It’s back to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut Friday night for another Bellator tournament bracket to get underway, this time with eight explosive welterweights hitting the cage for Bellator 63. Featuring a returning cast of warriors that have literally rocked the Bellator cage with their previous performances, the tourney also includes several newcomers more than willing to step up and engage in the firefights Bellator’s tournaments have become known for, all in the hopes of getting a shot at championship gold. Brazilian journeyman with nearly 45 fights to his credit “Indio” Carlos Alexandre Pereira (33-9) makes his Bellator debut against former WEC and Bellator 185lbs. contender turned oversized welterweight, “The Beast” Bryan Baker (16-3). Submission specialist and Bellator veteran “The Caveman” David Rickels (9-0) meets well-rounded promotion newcomer “Mata Ele” Jordan Smith (17-2), who steps in as a late replacement for UFC veteran Brian Foster (18-5). Season 5 Welterweight Tournament finalist “Killa B” Ben Saunders (12-4) is slated to pit his lethal striking and BJJ credentials against undefeated finishing machine “Smash Mode” Raul Amaya (9-0). The main event features original MMA Gospel Young Gun and heavy-handed Bellator 170lbs. tournament vet “The Cleveland Assassin” Chris Lozano (9-2) teeing off against former 185lbs. French wrecking machine “Psycho” Karl Amoussou (13-4), in a fight that has had both men chomping at the bit for weeks. As in previous seasons, the Bellator welterweight tourney match-ups are sure to add a few more clips to the promotion’s highlight reels.
The search for aspiring young professional fighters with the skill and grit to be the next big thing continues as MMA Gospel scours the country in search of the next MMA Gospel Young Gun. The “Young Gun” is a fighter yet unnoticed by the MMA world at large who has the training, skill, and athleticism to be the next big name in the sport. This time, MMA Gospel’s search led to a young amateur fighter in northern Indiana. Torres Martial Arts fighter Jake Nauracy (0-0) has yet to make his jump into the professional ranks, but he has already made a splash on the Chicago MMA scene. The Cut Throat MMA Bantamweight Champion is 10-0 as an amateur and has submitted all but one of his opponents, defeating nine within the first three minutes of the very first round. That lone foe who escaped submission, he knocked out in just 11 seconds. Nauracy’s reputation and skill caught the eyes of the crew over at Bellator Fighting Championships, allowing Jake to skip the little leagues and make his debut as a pro with one of the three major players in North American MMA. MMA Gospel CEO and staff writer Dan Griffin caught up with Jake on Tuesday and here is what the tough young submission artist had to say.
In the race to the tournament finals, it was the welterweights to reach the mountain top first, as four men entered the Bellator cage to fight for their claim towards the $100,000 payday and title shot against the winner of the upcoming bout between welterweight champion Ben Askren (8-0) and “The Thoroughbred” Jay Hieron (19-4). “Killa B” Ben Saunders (12-3) met Brazilian bomber Luiz Santos (48-7) in a Muay Thai slug fest that ended in an unforeseen fashion and MMA Gospel Young Gun “The Cleveland Assassin” Chris Lozano (9-2) stood across the cage from former MFC Welterweight Champion “The Phenom” Douglas Lima (18-4) to determine the final two 170-pounders of the season. Featherweights “The Tooth Fairy” Kenny Foster (9-4) and “Kid Ninja” Ronne Mann (21-3) battled it out in a bout to determine who would take the first spot in the Bellator Season 6 145lbs. tournament and late addition heavyweight bout Josh Burns (5-3) and “Big Monster” Thiago Santos (5-1) started off the night with hopes of being a fill in for the heavyweight tournament on the line.
It was another night of success for Bellator Fighting Championships as the welterweight tournament began the promotion’s fifth season. The action took place at Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City, New Jersey as eight welterweights stepped into the Bellator cage but only four would continue on to the semi-final rounds. Opening the tournament was Bellator veteran and former US Army member Steve Carl (14-3) and former MFC Welterweight Champion “The Phenom” Douglas Lima (17-4). The return of fan favorite “The Handler” Dan Hornbuckle (18-5) was soured by the strength of “Sapo” Luis Santos (48-6). UFC veteran and American Top Team stand-out “Killa B” Ben Saunders (11-3) did what he does best and laid down a beating against Chris Cisneros (11-5). In the main event “The Cleveland Assassin” Chris Lozano (9-1) and Brent Weedman (18-7) gave the fans what they wanted for three rounds, a hard fought war.
