Bellator 100 goes off tonight from the Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. The headliner is a long anticipated resolution to last season's Welterweight Tournament finals between Douglas Lima and Ben Saunders while the rest of the main card will unroll the opening round of this season's brackets.
Due to some last minute withdrawals, Rick Hawn, a former Olympic Judoka and welterweight contender who recently moved to lightweight, returns to the 170-pound division against ultra-scrappy Enson Inoue understudy Herman Terrado while the incomparable War Machine meets undefeated overseas prospect Vaughn Anderson. Bellator stalwart Brent Weedman meets recent WAR MMA rep Justin Baesman while AKA product Ron Keslar makes his promotional debut against the dancing and devastating Luta Livre practitioner Luis Melo.
Main Card (Spike TV at 9:00 p.m. ET)
Season 8 Welterweight Tournament Final
R1: Saunders looking to kick early and eventually wheels off a left high kick, then front kick. Lima answers with a right high kick of his own. Saunders almost gets caught with a straight right when loading up another kick. A low, mid, low kick combo from Saunders. Push kick from Lima, then a left hook that backs Saunders off. They clinch momentarily but neither are able to establish their knees. They separate and continue the frenetic kicking war. Saunders ducks behind his combo to initiate a clinch with Lima against the fence but can't capitalize.
Saunders just misses with another left high kick. Snapping right high kick answers from Lima. Lima finds the mark with a left; Saunders with a cracking inside low kick. Then another. Crisp right from Lima is partially blocked but his follow up kick thunders to the body. Lima counters Saunders' combo with a heavy leg kick that nearly steels the big man's footing. Lima checks Saunders next low kick so Saunders wisely goes higher and lands to the body. Stiff left from Lima. Close round -- I was thinking 10-10 but I do feel that Lima landed the cleaner and harder shots by a very tiny margin. 10-9 Lima.
R2: They trade kicks. We pause as Saunders isn't wearing his mouthpiece. Lima now stalking forward with more determined intent and gaining confidence in his punches. Saunders gets caught with a nasty uppercut while his hands are down, and the jackhammer drops him flat on his back. He recovers despite Lima's flurry of punches but his eye, which was already cut open in the first round, is both swollen and split open.
Saunders dives after a leg lock and can't get it, but it's good enough to force Lima to eject and we restart on the feet to the applause of the audience. Saunders' left eye is really looking rough; possibly a broken orbital. "Killa B" valiantly stays in the pocket and pumps jabs, pressing forward. Lima erupts with a poetically violent combination of a lunging left hook to the body and a right high kick that instantly separates Saunders from consciousness. An outrageously brutal finish.
- Douglas Lima defeats Ben Saunders by KO (high kick), Round 2.
Season 9 Welterweight Tournament Quarterfinals
R1: Anderson opens up with a kick and a left hook to the body but gets dumped with a double leg a half-minute in. War Machine almost jumps to side from full guard but settles for a high half guard. Anderson gets a knee in for half-butterfly and War Machine tries to jump pass into mount. Anderson cage walks and tries to take War Machine's back in the scramble but ends up back in guard.
War Machine, showing nice technique, passes to half and then goes right to side control. Anderson immediately hits a sweep and puts War Machine on his back but can't hold him there long. Anderson changes levels nicely and surprisingly nails a single leg. War Machine angles for an armbar but a cleaving left hand from Anderson changes his mind. Anderson stands up and gives War Machine enough room to do the same. Anderson dives on another weird single leg and War Machine sprawls and gets on top as the bell sounds. Back and forth round with neither really clearly distinguishing themselves. 10-10.
R2: War Machine nails a power double after a brief exchange on the feet and again looks to step over into half guard. He postures up and rains down a big right and then locks in the crucifix from side control and hammers a few unhindered lefts to Anderson's face, who's desperately trying to buck War Machine off. He finally does with a little persistence and War Machine slides into back mount on the transition, banging right hands off Anderson's melon with his left in choke position. The ploy works -- Anderson's distracted by the punches and War Machine cinches up the rear-naked choke, switching to a Gable grip to finish it off.
- War Machine defeats Vaughn Anderson by technical submission (rear-naked choke), Round 2
R1: They both trade fast-paced front kicks but McGeary eventually plants his feet and steers Tribolet back with a combo. McGeary wades forward with a double jab while measuring his steps and nearly beheads Tribolet with an overhand right, adding a little Joachim Hansen/Mark Hunt flavor with the walk-away KO.
- Liam McGeary defeats Beau Tribolet by KO (punch), Round 1
R1: Terrado hurls a haymaker after a tentative start on both sides and Hawn locks up an Olympic level clinch on the fence. Terrado does well in holding his balance and underhooking, then fires off short rights and a front kick when Hawn backs off. Terrado, normally a lunatic, is fighting uncharacteristically complacent. Oh, there we go: Terrado uncorks a massive right, charges forward with another kick and then dirty boxes when Hawn counter-clinches.
Now Hawn throws a front snap kick and continues to paw with his left hook, but commit to nothing. Terrado sits down on a vicious medley that backs Hawn up, who again counter-clinches to stem the tide. Hawn circles Terrado onto the fence and they trade left hands. Hawn tries to bump the hip and hit an outside trip but Terrado's balance is strong. Close round -- I'll go 10-9 Terrado for the more effective striking, as Hawn's only effective offense was clinch control.
