The Season 9 Featherweight Tournament finalists will be determined tonight at Bellator 103 from The Kansas Star Arena in Wichita, Kansas. Patricio Freire meets the unassuming but dangerous Fabricio Guerreiro in the main event while Justin Wilcox and Joe Taimanglo battle it out in the co-main role.
Featured fights between lightweights David Rickels and J.J. Ambrose and light heavyweights Aaron Rosa and Mikhail Zayats complete the main card, which goes live on Spike TV at 9:00 p.m. ET. The preliminary card will be streamed live and free on Bloody Elbow at 7:00 p.m. ET. Live results and play-by-play will coincide with the Spike TV broadcast. Mark it, dude.
***We're live on Spike. Fight results descend below.
Bellator 103: Pitbull vs. Guerreiro
Patricio Freire vs. Fabricio Guerreiro -- Featherweight Tournament semifinals
R1: They show respect for one another with a tentative start. Guerreiro's height/length advantage is noticeable to say the least. Pitbull initiates the clinch and Guerreiro is game and tries a hip throw from the over-under. Pitbull keeps his balance with good footwork and posture, then counters Guerreiro's next attempt with beautiful counter wrestling. Pitbull gets half guard and immediately pursues the kimura, then slides into mount as Guerreiro defends. Guerreiro explodes and bucks him off, admirably getting back to his feet right after being mounted.
They stay entangled on the fence until Guerreiro boldly rolls into a leg lock attempt. It's a ballsy move and a legitimate one, but Pitbull's technique and reactions are on point and he's back in half guard. Pitbull momentarily traps Guerreiro's arm from half guard and throws punches as Guerreiro slips it free. Guerreiro is feisty again and scrambles his way free shortly before the frame closes. 10-9 Pitbull.
R2: Guerreiro lands a charging right/left combo and transitions smoothly to a deep double leg, but Pitbull pivots on his underhook like a hinge to reverse position. They stalemate on the fence and the ref steps in. Guerreiro flips a switch and starts sizzling in one-twos and right crosses, the last of which snaps Pitbull's head back. Guerreiro follows with a quick-release high kick that Pitbull blocks, but the momentum shifts slightly toward the underdog.
Pitbull clinches up to stifle the blitz and they switch positions against the fence before another intervention. Guerreiro again plants his feet and uncorks a 1-2-3 and the "3" lands. Pitbull answers with a short right shovel punch and then stuns Guerreiro with another streaking right hand. That's Guerreiro's round for the striking comparison by a close margin. 10-9 Guerreiro.
R3: Guerreiro catches Pitbull off guard with another surprise double leg and silky transition, but Pitbull again whizzers to reverse the lankier Guerreiro. Pitbull gets half guard and maintains pressure with right hands. Pitbull brilliantly fires off short left knees to the ribs from half guard that land with a thud. Guerreiro slips loose after a scramble but ends up standing with Pitbll in the rear waist lock and banging knees to his hamstrings.
Guerreiro tries to spin out and Pitbull dumps him with a power double. Full guard for Guerreiro with great wrist control right hands from the bottom. Pitbull postures down with head and arm control and passes but Guerreiro creates space with his hips and gets back to his feet. Breaking the clinch, Guerreiro goes Hail Mary and empties the chamber with aggressive punches but Pitbull keeps his space until the horn. 10-9 Pitbull for a 29-28 by my tally.
- Patricio "Pitbull" Freire defeats Fabricio Guerreiro by unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Justin Wilcox vs. Joe Taimanglo -- Featherweight Tournament semifinals
R1: Taimanglo troops out and chambers a front-leg side kick. Right/left/right combo from Taimanglo with some mustard on them, and Wilcox counter clinches but then disengages. Taimanglo's hand speed might prove to be an issue based on the early exchanges, largely consisting of heavy rights and busy jabs from "Baby Joe." Now Wilcox plants his feet on a pair of rights but they glance off target.
Wilcox finally capitalizes on Taimanglo's pressure by changing levels for a double leg that he gets by switching his angle. Wilcox gets a high half guard and jams short, grinding punches and forearms to the head. Taimanglo boxes the ears (Ode to Bas Rutten?) but inevitably gets suffocated by Wilcox's top pressure and a steady diet of punches. 10-9 Wilcox.
R2: Taimanglo throws a spinning roundhouse kick but nothing's cooking. Taimanglo changes up his stance and stings with quick and crisp punches. They collide and Wilcox goes down but looks to have slipped. Taimanglo switches to southpaw and slices a stiff left to the jaw. Wilcox changes levels for the double just before the round's midpoint.