The welterweight division of Bellator is not one of its most talent-rich divisions but it is one of the most exciting, and with the new crop of tournament competitors, depth won’t be an issue for long. Bellator Fighting Championships starts off Season 5 tomorrow night with the 170lbs. tournament in Atlantic City, New Jersey with a stacked bracket of eight men who look to earn their shot at Bellator gold. Former MFC Welterweight Champion “The Phenom” Douglas Lima (16-4) is coming off a quick first-round knockout victory over “Dangerous” Terry Martin (21-9) at MFC 29 and will take on Bellator veteran Steven Carl (14-2) who has a submission game that has earned more than half of his victories. A very familiar face, “The Handler” Dan Hornbuckle (18-4), will look to get back to the form that saw him steamroll the Season 2 field until he came up short to the stagnant wrestling of Ben Askren (8-0) when he battles with the well versed Brazilian fighter “Sapo” Luis Santos (47-6). Santos may not be known by mainstream MMA fans but when he steps into the cage and starts to throw hands they will see why those who do know him, fear him. UFC veteran and Muay Thai wrecking machine “Killa B” Ben Saunders (10-3) earned his way into the tournament with a one-sided beatdown over journeyman Matt Lee (12-9), but can he blast through X-1 MMA veteran Chris Cisneros (11-4)? Cisneros is riding a strong five-fight win streak with four finishes, and a win over Saunders will certainly improve his stock in the Bellator welterweight division. The main event features MMA Gospel’s first Young Gun “The Cleveland Assassin” Chris Lozano (8-1) and the owner of one of the previous season’s biggest upset victories, Brent Weedman (18-6). Weedman upset Hornbuckle but came up short against tournament winner “The Thoroughbred” Jay Hieron (19-4), but with another shot at glory only one win away, Weedman is coming in ready for a battle against Lozano. “The Cleveland Assassin” looks to erase the memory of his fight against former champ “Cyborg” Lyman Good (11-2) and what better way than a knockout win over Weedman?
“The Cleveland Assassin” Chris Lozano (8-1) is taking no prisoners in his quest for glory. In just over two years as a professional mixed martial artist, Lozano has already made quite a name for himself, knocking out seven of his nine opponents and not only competing in Bellator’s Season 4 Welterweight Tournament, but also in serving as the headliner of the first fight card in history to be aired on MTV2, Bellator 35. That bout saw Lozano take on the promotion’s most recent former 170lbs. champion, “Cyborg” Lyman Good (11-2), in a hard fought three-round battle that rendered “The Cleveland Assassin” on the losing end for the first time in his career. Lozano then followed up his stint in Bellator with a pair of consecutive victories in the North American Allied Fight Series promotion, after which he was invited to return to the Bellator cage for the Season 5 Welterweight Tournament. Come September 10, “The Cleveland Assassin” will step into the national spotlight yet again, this time facing off with fellow knockout artist Brent Weedman (18-6) in the Bellator Season 5 Welterweight Tournament quarter-finals. MMA Gospel Editor-in-Chief Mallory Mejia got the opportunity to sit down with the rising star Lozano and discuss his evolving fight game, his mindset going into one of the most important match-ups of his career thus far, and what he plans on doing differently this time around.
The stacked division of Bellator’s 170lb. gladiators are ready to return to the cage. On September 10, another tournament begins and the right for the title shot looms overhead. With several returning faces including fan favorites, true warriors, and even a world champion, Bellator fans are in for a treat this fall.
Submission specialist and Bellator veteran Steve Carl (14-2) has the chance to deal with some unfinished business in this season’s tournament but first he has to get past a young and hungry champ. MFC Welterweight Champion “The Phenom” Douglas Lima (16-4) is coming off his first-round knockout over the dangerous “Dangerous” Terry Martin (20-9) at MFC 29. Lima is riding a strong six-fight win streak with four finishes to his credit; in the Bellator tournament he will be tested and will have a chance at another world title if he can make it through the tournament flawlessly.
Check out the latest installment of MMA Gospel Radio, with hosts Gary Friedman and uber celebrity (at least on Twitter) Spilled Bag of Ice! This week Gary and SBoI caught up with middleweight prospect Chaun Sims (4-1) as well as undefeated heavyweight Stipe Miocic (4-0) and MMA Gospel Young Gun and Bellator veteran “The Assassin” Chris Lozano (6-1).
