Ben Askren vs. Karl Amoussou
Dominant and suffocating. Probably the two best adjectives to describe Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren, and he was once again both things in his title defense against Karl Amoussou to cap off Bellator on Thursday night.
Continuing his growth as a fighter, former Olympian Ben Askren showed off some new ground and pound technique after taking Amoussou down early, and then punishing him brutally for the next 15 minutes.
As the time ticked away, so did Amoussou’s chance at victory. The only moment he seemed to have the upper hand was when he attempted an inverted heel hook in the second round, but that advantage was short lived.
For the rest of the fight, Askren was on top, popping Amoussou with shot after shot after shot, bloodying the American Top Team fighter and closing his left eye in the process. The damage was too much between rounds, and before the 4th round could start the doctors called a stop to the fight.
It was by far one of the most impressive performances in Ben Askren’s 11 fight MMA career, and definitely showcased his rapid improvements over the last year.
Next up in Askren’s career will be a showdown with last season’s welterweight tournament winner, Russian and fellow undefeated fighter Andrey Koreshkov. Askren’s message to his next opponent gets him an A+ for Rocky IV references.
“I’ve got a Russian to deal with and I will break you,” warned Askren.
While he doesn’t get the same kind of attention as many of the welterweights in the UFC, Askren’s style may not be flashy, but it is undeniably effective. He looks forward to proving that to anyone and everyone in the sport.
“If you’re a welterweight anywhere in the world, watch out,” said Askren. “I’m coming.”
“King Mo” Lawal vs. Przemyslaw Mysiala
It had been more than a year plus a whole lot of knee surgery since former Strikeforce champion Muhammed “King Mo’ Lawal stepped foot in a cage or a ring, and he finally did so for the first time ever for Bellator on Thursday night.
Challenging Lawal was relative unknown Przemyslaw Mysiala, and if you’re asking yourself who he is, the oddsmakers that had him as a 25 to 1 underdog were probably wondering the same thing. To train for his Bellator debut, Lawal had worked extensively at Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas to sharpen up his boxing skills, and it paid off.
Lawal pawed at Mysiala like a lion toying with a gazelle before dinner, popping him with jabs at will, and bloodying his nose early in the round. The jab was set up perfectly for Lawal who then unloaded a quick right hook that cracked Mysiala on the jaw, sending him to the mat and ending the fight in dramatic fashion.
“I don’t even have no strategy, my goal was to come out and knock him out,” Lawal said after the fight.
Now moving on in the Bellator light heavyweight tournament, Lawal will next face former MFC fighter Emanuel Newton in the next round, and if you’re curious what his strategy will be for that fight, the king didn’t mind sharing his secret.
“I’m going to knock them out, that’s what I’m going to do,” Lawal stated.
Douglas Lima vs. Michail Tsarev
Don’t let anyone tell you that leg kicks don’t finish fights (yes, we’re looking right at you Cecil Peoples) because Michail Tsarev can definitely attest to their effectiveness.
The Russian found that out the hard way courtesy of former Bellator title challenger Douglas Lima, who absolutely punished his opponent’s lead left leg throughout the round and a half of their bout.
Lima targeted the leg and continued to unload devastating shots throughout the fight, and in the 2nd round, Tsarev could barely stand and hit the mat every time the Brazilian unloaded another kick. Mercifully after Tsarev could barely stand after a leg kick, the referee stepped in to stop the carnage and declare Douglas Lima the winner.
Lima moves on to the semifinals of the Bellator welterweight tournament, hoping to earn another crack at champion Ben Askren down the road.
Ben Saunders vs. Koffie Adzitso
Ben Saunders looks to make the most of his third entry into the Bellator welterweight tournament, and he kicked it off in the right with a win over newcomer Koffie Adzitso.
Saunders put together a workman like performance with good ground control mixed with quick strikes on the feet to dominate Adzitso for the better part of all 15-minutes. While not the most exciting performance in the world, Saunders sets the stage to hopefully make it back to the finals of a Bellator welterweight tournament, and then get an elusive title shot later this year.
The other Bellator welterweight tournament bouts also took place on Thursday as Brent Weedman defeated former DREAM champion Marius Zaromskis by decision, while Raul Amaya picked up a TKO victory over Jose Gomes.