Join us live on Bloody Elbow tonight at 8 p.m. ET to ramble aimlessly about the stacked Bellator 64 event from Ontario, Canada. The show is headlined by undefeated Olympic wrestler Ben Askren defending the welterweight strap against Douglas Lima, who is soaring after back-to-back wins by knockout.
A plethora of fresh bantamweight talent will be on display in two 135-pound quarterfinal fights: flawless Team Nogueira finisher Rodrigo "Ratinho" Lima takes on robust grappler Hiroshi Nakamura and longtime top-tenner Masakatsu Ueda makes his stateside debut against Greg Jackson product Travis "T-Train" Marx. Egregious bodily harm is virtually guaranteed in the lone featherweight semifinal bout, which pits high-octane slugger Marlon Sandro versus the once-beaten brawler Alexandre Bezerra.
The preliminary card will be streamed live and free on Spike.com at 7 p.m. ET and is captained by former WEC fighter Chris Horodecki, who hails from Canada, against Minnesota Fight Factory's Mike Richman. The following is the entire Bellator 64 lineup:
Ben Askren vs. Douglas Lima
Ben Askren vs. Douglas Lima (welterweight championship)
R1: Askren leans left, fires an overhand right and tries to scoop up a single. Lima backpedals and defends, Askren pushes Lima on the cage and Lima circles out. Lima succumbs to a clinch throw from Askren at 3:45, and Askren climbs to a high half guard and throws bothersome punches. Lima grabs both of Askren's heels from the bottom and topples him, but Askren quickly regains the top position when Lima swivels for a submission. Lima is quick with an armbar attempt from guard, but Askren stays patient and breaks Lima's grip.
High half guard from Askren again, who pesters with a stream of light punches. Downward elbow from Askren, then a short forearm to end the first. Askren was still busy from the top and quickly escaped the submission attempts, so I see it his way 10-9.
R2: Askren fires his right hand and pins Lima on the fence before dragging him down from the clinch. Askren now reaching across in half guard with a kimura attempt that Lima counters with a toe hold. They reset with Askren in Lima's guard, still patty-caking punches. Lima tries an omoplata that Askren spins out of. Lima trying to stay active but Askren's base and dexterity are too much. Elbows from the top from "Funky." Lackadaisical ground and pound from Askren, who stacks Lima, then falls into his guard after an up-kick whizzes through his curly locks. The crowd is not appreciative of the action. 10-9 Askren.
R3: Lima just misses a short right counter before Askren starts with a single and finishes with the double leg. Less than a minute in, we're back into half guard and the crowd is already restless. Lima slings a leg up for a triangle but Askren steps over to escape before settling back in with a few slaps. Now Askren postures up and rifles down some legit right hands. Lima keeps shifting to different angles from his guard, Askren adjusts, shuts him down and punches. Askren goes for a D'arce choke with a Gable grip, then readjusts to a bicep grip. Lima slips free and Josh Rosenthal stands the fighters up after a short lull. Askren drops levels and glues himself to Lima's hips, pushing him against the fence. Lima circles off and lands a sharp knee to the sternum. 10-9 Askren.
R4: Lima throws a low kick that Askren tries to swallow in a low single. They clinch and Askren loses his balance on a head and arm throw but stands back up and takes Lima down. Askren has a phenomenal combination of takedowns and top-side submission defense that is not exhilarating to behold. Lima tries to sweep, Askren denies it. Askren stacking and throwing right hands. Legit armbar attempt now from Lima but Askren slips out. The ref stands them up around the ten-second mark and Askren blocks a Lima high kick. 10-9 Askren.
R5: Crowd chanting "Lima!" just for the hell of it. Lima stuffs a double but Askren nails an outside trip from the clinch forty seconds in. No dice on the elevator sweep attempt from Lima. Askren just doing his thing. It's possible his rhythmic and mild punches are actually a message in Morse Code -- only a 1950's radio operator knows. 10-9 Askren for a clean sweep on my card.
