For the first time since 2010, Bellator MMA crowns a new welterweight champion. Bellator 117 takes place at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa and the main event featured a vacant welterweight title fight between the Season 8 welterweight tournament winner, Douglas Lima and Rick Hawn, the Season 9 welterweight tournament winner.
Douglas Lima crowned new Bellator Welterweight Champion
The Bellator welterweight title was vacated after long-time reigning champion, Ben Askren left the promotion at the end of 2013. Tonight, the belt found a new home around the waist of Douglas Lima.
Douglas Lima (25-5) vs Rick Hawn (18-2) both fighters who possess one-punch knockout power in their hands and in Lima’s case, feet as well. Lima had won his last 6 fights via knockout or TKO, turning himself into a knockout artist.
Douglas Lima came out in his usual stalking stance, walking down the smaller Rick Hawn. With both fighters feeling each other out in the early minutes, very few strikes were being thrown. Lima threw and landed a few leg kicks, which Hawn did not check. A 3rd leg kick buckled the knee of Hawn and caused him to go down. Hawn would get back up to his feet, but would be dropped by a 4th leg kick from Lima, and came close to ending the fight as Lima would swarm on him with punches. Hawn saved by the bell at the end of round 1.
Lima finished what he started in round 2, continuing to punish the led left leg of Rick Hawn with devastating leg kicks. Dropping Hawn a total of 4 times in the round–each with a leg kick, after the 4th, the referee asked Hawn’s corner if they wanted to stop the fight, and Hawn’s coach Firas Zahabi, deciding his fighter had taken enough punishment, threw in the towel.
Douglas Lima was crowned the new Bellator welterweight champion with a 2nd round TKO victory.
“I know how dangerous Rick is, that’s why I wasn’t rushing in trying to finish. I respect him a lot, he’s a respectful guy,” Lima said. “But this is my night, it’s been a long long road, and I realized my dreams tonight.”
In addition to the title fight, the lightweight tournament semifinals between Derek Campos vs Patricky Freire and Derek Anderson vs Marcin Held, took place as part of the Spike TV portion of the card. The two finalists emerged and will now compete for the next lightweight title shot–which comes after Will Brooks.
Marcin Held advances to 2nd straight Bellator tournament finals
Marcin Held (17-3) took on the undefeated Derek Anderson (11-0, 1 NC) in the 2nd lightweight tournament final. After securing his first submission in Bellator that was not a leg lock, Marcin Held handed Derek Anderson his first career loss, and booked his ticket to the lightweight tournament finals in his 2nd consecutive tournament.
The leglock specialist Held, got a hold of Anderson’s legs early and turned it into a takedown. After spending time in half-guard, Held sat back and attempted his trademark heel hook, but this allowed Anderson to defend and get on top. Anderson delivered ground and pound from top position before Held found a way to sweep and regain the position. Held went for another leg lock attempt to end the round.
Anderson came out intelligently in the 2nd round, using his reach and jab to keep the fight standing and avoiding the ground game with Held. But Held would fall to his back inviting Anderson to his guard, Anderson made the mistake of going to the mat with Held a second time. As Held slapped a triangle choke on and a few adjustments later had Anderson tapping out.
“I feel good, I tried to leg lock this time, but it doesn’t work, so like I said before, I don’t [always] trust the leg lock, I have good jiu-jitsu, I can submit other ways also,” Held said.
“I like him he’s a really good man and really good opponent, he have a big heart,” Held said of his upcoming opponent Patricky “Pitbull”. “Probably the toughest fight in my career.”
Psycho back in the win column with a victory over Gomez
The former Bellator welterweight tournament winner, Karl Amoussou (16-6-2) snapped a 2-fight losing streak and earned his first victory since 2012, earning a close decision over the debuting David Gomez (16-7).
Both fighters came out cautious, wary of each others’ power in the stand up. Amoussou began opening up midway through the first, throwing and landing combinations. On the other hand, Gomez was looking to land one big hook the whole time, he was successful in landing one that brushed Amoussou back. But Amoussou’s volume controlled the round, while avoid the big shots.
Amoussou looked to switch things up in the 2nd round, landing a takedown and going for a heel hook attempt, which Gomez would easily escape. ‘Psycho’ continued to go for the takedown in the round, in between some wild exchanges on the feet. Gomez would defend all further takedown attempts, resulting in a clinch position with Amoussou, this allowed allowed Gomez to out strike his 28-15 opponent in a close round.
Amoussou once again used his striking to close the distance in round 3, to allow himself to clinch with Gomez. The 3rd was fought at a much closer range, Amoussou kept Gomez’s back against the fence with his constant pressure and landed strikes inside the clinch and during brief separations.
