This week's episode of Bellator may not have had the big title fight or notable names of the past two weeks, but it still featured quality action. The Lightweight tournament took center stage, with all four quarterfinal fights delivering in different ways. After a night of upsets and big finishes, we now have our Lightweight semifinals set. On one side of the bracket, it will be David Rickels vs. Alexander Sarnavskiy, while Will Brooks and Saad Awad square off in the other semifinal. After tonight, I'm very intrigued to see how this tournament plays out.
Here are the full results, plus a recap of all the action, with gifs from Zombie Prophet.
David Rickels defeats Lloyd Woodard by unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
This tournament fight between two similarly aggressive and unconventional fighters started off pretty much how many people expected. Throughout the first round, the two men exchanged submission attempts and weird scrambles, including an aborted giant swing by Rickels. Woodard took that round, but by round 2, his cardio was failing, allowing Rickels to take over. In round 3, Woodard was exhausted, and Rickels seemed to break him, beating him badly during the last half of the fight, though never poured it on and went for the finish. Solid performance from Rickels for most of the fight, though the third round could have been more emphatic. Not a good night for Woodard overall.
Will Brooks defeats Ricardo Tirloni by unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
The undefeated Brooks scored the most impressive win of his career here with a dominating victory over the veteran Tirloni. Brooks used a combination of crisp striking, powerful wrestling from the top, and a hard pace to defeat Tirloni handily. Tirloni had a few solid submission attempts, but Brooks defended them nicely and they were not enough to stop him. Post-fight, an emotional Brooks had a great moment in the cage, further cementing himself as an immediate player in the Bellator Lightweight division.
Saad Awad defeats Guillaume DeLorenzi by TKO (punches) round 1, 0:31
Awad was a late replacement here, getting a shot in the tournament when Patricky Pitbull went down to injury, and man did he make the most of it. He was the definite underdog to the more highly touted DeLorenzi, but you wouldn't have known that from this fight. Awad came out with a vengeance, and in a fast, heated exchange, he landed the heavy left, followed up with punches, and put DeLorenzi down and out. Huge win for Awad here, and while I'm not high on his chances to move much farther into the tournament, this was definitely a great win.
What looked like a close battle on paper ended up being pretty one-sided. Alexander Tiger Sarnavskiy was significantly more effective here, ultimately ending the fight in the second round. This had the potential to be a stand-up battle between two close and skilled strikers, and at times, that was how it played out. In those exchanges, Sarnavskiy tended to have more success. But the real difference came on the mat. In the second round, Sarnavskiy used more grappling, securing a takedown, then locking in a rear naked choke. Sarnavskiy showed good progression in his game here, proving that he is a a well rounded, dangerous fighter.
Amir Killah defeats John Schulz by submission (rear naked choke) round 1, 4:34