Tonight, Bellator Fighting Championships debuts its inaugural Light Heavyweight Tournament in the state of Mississippi in Tunica at the Harrah’s Tunica Hotel and Casino. Starting off the night is MMA Gospel Young Gun “The Professional” Chris Davis (10-2), who brings his destructive power into the Bellator cage against French import Christian M’Pumbu (1-1, 15-3 NSF). Rage In The Cage veteran Richard Hale (10-3-1) goes against Nik Fekete (3-0) who owns a victory over Strikeforce rising force Ovince St. Preux (9-4). Bellator veteran Raphael Davis (10-1) will look to continue a nine-fight win streak as he goes against D.J. Linderman (8-1), a former heavyweight who dropped down to compete in the first ever 205lbs. tournament. Then in the main event, returning to MMA competition after five years, is a member of the legendary Gracie family and PRIDE and International Fight League (IFL) veteran, Daniel Gracie (4-2). The submission specialist will go against undefeated Bellator veteran Tim Carpenter (6-0) who sees this as a way to earn bragging rights by defeating a member of the Gracie family.
Bellator Fighting Championships returns to the spotlight on MTV2 this Saturday with its Season Four Welterweight Tournament. Hosting the event is Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino, home of the well regarded Tachi Palace Fights. The tournament brackets are stacked with talent, new and old, and hold a prized shot at Bellator’s welterweight gold currently held by Ben Askren (7-0) for the overall winner at the season’s end. The card will also host a preliminary card that features highly regarded female striker and Bellator champion “The Warrior Princess” Zoila Frausto (8-1) against Karina Hallinan in a rematch of the fight that started both women’s careers as well as a trio of bouts that focus on some of the area’s top local talent. The fights on everyone’s minds, however, are the four first round tournament bouts that will see one former Bellator champion, one UFC veteran, two undefeated rising stars, and four veterans of the regional MMA scene battle it out for their chance at Bellator glory.
For the mixed martial arts fans that don’t already know of “The Assassin” Chris Lozano (6-0), they will soon enough. MMA Gospel’s very first Young Gun has set the welterweight division ablaze in his only year-and-a-half long professional MMA career, racking up six consecutive wins – all via KO or TKO – and having yet to feel the sting of defeat. The 28-year-old Cleveland, Ohio native began his foray in the world of martial arts when he took up wrestling at age five; after many dedicated years in the sport, Lozano parlayed his natural athleticism and new-found combat prowess into successful studies in Tae Kwon Do and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, for which he is a red belt and blue belt, respectively. Then, MMA called his name.
The Cleveland “Assassin” made his professional MMA debut with the North American Allied Fight Series (NAAFS) in June 2009, knocking out fellow newcomer Marcus Kruck (0-1) in just 37 seconds. His sophomore effort two months later resulted in a 47 second knockout with Lozano again on the winning side, prompting the organization to offer Lozano, now only two fights into his pro career, a shot at their middleweight title then held by WEC veteran Allan Weickert (6-8). Just six months after his debut, Chris fought for the NAAFS Middleweight Championship and won, dethroning the champ via first round knockout. He followed up his victory over Weickert with another knockout, this time in the Freestyle Cagefighting Fighting (FCF) promotion, then returned to NAAFS to successfully defend his title by TKO’ing UFC veteran “Dynamite” Jason Dent (21-11). “The Assassin” clearly was making his name in the local circuits and quickly rising to superstar status.
It has been rumored* from sources close to “The Professional” Chris Davis (10-2) that the MMA Gospel Young Gun has been signed to compete in the upcoming Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament on MTV2 this Spring. Davis has posted an impressive resume in his two-year-old MMA career with five submission and five TKO/KO victories, all but two of which came in the first round, and he is expected to maintain this quality of performance against the other hungry blue chip prospects that Bellator has assembled to compete for a shot at Bellator light heavyweight gold.
MMA Gospel was built on the principle of bringing MMA fans an insight into the MMA world they couldn’t find elsewhere. Continuing in that tradition, MMA Gospel began to search the country for aspiring professional fighters who were looking for that “one big break”. These men would represent the diamond in the rough, the truly talented warriors who have yet to be noticed by the mainstream mixed martial arts media. Today, MMA Gospel welcomes only the second man to be added to the ranks of the MMA Gospel Young Guns, “The Professional” Chris Davis (10-2).
Chris is a former U.S. Marine who grew up in Gadsden, Alabama. He stumbled upon mixed martial arts while selling phonebook ads in Anniston, Alabama and just one year later had amassed an impressive 9-0 amateur MMA record and decided to turn pro and never look back. Chris is the Rumble at the Raxx Light Heavyweight Champion and trains out of the Headhunter Combatives Crossfit and MMA Training Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama under Mike Taylor. He is set to face TUF alum and UFC veteran Eliot Marshall (9-2) at Nemesis Fighting: MMA Global Invasion in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic on November 13. MMA Gospel CEO and staff writer Dan Griffin sat down with Chris Davis and this is what “The Professional” had to say: