If you've been following Bellator thus far, tonight is a must-see show. Bellator 94 from Tampa, Florida, stages a double dose of tournament finals and the potential to consummate a pair of Cinderella stories: Saad Awad David Rickels Emanuel NewtonMikhail Zayats
Scrappy bantamweights collide in the Ronnie Mann vs. Rodrigo "Ratinho" Lima fight and rising prospects Trey Houston and Luis Melo lead off the main card on Spike TV. The preliminary card is punctuated by top female talent -- Jessica Aguilar vs. Heather Clark and Felice Herrig vs. Patricia Vidonic -- while MMA veterans Edson Berto (vs. Bruno Carvalho) and Tony Fryklund (vs. Patrick Cenoble) see action as well.
The full lineup is listed below followed by the embedded Bellator 94 stream. Play by play will kick off with the main card on Spike TV at 10:00 and a results/gifs post will appear after the event. In the interim, take a gander at Fraser Coffeen's preview of the show.
Bellator 94 Main Card
(Spike TV at 10:00 p.m. ET)
Welterweight Tournament Final: Saad Awad vs. David Rickels
Light-Heavyweight Tournament Final: Mikhail Zayats vs. Emanuel Newton
Bantamweight Feature: Ronnie Mann vs. Rodrigo Lima
Welterweight Feature:Trey Houston vs. Luis Melo
(Streaming on Bloody Elbow and Spike.com at 7:30 p.m. ET)
We are live on Spike TV for Bellator 94 my fellow and beloved fight fans. Play by play and results are below.
R1: Newton swings out a left body kick from a tight stance. Newton catches the low kicks of Zayats and lifts it for a quick takedown but Zayats springs back up. Newton gets a tad off balance on his combo and Zayats counters him. Zayats cracks him with a low kick and again Newton stumbles after his combination and gets countered, but this time tacks on a body kick and punch to even out the exchange.
Zayats adds two hooks after his low kick that sneak through. Zayats is aggressive with another kick and punches; Newton barely dodges the punch with his hands down but recovers well with a takedown. Zayats wall walks to get back up and circles Newton onto the fence with underhooks. Newton swims under and almost slams him from the body lock, but Zayats shows good composure by reversing it. Zayats can't hold Newton as a scramble ensues, and Newton ends up on Zayat's back, throwing punches with him trapped on the fence and no hooks in. 10-10: I saw it fairly even but a case could be made for either.
R2: Zayats stays aggressive and backs Newton up with punches; Newton eventually holds his ground and makes some space with big punches. Side kick by Newton from distance. Spinning back kick whiffs badly for Newton, who loses his balance again. They clinch up and fight for underhooks with neither gaining an edge, then release. Dead even and fairly uneventful round with a minute left. Newton ducks under Zayats' spinning back fist. Newton half-commits to a left kick and Zayats slips one through for his hesitation. Zayats lands a punch and a takedown right at the bell. I'm honestly on the fence about this round but will begrudgingly go 10-9 Zayats in another close one.
R3: After some even clinch work, Newton lances a left hand through, has his left high kick partially blocked but then tags Zayats with a 1-2 that drops him. Newton swarms and locks up the neck but doesn't go for hooks or body control and the Russian spins out and stands back up, apparently with his wits fully about him. No dice for Newton's spinning back fist. Zayats misses with his left hand but uses it to set up a hard right low kick.
Left body kick from Newton but his spinning back kick is sloppy. Newton forces a clinch and nails a single leg, but Zayats traps an arm and swivels for an armbar that Newton shakes off. 10-9 Newton. I have it a 29-29 draw but that score sure as hell won't be replicated.
- The judges have it 29-28 across the board for Emanuel Newton, who defeats Mikhail Zayats by unanimous decision.
R1: Troy Waugh starts off this Welterweight Tournament final. Awad crouched low with his right hand cocked while Rickels stays busy with angles. Awad tries a high kick that Rickels blocks, causing Awad to take a seat but he's right back up. Awad holding his lead hand hazardously low while head-hunting. He uncorks a series of streaking rights and steps back as Rickels' counter hook whizzes by, then presses again aggressively with punches. Just when it seems like Awad is starting to bully Rickels with punches, Rickels backs him off with a crisp 3-piece.
Now they show mutual respect on the restart with more cautious and prodding punches. Awad turns the corner on a nice double when they clinch up and goes to work in Rickels' guard. Rickels swivels his hips around busily but Awad postures down and cracks down a few punches. Rickels uses the fence to stand back up but Awad pelts his hamstrings with stiff knees from the rear waist lock. Awad is all over him with his hands and then changes levels for another smooth takedown. Awad keeps the heat on with a series of hammer-fists and then arcs down a nice axe kick to the prone Rickels, showing excellent diversity and Fight I.Q. 10-9 Awad.
R2: Rickels telegraphs his lead left kick to the body a little and Awad catches the leg and eventually turns it into a successful single leg. Rickels controls posture well, doesn't let Awad get off any strikes and gets back to his feet. Rickels turns the tables with a momentous outside trip from the body lock. Rickels tries to pass to half, then spikes short left hands to the body to open up the pass ... but he's too reckless and Awad rolls him with a slick sweep.
Awad's pace slows a bit from the top as Rickels stifles him with double underhooks. Rickels uses a high guard and angles for an armbar and an omoplata but Awad controls the threatening leg to thwart the activity. Awad more content to hand fight with Rickels than to posture up with busy strikes like earlier. Rickels now maneuvers for an armbar to set up a sweep but Awad sees it all coming. Rickels scoots back to the fence and uses it to stand again, circling Awad onto the cage in the clinch and uncorking a big flurry. Awad plants and heaves punches with nary a concern for defense. Rickels shellacks him and Awad goes down right as the bell sounds, and it's unclear whether he's collapsed and out of sorts from the punch or just regathering himself because the round is over.