R2: Leaping overhand right from Terrado, then another hopping kick followed by a nasty uppercut that just misses. Hawn lets a right go but Terrado stuffs two punches right back in his face. Now Hawn commits to a one-two to set up his clinch entry and settles for the 50/50 with Terrado's back on the cage. Terrado lands a knee to the body. Jimmy Smith credits Hawn's clinch control when Terrado is the more effective striker on the feet and negating Hawn's clinch control (which doesn't even score) with knees and dirty boxing.
Terrado uncorks another huge flurry that puts Hawn in retreat mode. A nice 3-punch combo from Hawn that partially lands. Hawn still pawing with his left hook and cornering Terrado. Left hook from Hawn and a straight right from Terrado. Hawn removes Terrado's footing with a sharp inside low kick and then attempts a standing back fist, which is kind of weird. Hawn gaining more confidence in his stand up and plants his feet with another combo to get in the clinch. Hawn hits a takedown seconds before the bell; Terrado's right back up. 10-9 Hawn as the clinch control is now accompanied by a better striking display from the Judoka, and Terrado landed nothing of note.
R3: Left, left and overhand right from Hawn. Another overhand right. Terrado's pace and overall sizzle have noticeably declined. Hawn faking with his jab and keeping the threat of his clinch attack on Terrado's mind. The jab flies loose from Hawn, who then plants on a classic 1-2-3 combo. Hawn is darting forward with his hands up to feint a clinch and then trying to sweep Terrado's lead foot out when he plants, but can't get it this time. Slick ploy though.
Terrado's punches have lost mustard and he even attempts a takedown. Hawn triples up his jab and Terrado almost loses his balance after winging another meatball. Hawn is as fresh as in the first round and just out-hustling Terrado with methodical kickboxing and clinching. Hawn's piston-like jab now dictating the range and pace. Terrado finally unrolls a stiff left just as the bell sounds and he and Hawn exchange some unfriendly words. 10-9 Hawn for a 29-28 his way by my tally.
- Rick Hawn defeats Herman Terrado by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x 2)
R1: Keslar comes out with a series of stiff and heavy straight rights. Sergio looks to fall on his back and accept Keslar into his guard, who answers with some mean hammer-fists. Sergio scrambles back to his feet but Keslar buries him on the fence and continues the heated pressure with dirty boxing and knees to the body. Brutal use of head position in the clinch from Keslar as he continues to bully the Brazilian. They battle for underhooks in the clinch and Sergio lands a well-timed knee on the break. Spinning wheel kick from Sergio whiffs. Keslar moves to clinch again but Sergio shakes him loose by spinning off with the single collar tie.10-9 Keslar.
R2: Keslar opens with a body kick that slips in under the armpit and then flattens Sergio with a thunderous right hand. The blow landing made a sickening thud as did Sergio's head off the canvas, but the Brazilian amazingly recovers and tries to scramble free. Keslar moves into back control and threatens with a rear-naked choke; Sergio boldly shrugs to the ref after with both arms in the air instead of fighting off the choke.
Keslar uses the half nelson to get his back off the fence and locks in the body triangle from back mount. Sergio is still waving both arms or throwing punches and elbows while Keslar holds the choke position, fighting it off with nothing but tucking his chin. Sergio can't escape the body triangle and Keslar isn't close to cinching the choke for the last minute or so. Crazy-ass round, that one. 10-8 Keslar.
R3: Sergio Jr. vaults out of his corner like a man down two rounds: he unloads a few strikes, clinches up with Keslar and jumps guard with an all-or-nothing guillotine attempt. Sergio holds it as tight as he can for almost a full minute, then bombs a flurry of hammer-fists to the exhausted Keslar's head. Keslar desperately goes from the turtle position to diving on a desperation single leg, all the while eating leather from Sergio. Sergio leans over and attempts an armbar and it's the risky move Keslar was waiting for; he explodes out of it and pounces on Sergio, taking his back again shortly after.
We return to the same back mount and body triangle as before, with Keslar having no luck with the choke and Sergio punching backwards instead of fighting out of the body triangle. 10-9 Sergio, as the guillotine and opening strikes were the most effective offense of the round. I have it 29-27 for Keslar.
- Ron Keslar defeats Luis "Sergio Jr." Melo by split decision (28-29, 29-28 x 2)
R1: They touch up and go to work on each other: Weedman wings a 3-piece combo and Baesman throws a front kick and counter left hook. Weedman clinches up and puts Baesman on the fence in the over-under. Weedman bangs a knee to the body and transitions quickly to a nice outside trip. Open guard for Baesman, who wisely gets strong wrist control on Weedman's right hand. Step-over pass from Weedman, who smoothly locks his legs in inverted triangle position and goes from 2-on-1 to a kimura attempt as Baesman tries to explode out.
Baesman tries to slip out of the pretzel he's in but Weedman, who's chaining submissions together brilliantly, switches to a straight armbar. It's deep and being wrenched but Baesman is able to clasp his hands together and power out. Weedman compensates for Baesman's new angle and drops back into another armbar, and a gritty battle of wills ensues. Weedman rolls with the final escape attempt and goes belly down with the hold, causing Baesman to tap. An admirable display of heart and cojones from Baesman in fighting off the sub.
- Brent Weedman defeats Justin Baesman by submission (armbar), Round1
Preliminary Card (streaming live on Bloody Elbow at est. 6:00 p.m. ET)