Bellator 49, which aired from Caesar's Atlantic City in Atlantic City, New Jersey last night (September 10, 2011) is officially in the books. The even marked the beginning of the Bellator season five welterweight tournament.
Headliners Brent Weedman and Chris Lozano absolutely earned their billing, coming out swinging from the first second. Weedman dropped Lozano inside the first 10 seconds and both men traded slams and hip tosses in a very exciting first round.
In the second, both men kept it standing and Weedman pressed forward but absolutely got lit up. Lozano landed knees, uppercuts, hooks and anything else he could think of but he could not put his durable opponent down. Despite being wobbled repeatedly, Weedman continued to wade forward through the buzzsaw of strikes as he tried to keep "The Cleveland Assassin" moving in reverse.
In the third, both men traded takedowns in a round spent primarily on the ground. Lozano remained on top longer and repeatedly kept Weedman beneath him despite the Louisville native's best efforts. When it was all said and done, all three judges decided with Chris Lozano to provide the Strong Style fighter the redemption he'd been so desperately seeking.
The other three main card bouts weren't nearly as exciting, but each fight had its moments:
UFC and Ultimate Fighter veteran Ben Saunders showcased his ground game for the first two rounds against Hawaiian kickboxer Chris Cisneros, passing to side control with ease, working some ground and pound and repeatedly attempting Kimuras, straight armbars and Americanas from side control but never threatening a stoppage.
Cisneros must have been lulled to sleep because when Saunders came out strong in round three, he had absolutely no answer. "Killa B" put Cisneros in a Muay Thai clinch and repeatedly landed knees to the face and body that forced the Hawaiian to crumple to the canvas. With his foe on the ground, Saunders swarmed him with nasty ground and pound to earn the stoppage less than 30 seconds into round three.
The much-hyped match-up between Dan Hornbuckle and Luis Santos turned out to be a bit of a dud as Hornbuckle could not get inside with his striking and repeatedly ate leg kicks from the very patient Brazilian. Santos took Hornbuckle down multiple times but didn't do anything other than wrap him up from top position until the bout was reset.
Despite promising to bring the black belt of intensity, Hornbuckle didn't really turn up the pressure until there were 30 seconds left in the fight and when he did, Santos jacked him with a right hand that had him on Queer Street. Santos fought for the finish but couldn't get it and was content with taking an easy decision 30-27 on all three judges' scorecards.
Steve Carl got off to a hot start in the opening bout of the night against top prospect Douglas Lima, dropping the former MFC welterweight champion with his first punch but he couldn't capitalize. In fact, his gameplan for the rest of the fight was very poor. Despite pressuring Lima and keeping the Brazilian on his heels, Carl would shoot in for takedowns and then flop to his back when he was stuffed. Because of this, he spent about 75% of the fight on his back and almost all of it was self-inflicted.
His repeated near guard-pulling ended up costing him as Lima remained on top, although he was unable to utilize his vaunted submission skills. In the end, Lima was awarded a unanimous decision and will advance to the tournament semifinals.
For complete Bellator 49 results and detailed round-by-round commentary of all the televised fights click here.
So what did you think of the main event Maniacs? Were you impressed? Or did you switch over to Strikeforce tonight?