Eddie Alvarez finally got his revenge, and it was violent. Nearly four years after losing to DREAM lightweight champion Shinya Aoki, Alvarez dropped Aoki with a short right hand early in the first round at Bellator 66 on Friday night. Wary of Aoki's formidable guard game, Alvarez hesitated before leaping in and unloading an avalanche of unanswered shots that repeatedly bounced his opponent's head off the canvas.
Sensing their fighter was out, Aoki's corner threw in the towel but referee Jerry Krzys failed to see it. Alvarez's barrage continued for a few more brutal seconds before Krzys jumped in to stop the contest.
Afterward, Alvarez, who is currently in tenuous contract negotiations with Bellator officials, was blunt when asked what the win meant to him.
"It means Bjorn Rebney, show me the money," he elatedly declared. "Bjorn Rebney where you at? Show me the money."
In the night's co-main event, Andreas Spang stormed back from early trouble to flatten Brian Rogers with a spectacular highlight reel finish. A late replacement for Bruno Santos, Spang found himself in danger from the opening bell, eating a salvo of shots before turning his back and running to the fence. In hot pursuit, an over-eager Rogers slipped while throwing a high kick and Spang leaped in to lock-up a tight rear-naked choke.
Rogers valiantly fought off the submission attempt and recovered to land another volley of punches and flying knees on Spang, hunting for his second-straight sensational finish. Spang managed to survive the round, however he soon found himself back in trouble, as Rogers unloaded with lefts and rights from the opening bell of the second frame.
But it was Spang who ultimately found his mark, hurling a gigantic counter left hook out of nowhere to floor his opponent. Evoking the sprit of Dan Henderson, Spang landed one more flying shot to cap off the stunning comeback at 3:34 of round two, and pave his road to the Bellator season six middleweight tournament finals.
There he will meet former UFC veteran Maiquel Falcao, who snuck into the middleweight finals with a razor-thin decision victory over Vyacheslav Vasilevsky (29-28, x3). Falcao appeared to be overmatched early, falling victim to Vasilevsky's slick judo takedowns repeatedly throughout the first two rounds. However "Big Rig" ended the second frame on top, and used that momentum to climb back in the final five minutes, punctuating his win with a huge jab-cross combination that put Vasilevsky back on his heels.
Though, in a bizarre turn of events, Falcao and Spang's post-fight faceoff nearly erupted into a melee. Taking exception to a push from Spang, Falcao feigned a punch before winging a wild knee from inside the clinch. Bellator ringside commentator Jimmy Smith quickly jumped in and grabbed Falcao, separating the fighters before any more extra-circular activity could take place.
Rounding out the night, Brent Weedman edged Thiago Michel via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) to slip into the season six lightweight finals. A former welterweight, Weedman controlled the pace of a majority of the opening two rounds, working for takedowns and staying busy inside. Michel finally found his range in the third frame, opening a large mouse under Weedman's right eye, however it would be too little, too late.
Meeting Weedman in the tournament championship will be season four welterweight finalist Rick Hawn. Following a slow first round, the 35-year-old Hawn made a resounding statement against Lloyd Woodard, dropping "Cupcake" ten seconds into the second frame with a lunging right hook from inside the pocket. A few more unanswered shots from Hawn and referee Jerry Krzys called a stop to the contest.