It's back to half guard for Wilcox, but this time Taimanglo tries to create space by shrimping out with a stiff arm to the head. After a tense chess match, it works and Taimanglo gradually gets back to his feet. But it's all for naught -- Wilcox plants on him back immediately and commences his blender-like assault. Taimanglo works for kimura position from half guard but it doesn't even interrupt Wilcox's grinding. 10-9 Wilcox.
R3: Taimanglo is on his back quickly. He has full guard this time and keeps it open to finagle a triangle, but it's too lose. It backs Wilcox off enough to create room for escape and Wilcox nearly takes his back but ends up on top in half guard. Wilcox slithers forward with a head-and-arm choke attempt that's a decent threat before Taimanglo breaks his grip.
Wilcox focuses more on position this time, seeking to pass into full mount. Taimanglo anticipates it and Wilcox goes back to half guard, still looking to loosen his trapped leg to improve position. Nearing a stalemate, Wilcox wisely postures and showers down a volley of left hammerfists and punches. Wilcox gets a good base and postures up with whirring left and rights. Despite being on the wrong end of the output and size ratio, Taimanglo defends it all well, stays busy and shows a big heart. 10-9 Wilcox for a 30-27 overall on my card.
- Justin Wilcox defeats Joe Taimanglo by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x 2)
David Rickels vs. J.J. Ambrose -- Lightweight Feature
R1: Crowd is digging Rickels, who grew up 15 minutes away. Rickels connects with an inside low kick and has a high kick blocked. Rickels is heavy on the trigger and Ambrose clinches up and puts him on the fence. Rickels circles off and bombs a knee upstairs and down. Ambrose drops for a double leg but Rickels bases out and stands upright with an underhook. Ambrose is back on another double; Rickels defends and lands double lefts on the separation.
They collide with punches and Rickels lands the cleaner of the bunch, and they were zingers. Ambrose seems to clinch out of frustration or desperation and Rickels plants a spearing knee in his gut. Ambrose goes down but explodes into action upon hitting his back, standing back up and showing good gameness. Rickels smells blood and straight-up headhunts with a series of charging flurries. Rickels ends up on top throwing punches but Ambrose defends and somehow sweeps into top position. Big balls on this kid. He finishes out on top and narrowly avoids 10-8 standards. 10-9 Rickels.
R2: The pair both giggle after an awkward miscommunication with the glove touch. Rickels gets down to business by establishing his killer left hook again, popping Ambrose in the mouth early. Rickels is just a buzz-saw of violence, stalking Ambrose at a tenacious pace and winging nonstop leather at him. Rickels again counters Ambrose's clinch with a knee downstairs but J.J. changes levels for a double leg.
Rickels wins the hand-fight and snakes on double underhooks with a closed guard to get the restart. Back on the feet, Rickels uncorks a cleaving body kick that drops Ambrose, then flies off the handle trying to finish. I don't even know what the hell happened because I can't keep up with the blinding pace, but Rickels ends up on his back somehow. Rickels controls the action from guard with a close triangle, then boots Ambrose off of him to continue the mauling on the feet, nearly hitting an anaconda choke as the bell sounds. 10-8 Rickels. It was dominant and one-sided.
R3: Rickels is a madman tonight. Fearless, he preys on Ambrose with explosive salvos while almost jogging after him. "Caveman" lands a nasty left hook to the body as Ambrose shoots, then goes from the front headlock to reverse triangle position, thudding beefy punches and elbows to Ambrose's exposed back and ribcage. Rickels, aided by having his back against the fence in reverse triangle mount, chops away with more unanswered blows until the ref shows mercy.
- David Rickels defeats J.J. Ambrose by TKO (body punches), Round 3
R1: Rosa wades forward throwing heaters and Zayats changes levels with his back on the fence and hits an outside trip with the body lock. Rosa never establishes guard and tries to scramble free but Zayats is already working on a far-side kimura. Zayats has the ideal posture and position to finish, and wrenches the hold to force the tapout.
- Mikhail Zayats defeats Aaron Rosa by submission (kimura), Round 1
Preliminary Card (streaming live on Bloody Elbow and Spike.com at 7:00 p.m. ET)
- Carlos Eduardo defeats Wayman Carter by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 1
- Remy Bussieres defeats Blake Pool by unanimous decision
- Maurice Jackson defeats Matt Uhde by TKO (ref stoppage), Round 1
- Donnie Bell defeats Marcio Navarro by submission (neck crank), Round 1
- Jeimeson Saudino defeats Jesse Thorton by split decision
- Ricky Musgrave defeats Cody Carillo by submission (kimura), Round 1