All three judges agree with 50-45 across the board. Ben Askren retains his welterweight title with a unanimous decision over Douglas Lima.
Marlon Sandro vs. Alexandre "Popo" Bezerra (featherweight semifinal)
R1: Sandro wings a big one-two, an uppercut and a right low kick. Popo looking to counter with the left hook. Another one-two from Sandro, who adds a left hook that lands on his way out of the pocket. Inside low kick from Popo. Sandro catches a Popo kick but can't unload his right hand. Sandro's inside low kick catches the cup of Popo, who takes a short respite before restarting. Sandro plunging the one-two, then a sharp Thai kick to the leg. Popo shoots but Sandro stuffs it with slight assistance from the cage.
Sandro cracks a low kick before Popo can connect with his left hook counter. Sandro smashes Popo's lead leg with a low kick that causes him to stumble. Spinning back-kick from Sandro whiffs. Sandro one-two; Popo lands a decent spinning back-fist. Popo checks the next Sandro low kick, then lands one of his own. 10-9 Sandro by a close margin for the more effective striking and control of the fight's location.
R2: Left hook lands from Sandro. Popo pawing with his left hand. Sandro bursts forward with a decent combination. They trade low kicks. Sandro connects on an inside low kick and one-two combination. Sandro attacking the lead leg with left kicks. One-two-three from Sandro. Snap kick from Popo is blocked by Sandro, who flings more leather and taps another low kick. Another. Make it three, but he's throwing the short left kick instead of the torquing right. Sandro goes for a duck-under single but can't get it. They trade low kicks.
Double left low kicks from Sandro, then a right. One for Popo. Sandro tries a leaping knee as the round ends that barely misses. 10-9 Sandro in another tight round for the edge with effective striking.
R3: They collide and Popo quickly moves behind Sandro and hits a belly to back suplex. Sandro hits a switch and gets on top but Yves Lavigne is quick on the draw again and stands them up too quickly. Popo stuns Sandro with a punch, who goes down on one knee, but Sandro's back on his feet before Popo can pounce. Sandro's output slows down considerably after the big punch. Popo now leading exchanges with low kicks and a straight right. Sandro is backing up and only throwing sparse punches while Popo walks him down. Sandro indicates that Popo's kick landed low but it's ignored. Popo pressuring with more flurries until the bell. Clear 10-9 round for Popo -- putting my overall score at 29-28 for Sandro.
One judge has it 29-28 for Popo but the other two see it 29-28 for Marlon Sandro, who beats Alexandre Bezerra by split decision.
Masakatsu Ueda vs. Travis Marx
R1: Marx unrolls about four mid-range kicks to jump in the driver's seat early. Marx catches a lazy Ueda kick, gets the body lock and heaves Ueda with a nice throw. Udea grabs a kimura and torques it but Marx slips out and pesters with punches from the top, moving to Ueda's back on one knee. Ueda tries to roll out but he's eating steady leather from Marx. Ueda gets loose and lands a left body kick, then has a high kick blocked. They trade blows and Ueda lands another body kick, then throws two more followed by a one-two, but it's not enough to steal the round. 10-9 Marx for effective striking and grappling.
R2: More roundhouse kicks to the body from Nakamura to open the second. Ueda follows his straight right hand into the clinch and catches Marx off-guard with a takedown. Marx closes his guard, then tries to shrimp out but Ueda traps his head in a loose guillotine. Marx angles out and Ueda almost takes his back, then transitions to a kimura. Marx shifts his weight and rolls Ueda over. Ueda with another kimura, this time from half guard. Marx moves to full mount but Ueda bucks him off during the transition. An odd stalemate ensues where Ueda is turtled and Marx is in the inverted triangle position. Ueda slides his head out and gets on top, then gets a strong front headlock when Marx gets to his knees. Very even round with neither fighter showing a clear advantage. 10-10.