Referee Troy Waugh interprets it as the former, waving off the fight as a shocked Awad stands and raises his arms in disbelief. Semi-controversial conclusion there but the call is made.
- David Rickels defeats Saad Awad by TKO (punch), Round 2.
R1: Berto comes out firing, unwinding a right roundhouse kick over Carvalho's shoulder and then knocking his mouthpiece out with a piston-like straight right. Berto dives into Carvalho's guard carelessly looking to finish and finds himself standing up to alleviate the deep armbar Carvalho's got him in. Berto gives the thumb up and then beautifully drops drops for a leg lock as soon as he's out of danger. He snatches up a heel hook and rolls into it to force a tap from Carvalho in a whirlwind of a fight.
- Edson Berto defeats Bruno Carvalho by submission (heel hook), Round 1.
R1: OK. We have a fight here. Melo unloads a wild flurry and Houston covers up and answers back with a high kick and a chambered side kick. Houston snatches up the body lock and nails a takedown but Melo squirts back to his feet with a slippery guard. Melo crushes Houston's cut with a monster low kick -- you know a low blow is bad when even the guy that throws it winces and makes the "Oooohh!" face. Houston walks it off and we restart fairly quickly.
Houston comes at Melo with punches then throws another side kick. Melo times a takedown on the next exchange and gets it, immediately passing to half guard. Houston gets full guard but eats a few hammer-fists for his efforts. Houston slinging his legs high in search of a triangle and Melo countering by posturing up and showering down short strikes. Houston takes a knee and stands back up, pushing Melo on the cage, letting his hands go and throwing the high kick on the separation. Houston really turns it up and walks Melo down with big right hands but ends up on his back after they tie up. 10-9 Melo.
R2: They trade front kicks and Houston adds on a roundhouse to the body. Now Melo doubles up kicks, one low and one to the body. Houston connects on a flurry that looks to stun Melo and then makes it certain with a beefy right that drops Melo. Houston pounces and takes Melo's back while cinching up a rear-naked choke but Melo hand-fights it off and spins out.
Houston lets him back up and engages with punches, allowing Melo to drop levels for a momentum-killing double leg. Houston again looks to frame up a triangle but the experienced Luta Livre fighter passes his guard. Melo turning up the intensity with strikes, forcing Houston to scramble; Houston turtles and Melo stands up and soccer kicks his ribs. Melo swarming Houston on the mat with a frenetic mixture of guard passing and strikes. Houston guts it out and almost gets to his feet but Melo drags him back down with the rear waist lock. 10-9 Melo.
R3: Lunging jab from Houston that Melo counters with a body kick from southpaw. Houston comes in aggressive but again Melo uses his momentum against him and drops levels for a deep double. Melo passes guard like a machine: first to half, then to full mount with an arm-triangle locked that forces Houston to tap. That was a big statement from Melo in his promotional debut.
- Luis Melo defeats Trey Houston by submission (arm triangle), Round 3.
R1: They both land low roundhouse kicks. Lima pings through an over-the-top right on the next exchange. He throws it again with no set up and Mann clips him with a counter. Lima switches to southpaw and lands a combo. Lima hurls a right-left dangerously from the waist, but finds the mark on a retreating right hook. Mann noticeably calm; almost too calm in contrast with Lima's exuberance. And he pays for it: Lima plugs him with a lightning-fast combo and sends him down on one knee with a left hook.
Lima stays on the trigger but Mann recovers and defends well with 2 minutes left. Mann's lead right is off the mark and Lima grazes with his counter combo. Inside low kick from Lima. Lima unrolls a 4-5 punch combo on a lazy Mann low kick and Mann seems angry after eating a fair share, pressing the attack as Lima backpedals and circles out of danger. Commentator Jimmy Smith aptly notes the quickness and footwork disparity, both of which strongly favor Lima in a solid first frame. 10-9 Lima.
R2: Mann opens up the same; flat-footed and almost looking disinterested. Lima cracks him with a left and senses the same, clapping his hands loudly in Mann's face to wake him up. Mann catches a Lima low kick but can't convert. Lima switches from his wide-sailing hooks to slice a straight right hand through Mann's defense and he stumbles back. Now Mann gets inside with a quick counter-right as Lima winds up for his left hook.
There's a fine line between patient/composed and inactive, and Mann is on the wrong end of it. Lima bouncing light on his toes, moving his head and darting in and out with offense while Mann stands still and throws late counters. Lima clinches up and spears a knee to the body amidst another hail of leather. 10-9 Lima.
R3: Lima starts off by snapping Mann's head back with a short right. Lima lands a low kick. Another. Mann throws an off-balance punch and gets swarmed when it whiffs and he's out of position. After his standing pressure, Lima wisely capitalizes on Mann's flat-footed stance and nails a takedown, quickly passing to half guard and looking to mount. Mann shuts down the pass and Lima settles into half guard with short elbows and strikes.
Mann, normally game and higher paced, is not even in this fight, perhaps exhausted from his first cut to 135. Mann nicely escapes with a low single and reverses position but falls right into Lima's triangle. Mann bases down to keep the pressure off the choke and Lima bounces some elbows off his melon from his guard. Mann just lays there in the triangle while Lima celebrates off his back with 10 seconds left. Mann didn't mount an iota of effective offense and was outright dominated. 10-8 Lima, for a 30-26 his way on my card.
- All 3 judges have it 30-27 for Rodrigo "Ratinho" Lima, who defeats Ronnie Mann by unanimous decision and lands a spot in the Bantamweight Tournament.