A Pitbull 2nd round come back earns a spot in the finals
Derek Campos (14-5) vs. Patricky “Pitbull” Freire (12-5) fought in the first lightweight tournament semifinal, with both fighters coming out looking to be the aggressor in the fight. Campos was able to use his jab and cross to pressure to continually push Freire backwards. While Pitbull looked for that one shot knockout, Campos out struck Freire 36-10 in the first round.
The tide quickly turned in round 2, as Patricky Pitbull knocked down Campos with a double jab, and swarmed on his hurt opponent. Campos got back up, only to be greeted with a huge right hand for a 2nd knockdown. Pitbull finished the fight by landing strikes in back mount and advancing to the finals.
“I’m here to make history in the Bellator lightweight division, and be recognized as the best, be a champion in Bellator,” Freire said post-fight.
Former RFA prospect Jared Downing (9-4) came up short in search of his first Bellator victory, losing his third fight in the promotion, as he was defeated by Martin Brown (4-2). Downing used his pressure and wrestling to force Brown against the fence before landing his takedowns early on. Brown would be crafty on the ground, looking to scramble and throw up submissions forcing Downing to defend. Brown would land a couple takedowns later on in the fight, and was much more active on top when he did, landing ground and pound. And Brown would neutralize the takedown attempts of Downing in the 3rd, to secure the decision.
LaRue Burley (3-0) comes off a massive upset over prospect Bubba Jenkins in his last fight, took on Cliff Wright Jr. (8-5). Burley was able to get the takedown but was then forced to deal with the active guard of Wright, constantly threatening with armbars and triangle choke attempts. But Burley was able to remain patient and defend the submission attempts, eventually leading to Wright becoming increasingly more exhausted. LaRue Burley had more gas in the tank come round 3, as he began to unload on Wright Jr. on the feet with big shots–and ended the round in mount landing ground and pound. LaRue Burley would take the decision to remain undefeated.
Joe Vedepo (14-8) snapped a 3 fight losing streak, against Ben Crowder (10-11) but under very unfortunate circumstances as Vedepo shot for a takedown and Ben Crowder immediately grabbed his leg screaming in absolute pain. The takedown forced his right leg to be contorted in opposite directions with his heel going one way, and his knee the other.
Victor Moreno (32-19) took on former Strikeforce and UFC veteran Anthony Smith (17-11). Smith continued to pressure Moreno, pushing forward and landing strikes first, using his longer reach to tag his opponent with punches and kicks. Moreno rushed in and got a takedown to begin round 2, but would quickly get caught in a triangle choke as Anthony Smith secured it for the tap.
At just 19 years old, Julio Cesar Neves Jr. made his Bellator debut with a 28-0 undefeated record, and took on Josh Arocho (13-12). Neves was able to use his grappling to takedown his opponent and remain on top. Neves poured it on in the 2nd round in the half-guard, dropping huge elbows and punches that ended up halting the fight via TKO.
23 year old Jordan Parsons improved to 10-1 using his wrestling and top game to overwhelm Tim Bazer (14-15) in round 1, before laying him out with a jab-right hook combination to begin round 2 for the knockout.
Full Bellator 117 Results:
MAIN CARD (9 PM EST, Spike TV)
Vacant Welterweight Title: Douglas Lima def. Rick Hawn via TKO (corner stoppage)–Round 2, 3:19
Lightweight Tournament Semifinal: Marcin Held def. Derek Anderson via Submission (triangle choke)–Round 2, 3:09
Karl Amoussou def. David Gomez via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Lightweight Tournament Semifinal: Patricky Freire def. Derek Campos via TKO (punches)–Round 2, 0:52
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com 1, 7 p.m. ET)
Houston Alexander def. Matt Uhde via TKO (doctor stoppage)–Round 2, 5:00
175lb catchweight: Ryan Jensen def. Mark Stoddard via Submission (arm triangle choke)–Round 1, 3:52
Martin Brown def. Jared Downing via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Larue Burley def. Cliff Wright Jr. via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-27)
Joe Vedepo def. Ben Crowder via Verbal Submission (injury)–Round 1, 0:48
Anthony Smith def. Victor Moreno via Submission (triangle choke)–Round 2, 0:59
150lb catchweight: Julio Cesar Neves def. Josh Arocho via TKO (ground and pound)–Round 2, 2:37
Jordan Parsons def. Tim Bazer via Knockout (punch)–Round 2, 0:04
Tags: Anthony Smith Bellator 117 Bellator MMA Ben Crowder Cliff Wright Jr David Gomez Derek Anderson Derek Campos Douglas Lima Featured Houston Alexander Jared Downing Joe Vedepo Jordan Parsons Josh Arocho Julio Cesar Neves Karl Amoussou Larue Bruley Marcin Held Mark Stoddard Martin Trey Brown Matt Uhde MMA Patricky Freire Popular Rick Hawn Ryan Jensen Tim Bazer Victor Moreno