R3: True to form, Ueda comes out with a hard body kick. Marx tries to counter Ueda's straight left with low kicks. Two kicks from Ueda, Marx answers with one. Ueda with another. Marx charges with a half-hearted knee, Ueda side steps and counters. Marx snaps a right hook just as Ueda is dropping for a double leg, and he gets it. Marx traps an arm but Ueda spins on top to the front head lock. Ueda gets a cross-side underhook and lands a few rights as Marx is turtled. Marx slips free and gets the rear waist cinch for a second but Ueda spins out.
Marx lands a right and Ueda shoots. Marx seems to have it stuffed but Ueda picks the ankle to roll him on his back. Marx scrambles free and they trade punches until the horn. 10-10 for another round of even offense. I have it 30-29 for Marx.
All three judges see it 29-28 for Travis Marx, who defeats Masakatsu Ueda by unanimous decision.
Rodrigo "Ratinho" Lima vs. Hiroshi "Iron" Nakamura (bantamweight quarterfinal)
R1: Yves Lavigne is in charge of the bantamweights. They touch up and Lima cracks an inside leg kick. Nakamura snatches Lima's hips and puts the Brazilian on his back, but Lima attacks instantly from his guard. Nakamura is defending a host of submission attempts from the busy Lima, who is clearly the more offensive fighter and controlling the pace from the bottom. Nakamura finally unleashes two stiff rights from the top. Nakamura throws hammerfists while Lima spins for an armbar that isn't there, then a few more. Lima ties up with loose omoplata and Nakamura backs out and stands over Lima. Nakamura throws a half-hearted right on his way back down into Lima's guard.
Lima shrimps out and creates a scramble that enables him to stand, but he lands a low knee to Nakamura's cup and we pause. Action restarts with one minute and Lima is blitzing heavy combinations. Nakamura drops levels with a double leg that Lima counters with some liberal fence-grabbing. He tries to take Nakamura's back but ends up on his back as the round ends. 10-9 Lima for the more effective striking and grappling.
R2: Lima stuffs a takedown, cracks Nakamura with a nice horizontal elbow and then duplicates the low, illegal knee from the first round. Lavigne justifiably docks one point for the foul. Nakamura shoots right away and Lima repels him momentarily in the clinch, then succumbs to an outside trip. Lima not quite as frenetic from guard as he was earlier. Short hammerfists from Nakamura, who has Lima's head on the cage to defend the armbar. Lima looking for a deep-half sweep with a high guard and good wrist control, but Nakamura defends. Now Lima is all over Nakamura again, seeking another omoplata and then rolling into an armbar. Nakamura peppers with a sharp flurry to slow Lima down.
Lima matching Nakamura with strikes from the bottom, then another omoplata attempt. Lima spins behind Nakamura and looks for a toe hold, but Nakamura breaks free and stands. Lima brilliantly pounces for a leg lock and Nakamura drops back to counter with one of his own as the bell sounds. Another great round in which Nakamura spent more time defending than mounting offense. With the point deduction, I have it 9-9 Lima for everything: striking, grappling, control and aggression.
R3: Lima goes rapid fire with more punches and then clips Nakamura with a knee before being taken down. Lima contorts into another omoplata that's too loose but his wrist control ties Nakamura up. Nakamura escapes and shows more output with punches as Lima's head is on the cage. Nakamura lands a few hard shots and Lima twists for another leg lock and they both wrench the hold on each other -- and Yves Lavigne inexplicably stands them up with 45 seconds left. Atrocious stand up. They tie up and Lima rolls for a kneebar as the frame closes. 10-10 for equal offense, making my fight score 29-28 for Lima.
All three judges score it 29-27 for Hiroshi Nakamura, who defeats Rodrigo Lima by unanimous decision.
R1: Horodecki pumps a one-two. Aggressive punches from Horodecki, but Richman tags him with a short right, then again with a clean left hook. A bit taken aback, Horodecki snaps an inside low kick on the southpaw. Richman charges with straight punches and a shovel punch, then uncorks a flurry of lefts and rights that flattens Horodecki.
Mike Richman defeats Chris Horodecki by KO, Round 1.
Chad Laprise defeats Josh Taveirne by submission (triangle choke), Round 1.