Bellator 86 Superlatives: Best from the Entire Fight Card
Bellator MMA was back on Spike TV Thursday with a Ben Askren title fight, Muhammed Lawal's promotional debut and the opening round of a welterweight tournament.
Askren, as usual, was dominant on the ground. The Bellator welterweight champion pounded on Karl Amoussou for three rounds until the ringside doctors were forced to stop the fight due to cuts and swelling around Amoussou's left eye.
Meanwhile, Lawal also glided to victory in a mismatch against Przemyslaw Mysiala. "King Mo" was patient early on until landing a huge right-uppercut later in the first round.
In the welterweight quarterfinals, Douglas Lima, Ben Saunders, Brent Weedman and Raul Amaya all won and moved one more victory away from the tournament final.
With another solid Bellator MMA event in the books, let's take a look back at the best from the night that was.
Fighter of the Event: Ben Askren
Having won his previous six fights by decision, Ben Askren was taking plenty of heat for his finishing ability heading into Bellator 86.
Although it won't be in the running for fight of the year at the end of 2013, Askren's fight with Karl Amoussou was entertaining.
Askren was very active from the top position, chipping away at Amoussou until the challenger's face was bloody and swollen. It might not have resulted it a spectacular finish, but Askren once again kept his belt with a dominant win, and that's what really matters in the end.
Fight of the Event: Cortez Coleman vs. Matt Jones
A matchup between Cortez Coleman and Matt Jones was one of only three bouts on the Bellator 86 fight card to go to a decision, but that doesn't mean it lacked action.
The middleweights slugged it out for three rounds, blasting one another with power punches from start to finish.
Coleman gained a clear edge on the scorecards with a dominant second round, but Jones somehow survived the beating he took in that frame to come back strong in the third round. Though his late surge was too little too late, Jones' toughness and Coleman's aggression made this fight the best of the night.
Knockout of the Event: Douglas Lima
Muhammed Lawal's uppercut knockout in the co-main event was exciting to watch, but it's a finish we see somewhat often and came against a vastly outgunned opponent.
Earlier in the night, Douglas Lima stopped his opponent in much more unique fashion.
Leg kicks are an extremely effective tool in MMA, but they rarely finish high-level fights. At Bellator 86, Lima completely destroyed Michail Tsarev's left leg with only a handful of kicks.
The fight was stopped when Tsarev was unable to put any weight on his lead leg, and Lima moved onto the welterweight semifinals, where he will meet Ben Saunders.
Submission of the Event: Jason Sampson
Of the Bellator 86 fights not involved in title fights or tournaments, Jason Sampson impressed the most.
Sampson had his way with opponent Chris Pham on the ground, spending almost the entirety of the fight in dominant positions. However, he was finding it difficult to secure the submission that would add an exclamation point to his inevitable win.
With only five seconds left in the bout, Sampson was finally able to get the finish he was looking for by chaining submission attempts together and ultimately locking up and arm bar to force Pham to tap.