Bellator Fighting Championships made its return to “The Sunshine State” Friday night with the culmination of the Bellator Season 6 Welterweight Tournament as Karl Amoussou became the Bellator Season 6 Welterweight Champion, while Attila Vegh and Travis Wiuff will now face off at Bellator 73 to determine the Bellator Summer Series Light Heavyweight Tournament Championship. Also, Paul Daley and Marius Zaromskis picked up impressive victories at Bellator 72 in Tampa, Fla., from The USF Sun Dome.
“Travis Wiuff continues to amaze with another completely dominating performance, while Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley did exactly what we thought he would in his Bellator debut by delivering another brutal knockout,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. “My hat is off to Karl Amoussou, who came out as his usual explosive self and had everyone on their feet with a slick submission win. Amoussou vs. Askren is something I’m looking forward to, and should happen in short order.”
For Bellator welterweights Bryan “The Beast” Baker and Karl “Psycho” Amoussou, a win Friday night would not only earn them the Bellator Season 6 Welterweight Tournament Championship, but also $100,000 and a shot at Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren. After briefly exchanging on the feet, Amoussou (16-4-2) swept the leg of Baker (18-4) and rather than taking the back, latched on to the leg of “The Beast.” Baker immediately felt the pain of the inverted heel hook and tapped quickly to halt the bout at 0:56 of the first round.
“I’m really happy right now,” said an emotional Amoussou. “It’s been a lot of hard work, and I’m so happy to be at this point right now.”
When asked about his next challenge, reigning welterweight champion Ben Askren, Amoussou didn’t hesitate.
“Lay and prayer, it’s time for you to face the Psycho. I think Bellator needs a real exciting champion. Somebody is getting knocked out, and that somebody is going to be him.”
Entering the Bellator cage for the first time Friday night, vicious striker Paul “Semtex” Daley was looking to impress Bellator brass when he met six-time Bellator veteran Rudy Bears at the USF Sun Dome. While Bears (14-11) appeared to have some success early on, Daley (30-12-2) ultimately showed why he is considered one of the best knockout artists in MMA. After landing a series of brutal knees to the body of Bears, Daley unloaded with a barrage of punches until the referee was forced to stop the fight at 2:45 of the first round.
“Anybody who trades with me is getting knocked out. Much respect to Rudy Bears for stepping in here with me,” said Daley. “I’m looking to get in the tournament, and I’m going to win it.”
After choking out Zelg Galesic last month in the quarterfinals of the Bellator Summer Series Light Heavyweight Tournament, Attila Vegh was matched up with the toughest test of his career Friday night when he faced Emanuel Newton. Newton (18-7-1), was coming off a submission win of his own over Roy Boughton and looked to stop the momentum of “Pumukli.” The story throughout the fight was the aggressiveness of Newton and the counter striking of Vegh (27-4-2). For three close rounds, both men went blow for blow until a decision was rendered by the judges. Two of the three judges scored the fight in favor of Attila Vegh, who will now move on to the finals of the Bellator Summer Series Light Heavyweight Tournament.
“It was hard to train for the awkwardness he brings. The kicks were coming out of nowhere,” said Vegh. “However, I was confident wherever the fight went. I trained for 15 minutes.”
After earning a decisive victory over Chris Davis in the quarterfinals of the Bellator Summer Series Light Heavyweight Tournament, Travis “Diesel” Wiuff undoubtedly wanted to impose his will on Tim Carpenter when the two met Friday night in a semifinal matchup. For three rounds, Wiuff (68-14) controlled Carpenter (9-2), utilizing his takedowns and landing devastating strikes from the guard. After dominating for the entire fight, Travis Wiuff was awarded the unanimous decision victory.
After the fight, Wiuff had choice words for Bellator Light Heavyweight World Champion, Christian M’Pumbu.
“Christian, I’m coming for you,” said Wiuff. “It’s only a matter of time, Christian. Next time I beat you, I’m taking that belt.”
In the first fight of the evening, Bellator welterweights Waachiim Spiritwolf and Marius Zaromskis were looking to pick up where they left off in their previous contest and finally put a stamp on their epic trilogy. Throughout the fight, Zaromskis (18-6) was the aggressor, constantly moving forward and avoiding the power shots of Spiritwolf (9-11-1). Zaromskis also showed off his improved takedown defense every time Spiritwolf attempted to take the fight to the ground. After the completion of three rounds, two of the three judge’s cageside scored the fight in favor of Marius Zaromskis.