Bellator Fighting Championships returned for round two on Spike TV last night (Jan. 24, 2013) with a welterweight title fight, the debut of King Mo and the kickstart of the season eight welterweight tournament.
While many have criticized Askren throughout his run as the unbeaten 10-0 king of the Bellator welterweight division due to his propensity to take fights the distance, he was out to send a message last night.
After handling Amoussou's initial first round burst, Askren took advantage of a slip by the Frenchman to take top position and ride out the round inside his guard, pounding away with right hands and occasional elbows. He even opened up a nice gash over "Psycho's" left eye near the end of the frame.
Amoussou had the "Funky" champ briefly in trouble at the beginning of the second round with a heel hook attempt that looked pretty deep, but again, Askren slipped free and proceeded to pound away. This time, he turned up the intensity and volume, really working towards trying to finish the judo practitioner, but every time the referee asked Amoussou to defend himself, he's move his hands and head away from blows.
The doctor nearly stopped the fight between rounds, and probably should have because the third was all Askren, blasting away with punches and elbows and turning Amoussou's face into a bloody mess. With Amoussou's cut getting worse and his left eye nearly completely swollen shut, the doctor finally put a stop to it after the end of the third round, handing Askren his first legitimate finish inside the Bellator cage.
Aftewards, the Funky champ called out his next challenger, Russian Andrey Koreshkov, saying "I must break you!" in his best Ivan Drago impression.
The debut of former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal was equally impressive. After promising a quick knockout against overmatched opponent Przemyslaw Mysiala, Lawal delivered. It started early with several jabs landing in succession to bloody up Mysiala's nose. After finding his range and gaining confidence, Lawal began to work his right hand, eventually throwing it heavy and knocking the European backwards on several occasions.
The finish to the fight was violent as Lawal landed a perfect right uppercut/hook hybrid that cracked Mysiala on the chin and sent him to the canvas. He was in no shape to continue and the ref mercifully put a stop to it in the first round.
In one of the more vicious finishes of the night, Douglas Lima went to work against tough Russian Michail Tsarev. There wasn't much action in the first round, but "The Phenom" landed a brutal leg kick in the last second which badly hurt Tsarev and had him hobbling to his corner.
Lima keyed on the injured leg, battering it with kicks in the second round and knocking the gritty Russian down with nearly every blow. The season five tournament winner would force Tsarev to stand back up each time before knocking him to the canvas with leg kicks so hard they made the fans in attendance wince.
Eventually, Tsarev was hopping on one leg and when he could barely stand after getting knocked down for about the fourth time, the referee finally put a halt to the contest and declared Lima the winner via TKO.
In the opening bout of the main card, Ben Saunders battled through a tougher than expected opponent in Koffi Adzitso, who gave him everything he could handle for 10 minutes before fading in the third. Saunders was forced to fend off takedowns for two straight rounds, occasionally mixing in his patented knees from the clinch and attacking with submission attempt after submission attempt whenever the fight hit the floor.
Saunders finally took control in the third round, taking top position and raining down punches for a significant portion of the round, but he couldn't put the scrappy fighter away, instead being content to leave the cage with a unanimous decision 30-27 across the boards.