Bellator Fighting Championships made its first ever trip to Winsor, Ontario and they brought with them a stacked card that included Ben Askrenâ€™s dominant victory over Douglas Lima as well as a Featherweight Tournament Semifinal victory for Marlon Sandro. Additionally, Travis Marx and Hiroshi Nakamura became the first two to advance to the semifinal round of the Bellator Bantamweight Tournament Friday night at Bellator 64 from Caesars Windsor in Windsor, Ontario LIVE on MTV2 and in HD on EPIX.
In the main event of the evening, the Bellator Welterweight Title was on the line as defending champion Ben Askren faced off against Season 5 Welterweight Tournament Winner Douglas Lima. Quickly becoming a staple of Askren fights, the five rounds were dominated by the two-time National wrestling champion. Frustrated, Lima attempted submissions off his back but failed to overcome the grinding style of the U.S. Olympian. With â€œFunkyâ€ holding steady in the dominant position throughout the duration of the fight, the outcome was clear as the champion won every round on the judgesâ€™ scorecards.
â€œThis packed house at Caesars Windsor saw why Ben Askren is widely considered one of the best welterweights on the planet,â€ said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. â€œBen put on a display of complete dominance tonight, and will be a force in this division for a long time.
With the unanimous decision win, Ben Askren successfully defended the Bellator Welterweight Championship and moved his record to a perfect 10-0. Lima, defeated for the first time in over two years, fell to 21-5.
When it was announced that Marlon Sandro would face his fellow countryman â€œPopoâ€ Bezerra in the first semifinal fight of the Bellator Season 6 Featherweight Tournament, many fans circled April 6 on their calendars. Through the first two rounds of the contest, Sandro was constantly landing the inside low kicks while â€œPopoâ€ was looking to counter. Nevertheless, the third round saw a much different Bezerra. Sensing the end of the fight, â€œPopoâ€ aggressively pursued Sandro, landing solid strikes that moved Sandro backwards. However, it would not be enough as the bell to end the fight sounded, and Sandro was awarded the split-decision victory.
â€œThis guy is a tough guy. I came here to put on a good show for everybody,â€ an ecstatic Sandro said of the win.
With the split-decision victory, Sandro becomes the first entrant in the Bellator Season Six Featherweight Tournament Finals and improves his record to 22-3. â€œPopo,â€ who lost for just the second time in his career, tastes defeat for the first time since 2009.
For Bellator newcomers Travis Marx and Masakatsu Ueda, the opportunity to fight for a future bantamweight title fueled an outstanding back-and-forth affair that had the fans at Caesars Windsor on the edge of their seats. In the opening frame, Marx landed a huge slam that led to effective use of ground and pound while the striking seemed to favor Ueda, who was landing plenty of leg kicks. In the second, both fighters showed excellent grappling skills that had the Windsor crowd on their feet. Ueda landed more kicks to the body; however, Marx was more dominant on the ground. The action continued throughout the final round as both fighters attempted to out-grapple the other until the bell signaled the end of the fight. When the final scorecards from the judges were read, Travis Marx walked away with the hard-earned decision victory.
â€œI never perceived myself as the underdog from day one. I came out here wanting to win it, and thatâ€™s what I did,â€ said a satisfied Marx.
In the first quarterfinal fight of the Season 6 Bantamweight Tournament, undefeated Rodrigo Lima and his opponent, Hiroshi â€œIronâ€ Nakamura were both looking to send a message to the rest of the tournament field. In the first round, an aggressive Lima found himself on the mat early after a takedown from Nakamura. While still being active from the guard, Lima attempted submissions while Nakamura worked for a better position. After a one-point deduction in the second round for an illegal blow to the groin, Nakamura again scored a takedown and remained in the top position. Lima, comfortable off his back, attempted submissions and tried to get the finish. In the third, another Nakamura takedown led to much of the same. Both fighters were aggressive on the ground until the sound of the final bell. When the judgesâ€™ scorecards were read, all three scored the bout in favor of Hiroshi Nakamura.
â€œThis is my first time fighting in North America so I was feeling uncomfortable in the beginning,â€ Nakamura said. â€œBut Iâ€™m feeling very good about going to the second round.â€
With the unanimous decision win, Hiroshi Nakamura improved his record to 15-5 and advanced to the semifinals of the Bellator Season 6 Bantamweight Tournament. Lima, who lost for the first time in his career, fell to 10-1.
Bellator 65 will take place on April 13th from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City featuring the Bantamweight World Championship fight between Bellator Season 5 Bantamweight Tournament Winner Eduardo â€œDuduâ€ Dantas and reigning Bellator Bantamweight Champion Zach â€œFun Sizeâ€ Makovsky.