The welterweights went to war last night at the popular Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut in front of a welcoming crowd. Eight men entered the Bellator circle as part of the Season 6 Welterweight Tournament Quarter-Finals, but only four were allowed to move up the ladder to the semi-finals. “Killa B” Ben Saunders (13-4) took on “Smash Mode” Raul Amaya (9-1) in the opening tournament match-up. “The Caveman” David Rickels (10-0) put his undefeated record on the line against veteran “Mata Ele” Jordan Smith (17-3). Former 185lbs. tourney contender “The Beast” Bryan Baker (17-3) faced Brazilian fight ciruit journeyman and Bellator newcomer “Indio” Carlos Alexandre Pereira (33-10) in a battle of the strongmen of the 170 lbs. division. In the main event MMA Gospel Young Gun and Bellator gladiator “The Cleveland Assassin” Chris Lozano (9-3) took on M-1 veteran “Pyscho” Karl Amoussou (14-4) in a bad blood fight that finally came to a head when they faced off in the cage.
Ben Saunders vs. Raul Amaya: The UFC veteran Saunders returned to the Bellator 170lbs. tourney to pit his Jeet Kune Do style against newcomer and finishing machine Raul Amaya. Saunders used his long reach, ranged strikes, and submission attempts to keep Amaya on his heels. Amaya was determined to get the fight to the mat with his wrestling, and he was successful but Saunders’ experience and flexibility didn’t allow Amaya to gain control. Each time Amaya rolled to a dominant position, Saunders countered with chains of Armbars, Triangle Chokes, and Kimuras. The Brazilian showed every ounce of his heart with his pressing takedowns and heavy punches from the top but he was unable to mount any significant offense without being swept. The bulk of the fight took place on the ground with the wrestling of Amaya and submission game of Saunders and in the end all three judges gave all three rounds to Saunders for his efforts. Saunders via Unanimous Decision
David Rickels vs. Jordan Smith: It was straight to the point between Rickels and Smith, as the sound of the bell released these two bulls in the china shop that was the Bellator cage. Rickels pressed the action from the get-go and in his first solid exchange rocked Smith with a pair of hooks topped off with a front kick. Rickels pounced and unleashed a fury of uppercuts on Smith, causing the referee to pull Rickels away as his opponent fell to the mat. Smith protested the stoppage but in the replay it was obvious that he was clearly out of the fight. The bout lasted less than half a minute and showed that Rickels is a big threat in Bellator’s tournament. Rickels via TKO (Punches), Round 1, 0:22
(Video courtesy of Bellator)
Bryan Baker vs. Carlos Alexandre Pereria: The WEC veteran Bryan Baker and Bellator newcomer Carlos Pereria faced each other in a fight that went to the razor’s edge. During the opening minutes of the three-round affair, they dueled on the feet but neither man committed to a striking war. Baker took the fight to the mat only to have Pereria sweep him and get on top, landing some solid punches and knees as he got back to his feet. Baker switched between orthodox and southpaw throughout the bout to give himself a better chance to catch Pereria, but Pereria’s 45 fights worth of experience paid off in not being affected by the changing of stances. As the fight moved on Pereria became more of the predator, stalking Baker with solid kicks to the legs and shoving off any takedowns attempts. While Pereria owned the entire second round with kicks, defending Baker’s takedowns, and ending the round in top position, the third round brought out “The Beast”. Baker let his striking go by pumping his jab and landing several solid right hands on his foe. Pereira seemed a bit fresher than Baker but both men were slowing down. In the final minute of the fight, Baker gave it his all and landed a series of kicks and a double-leg takedown to finish on top, landing some heavy punches until the bell called an end to the bout. Baker via Split Decision
Chris Lozano vs. Karl Amoussou: Like two dogs chomping at the bit to fight, both Lozano and Amoussou had shared thrash talk via Twitter and at the weigh-ins they nearly came to blows early. The fight began as a feeling out process. Amoussou darted in and out, showing his superior speed, but Lozano wasn’t displaying any fear as he maneuvered to counter. The beginning of the end came when Amoussou unleashed a head kick that popped Lozano in the face. “The Cleveland Assassin” caught the kick coming back down and took Amoussou to the mat then took top position, but he was cut and rocked and the Frenchman easily swept him into the full mount. Amoussou unleashed a series of bombs until Lozano went to escape and gave up his back. Amoussou locked in both hooks and sank in the Rear Naked Choke, eliciting a tap from the Cleveland native. Amoussou via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1, 2:05
Click here for the full list of Bellator 63 results.