Chris Lozano, Ben Saunders
, Luis Santos
and Douglas Lima all won and advanced to the semifinals of Bellator
's welterweight tournament as Bellator began its fifth season on Saturday night.
In the main event, Lozano and Brent Weedman fought almost evenly for 15 minutes, but in the end all three judges scored it 29-28 for Lozano. In his post-fight interview, Lozano was quick to praise his opponent. "Brent Weedman is one bad MF-er," Lozano said afterward. "Brent, that was a war, baby."
Saunders looked outstanding in beating Chris Cisneros by third-round TKO. Saunders was dominating throughout the fight, but at the start of the third round he came out like a guy who needed a finish: He exploded on Cisneros, kneed him in the face with a Thai clinch and then finished him off with punches on the ground, just 29 seconds after the third round started. It was a great showing from Saunders.
Santos beat Dan Hornbuckle with an easy unanimous decision, 30-27 on all three judges' scorecards. This was the 50th career victory for Santos, who has mostly fought on small shows in Brazil before signing with Bellator. Hornbuckle has now lost in the first round of two straight Bellator welterweight tournaments, and it may be time for him to ply his trade elsewhere.
Lima beat Steve Carl by unanimous decision, 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 on the judges' scorecards. It was the Bellator debut for Lima, the Maximum Fighting Championships welterweight champion, and he said afterward that he expects Bellator to give him his biggest challenges to date. "A lot of these guys are really tough. There are no easy fights," Lima said.
The undercard was streamed on Spike.com, as part of a new deal between the network and the promotion. Although the stream only attracted a few thousand viewers, it was a good show, highlighted by a fantastic fight between Joel Roberts and Brylan Van Artsdalen, with Roberts winning by submission with a triangle choke in the second round.