Bellator 91 took place at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, N.M. on Thursday night, featuring the Bellator light heavyweight championship between Christian M’Pumbu and Attila Vegh, as well as the semifinal round of the Season 8 Lightweight Tournament.
Try as he might, Christian M’Pumbu was not able to keep the Bellator light heavyweight championship on Thursday night.
Attila Vegh dropped M’Pumbu with a right hand in the opening minutes of the first round. M’Pumbu did a good job recovering, but couldn’t sustain his offensive efforts. Every time he gained any momentum, Vegh shut him down.
Vegh remained the aggressor on the feet throughout the fight, constantly walking M’Pumbu down and landing the bigger blows.
The fight went to the canvas on several occasions, but it was typically because of Vegh’s attacks, not M’Pumbu’s takedown attempts, which Vegh mostly stopped. When the fight did hit the mat, M’Pumbu was active in going after submissions, but Vegh defended well and made M’Pumbu pay for the attempts with a heavy handed ground and pound attack.
M’Pumbu tried to step up his pace and aggressiveness in round five, but it was too little, too late, Vegh walking out of the cage with the win and the belt.
Saad Awad may not have been the favorite over Will Brooks, but he was the clear winner.
As the two came together in the center of the cage, Brooks trying to clinch, Awad used a series of short uppercuts and an overhand right to stagger Brooks in the opening minute.
He continued firing away. Brooks dropped to try for a takedown, but Awad kept hammering away to the side of his head. Brooks regained his feet momentarily, but Awad sent him reeling back down to the canvas and finished with a couple heavy hands before the referee stopped the fight.
Awad was extremely emotional following the victory that put him in the lightweight tournament final, barely able to get any words out, other than thanking his family and camp.
David Rickels earned his pass to the lightweight finals to face Saad Awad by dominating Jason Fischer.
From bell-to-bell, Rickels was the aggressor, using his size and power to bully Fischer around the cage.
Rickels battered Fischer on the feet with his power, continually pressing forward and mixing a variety of strikes into his attack. When he wasn’t striking, Rickels scored with takedowns, using a combination of brutal ground and pound and submission attempts to constantly keep Fischer on the defensive.
He couldn’t put Fischer away, however, taking it to the judges, who awarded Rickels a unanimous decision victory.
Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship:
-Attila Vegh def. Christian M’Pumbu by Unanimous Decision (48-47, 49-46, 50-45)
Lightweight Tournament Semifinals:
-Saad Awad def. Will Brooks by KO (Punches) at 0:43, R1
-David Rickels def. Jason Fischer by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Preliminary Bout Results:
-Holly Holm def. Katie Merrill by TKO (Strikes) at 3:02, R2
-Blas Avena def. Lenny Lovato Jr. by TKO (Strikes) at 1:40, R1
-Andres Quintana def. Russell Wilson by TKO (Strikes) at 0:32, R3
-Ed West def. Josh Montoya by KO (Head Kick) at 2:51, R2
-Adrian Cruz def. Nick Gonzalez by Submission (Scarf Hold Armlock) at 3:00, R2
-Josh Appelt def. Josh Lanier by TKO (Strikes) at 0:16, R2
-Brennan Ward def. Yair Moguel by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 0:57, R1
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