, Ontario, Canada, at Casino Rama.

Kudin is a beast and he stands 6-foot-11. He has won four of his last five fights via knockout. Most of Kudin's losses came when he was fighting back in 2002 and 2003. Since returning to MMA in 2010, Kudin is 13-1. He has nine knockouts in those 13 wins.

Asplund always has been  considered one of Minnesota's heaviest hitters, too. So the fight could be a standup war.

Following his two controversial split-decision wins over Reese Hernandez in 2010 and 2011, Asplund was given his Bellator shot this summer. But he came up short when his fight with Rogers was stopped in the second round due to a bad cut.

Asplund's fight is part of the evening's undercard at the moment. It will be available live online at spike.com. The main card airs live on MTV2.

UPDATE: Asplund's fight is rumored to be off the card now (as of noon Wednesday), though it has not been confirmed. Details coming when they are made available.

Minnesota Martial Arts Academy standout Mike Richman also is fighting Friday night. Richman will be part of the MTV2 main card. He's competing in the Bellator 145-pound tournament semifinals against Shahbulat Shamhalaev (10-1).

The other semifinals matchup pits Wagnney Fabiano (15-3) against Rad Martinez (13-2), but that fight will take place next Friday.

Richman's return to the cage is less than a month after his devastating headkick knockout of Jeremy Spoon during the quarterfinals on Oct. 12.

Shamhalaev also is coming off an impressive performance. He scored a first-round knockout over Cody Bollinger (13-2) in the

quarterfinals.

 

Shamhalaev is also a knockout artist and hasn't lost a fight since 2009. His lone career loss is to Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is 13-0 and is now in the UFC. Nurmagomedov opened his UFC career this year with wins over Kamal Shalorus and Gleison Tibau.

Richman has knocked out his last two Bellator opponents — Spoon and Chris Horodecki — in devastating fashion. His lone career loss was a split decision against Brian Pearman, who is a TUF veteran.

•••

Minnesota's Brandon Girtz will be making his Bellator debut shortly, and he recently found out his first opponent.

Girtz (8-2) is set to take on Mike Quinones a week from Friday (Nov. 9) during Bellator 80 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla.

Girtz's fight currently is scheduled for the preliminary portion of the card, which will air live on spike.com. The main card, as usual, airs on MTV2.

The former collegiate wrestler is getting his shot with Bellator despite suffering a loss in his last fight. In the second round of his showdown with Eric Wisely, who was given a shot in the UFC after the win, Girtz suffered a broken arm when he attempted to block one of Wisely's kicks. Girtz has been unable to fight since the injury, which came last November.

Girtz's only other career loss came against Alvin Robinson, who is a UFC and Bellator veteran.

Quinones is also making his Bellator debut. He's just 3-0 as a professional, with wins over fighters who have records of 1-3, 1-2 and 0-6. Quinones is a local Florida product, though.

•••

Minnesota standout Nick "The Big Hurt" Kirk also has been re-signed to Bellator. He is expected to return to the organization on Nov. 30 at Bellator 82. Kirk's opponent is to be determined.

Kirk, Girtz and Richman all are represented by Sterling Entertainment Group.

•••

Minnesota veteran Travis "Diesel" Wiuff is fighting Friday night during Abu Dhabi Warriors I.

Wiuff is coming off a loss in the Bellator 205-pound tournament semifinals. He is making his return to heavyweight for this fight.

Diesel, who trains at the Mario Roberto Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Rochester, stepped up on short notice to fight in Friday's main event against prospect Maro Perak, who carries a 21-3-1 record at heavyweight.

Perak is looking to bounce back from a decision loss to former UFC heavyweight title contender Jeff Monson. Wiuff fought Monson in 2010, earning a win via split decision.

Wiuff (68-15) also will be looking to bounce back from a loss; he suffered a first-round TKO loss to Attila Vegh on Aug. 24 during the Bellator tournament. Wiuff still plans to fight for Bellator, but he took the fight in Abu Dhabi to stay busy."

Local fans wanting to watch Wiuff in action can do so online. The fights will be streamed live at www.wfctv.com. Due to the time difference, the broadcast begins at 10 a.m. locally. Wiuff's fight is the last one on the card, so it will be later in the broadcast.