Friday, September 27 2013 – Bellator 101 was a chance for Bellator MMA to feature its stars against some individuals who could garner mainstream MMA attention. During Friday’s fights each individual was successful as they defeated the three former UFC fighters who were brought in for this season. The lightweight tournament kicked off and the four winners who made it to the second round have created some interesting match-ups to keep an eye on.
At the top of the card, Bellator MMA star Joe Warren outclassed Nick Kirk for the entirety of their fight; finishing his opponent at the 3:03 mark of the second round.
Warren displayed his improved striking as he threw a variety of strikes, knees and kicks that kept Kirk off guard. Both individuals are wrestlers at heart and Warren was more effective in that area as well as he defended each attempt that was sent his way, while scoring take downs at will. When given the opportunity to lock in the arm bar that would finish the fight, he would do so after taking Kirk’s back in a variation to the move as it is normally seen.
With this win, Warren punched his name to the finals where he will face off against Travis Marx with a $100,000 prize and a shot at the Bellator 135 pound title on the line.
The lightweight tournament was also started during this event and a number of home grown talent shown through.
John Alessio was battered by Will Brooks for 15 minutes for Brooks to push his way to the semifinals of the tournament. Brooks was able to stuff every take down from the former UFC and WEC fighter while scoring his own. He opened up a nasty gash across Alessio’s face in the final round of the bout that left a large mark on the MMA veteran’s face.
Brooks’s next opponent was also in action as Saad Awad needed less than four minutes to make it through the first round of the tournament. He stopped Martin Stapleton via first round submission. Martin was very aggressive to start the fight and attempted a take down which gave Awad the opening to take his opponent’s back. A few moments after he coaxed the tap out and moved onto the next round where he will rematch against Brooks.
Rich Clementi may have been the more experienced fighter bu Ricardo Tirloni looked much more determined and polished during their fight. This was perhaps the most competitive of the lightweight contests but Triloni still walked out of the circle cage with a unanimous decision victory. He kept pressuring the former UFC lightweight around the cage and scored with multiple attacks to the body and the head.
Tirloni’s next opponent Alexander Sarnavskiy needed less than two minutes to put away Marcus Davis in the co-main event of the evening.
Alexander clipped Davis with a straight right that dropped him to the canvas before pouncing on him with additional shots. Davis tried to turn away, but gave up his back which allowed the Russian fighter to lock in the rear naked choke. Davis was left on the canvas, gazing up in amazement that he had been knocked from the tournament in such a quick manner.
With the semifinals of this season’s lightweight tournament and bantamweight tournament set, Bellator 101 could be considered a success. The home grown athletes looked great in comparison to those brought in from the UFC and Joe Warren looked dominant in his victory. The next phase of fights have yet to be announced but can be some very worthwhile fights to catch for the MMA community.