Bellator 94: Newton vs. Zayats results from Tampa, Florida

March 29, 2013


Bellator 94: Newton vs. Zayats results from Tampa, Florida

John Boldrick – Bellator fans were lucky on Thursday night, as they were treated to the crowning of not one but two tournament champions. Each winner received a cheque for $100,000 but more importantly will also get a future shot at the promotions champions.

Regular fans of Bellator may recall that last week’s event featured an astounding number of first round finishes. The results gained mixed feedback from fans. Some loved the exciting nature of the fights while others grumbled at the abruptness fights ended. Thursday’s card featured fights that went beyond the opening round, but still managed to be exciting.

In the light heavyweight tournament final, it was a battle of two unorthodox strikers with strong submission games. The fighters had also knocked off the biggest names in the tourney. Emanuel Newton and Mikhail Zayats.

The first round saw their striker side on display as each traded some traditional shots to go along with their own brand of offense. Each was able to tag the other. Newton was able to score a couple takedowns, although one was eventually turned into a guillotine. The round saw a little bit of everything from the skilled combatants.

Round two saw the addition of more kicks to the mix. With addition came subtraction, as the fighters didn’t go to the ground until the last second. The round saw Zayats start to bleed, but also saw him work angles better and start to really get his striking going. The right hand was especially sharp.

The stand and trade continued in the third, until Newton dropped Zayats with a punch. He immediately followed it up with a rear naked choke attempt, but Zayats got back up quickly. Newton completed a takedown with 15 seconds left to seemingly seal the fight, although a late armbar attempt was interesting. Newton took the unanimous decision win, 29-28 across the scorecards. He gets a shot at champion Attila Vegh in what will be a rematch of their Bellator 72 bout. Vegh won a split decision that night en route to winning a tournament and eventually the title.

Coming into this lightweight tournament final, David Rickels hadn’t been finished in 14 career fights. His opponent, Saad Awad, had knocked out his two previous opponents in less than one minute each. Something had to give here. Awad may not have gotten the quick KO, but was on his way to what looked like a decision victory. However nothing is certain when you’re fighting a man whose entourage includes a giant mechanical dinosaur.

Things got off to a quick start, as both fighters stood toe to toe and exchanged some quick shots. Eventually, Awad chose to take the fight down, where he would deliver some hard blows. Rickels was able to get back to a vertical base, but Awad once again dragged him down.

The majority of round two was spent with Awad on top until about 20 seconds left. Rickels made his way up and the two exchanged shots, with Rickels getting the better of his opponent. Rickels dropped Awad with a shot as the bell sounded to end the round and the ref stepped in to stop the action. He then ended the bout, as Awad had not gotten up, but may have been resting. Announcer Jimmy Smith immediately questioned the stoppage. The win gives Rickels the tournament crown and a future shot at the champion.

While Trey Houston may have had more Bellator fights than his opponent, Luis Melo had the edge in total fights by over a 3-1 margin. On this night, home cooking was not a factor.

The two started at a frenetic pace, with Melo looking strong in the clinch.  After a brief moment on the ground, Melo delivered an absolutely devastating blow to Houston. Sadly, it was a kick below the belt. The kick even triggered Houston to call out “no mas” to his foe. The rest of the round was spent with Melo on top delivering shots, although Houston looked good in the brief moments the fight returned to the feet.

A different Houston came out in round two, landing some big shots sending Melo to the mat. Once back on the feet, Melo found some success with punches before getting a takedown. He landed a flurry of shots, one being a soccer kick to the body. He spent the last half of the round in control on the ground, making it a difficult round to score.

In the third round, Melo used his obvious ground advantage to seal the deal. He used an arm triangle to coax the tap from his opponent a little over a minute into the round. With the win, Melo wins his first fight on US soil and also gets a spot in the next welterweight tournament.

In Ronnie Mann’s bantamweight debut, he had the chance to qualify for a future tournament with a win.  It would be a chance for a fresh start after Mann had been bounced from two tourneys at featherweight. Rodrigo Lima saw things differently.

The first round started off slowly, with both fighters trading jabs and leg kicks. Early on, Mann looked to have adjusted to his new division well, but as time wore on, a notable quickness advantage formed for Lima. He connected with a huge left with a little over two minutes left in the round to send Mann to the mat. Mann was able to recover, but Lima clearly won the round thanks in part to his speed.

The second stanza saw more of the same, with not much changing until the last round, which was spent on the floor after taken there after Lima attempt a guillotine. The choke wasn’t there, although Lima was able to get top position. After standing up, Mann threw a big shot that ended with him in a triangle. Yet again the choke wasn’t there, although a number of blows from the bottom were. Lima took home the unanimous win and enters this summer’s bantamweight tournament.

Main Card

–          Emanuel Newton def. Mikhail Zayats via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)

–          David Rickels def. Saad Awad via TKO (round 2)

–          Luis Melo def. Trey Houston via submission (arm triangle choke, round 3)

–          Rodrigo Lima def. Ronnie Mann via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)


Preliminary Card

–          Julien  Williams def. Kenny Moss via guillotine choke (Round 1)

–          Augusto Sakai  def. Rob Horton via TKO (round 2)

–          Jessica Aguilar def. Patricia Vidonic via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

–          Joe Taimanglo def. Ronnie Rogers via submission (north-south choke, round 1)

–          Edson Berto def. Bruno Carvalho via Submission (heel hook, round 1)

–          Patrick Cenoble versus Tony Fryklund ruled a split draw (29-27, 27-29, 28-28)

–          Felice Herrig def. Heather Clark via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)


Follow John Boldrick on Twitter @JohnBJournalism



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