UNCASVILLE, Conn. – For those who were hoping that Bellator's miniature four-man tournament would produce Muhammed Lawal and Quinton Jackson in the finals, you got your wish. And things escalated fast once the match became finalized.
In the main event, Jackson was slow to start in his second Bellator appearance, but once he caught Bellator's former light heavyweight champion Christian M'Pumbu with a "bungalow" it was over. Late in the first round, with M'Pumbu on the ground, Jackson landed a series of explosie right hands that left the French-Congolese fighter prone. Big John McCarthy's stoppage came at 4:34 of the first round.
With the victory, Jackson (34-11) moves to 2-0 in Bellator, while M'Pumbu (18-6-1) drops his third fight in a row, which includes his title-yielding performance a year ago to the day against current champion Attila Vegh.
"Listen, these guys, they think I'm finished? They think they're going to retire me? I took that personal," Jackson screamed into the microphone afterwards. "Bellator, you all don't know who you're messing with I'm a monster. I'm taking everybody out."
Meanwhile, in the co-main event, Muhammed Lawal was able to defeat Mikhail Zayats on the scorecards, though the fight was anything but easy. The bout started out with both guys finding their range, and throwing isolated shots. Lawal (12-3-1) went to his wrestling in the second round, but the Russian Zayats (22-8) was able to thwart his takedown attempts throughout, to the point that the stalemate began to frustrate the crowd on the Mohegan Sun.
The third round played out the same, with Lawal dictating the tempo, and Zayats fending off the single-leg. The judges scored it unanimously for Lawal (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), who will now take on TK in the light heavyweight finals.
As Bellator officials brought in "King Mo" to square off with Jackson, the two got into a heated exchange, requiring their respective factions to intervene and hold them back.
Saturday night also marked the beginning of the season 10 featherweight tournament, and Desmond Green punched his ticket into the semifinals with a unanimous decision victory over Minnesota's Mike Richman. Also advancing was Hartford's Matt Bessette, who put on a show for his hometown crowd. He won a split decision victory over the heavily favored Diego Nunes, formerly of the UFC.
Rounding out the featherweight semifinals field is Daniel Weichel, who choked out Scott Cleve, and Will Martinez, who won a unanimous decision over Goiti Yamauchi.