M'Pumbu stopped Tim Carpenter in the first round at Bellator 42 (Photo courtesy of Bellator).
Bellator 42 Wins Advance Two Fighters to Light Heavyweight Championship
After semifinal wins last night at Bellator 42 in Oklahoma, Christian M’Pumbu (17-3-1) and Richard Hale (17-3-1) will meet later this season for the right to be crowned the first-ever Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion. M’Pumbu scored a first round TKO of Tim Carpenter and Hale took a tight split decision over DJ Linderman, and now both fighters find themselves one victory away from wearing gold.
“Bellator 42 was a great night of fights with spectacular performances by M’Pumbu and Hale to advance to our first-ever Bellator Light Heavyweight Finals,” Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney stated. “The season continues to produce amazing MMA for fans and the MTV2 audience.”
Prior to defeating Carpenter on Saturday night, M’Pumbu stopped Chris Davis in the third frame of a quarterfinal pairing. Currently fighting out of M-1 Mixfight in Paris, M’Pumbu was born in Kinshasa in the Republic of Congo. The 33-year-old mixed martial artist began his training in combat sports when he was a teenager, originally crafting his fight game through Kyukushinkai Karate. Nicknamed Tonton, M’Pumbu officially turned to MMA at the age of 25 and registered his first professional fight in 2004, a 32-second knockout of Kuljit Degun at UKMMAC 7: Rage & Fury. The southpaw fighter rallied off nine consecutive wins to start his career, including a first round submission of UFC veteran Stefan Struve, and he has since gone 8-3-1 in his last 12 matches.
A native of Tempe, Arizona, Hale has fought professionally since 2006, and the Koncrete Gym representative has just one loss in his last 15 outings. Prior to joining the Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament, he made the biggest impact of his career while competing under the banner of Rage in the Cage, winning titles in three different weight classes as a light heavyweight, heavyweight and super heavyweight. Standing 6-4 in height, Hale’s decision victory over Linderman on Saturday night was just the third time in his 17 career victories where he had to turn to the judges.
The date and location of the Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament Finals are expected to be announced by the promotion in the coming weeks.