Bellator XXI is ready to begin. The atmosphere is a bit more lively than the quarterfinal matches a couple of months back, and this is because tonight we will see who the lightweight challenger to the title is.
Eddie Alvarez, the current Bellator champ, will either face Pat Curran or Toby Imada, and from the look of the fighters before the match, it looks like they're excited to see who will move up in the Bellator ladder.
Brian Eckstein (4-0-1) vs. Mitchell Chamale (2-0) - 135 lbs
Round 1: Chamale looked bad the first round. Eckstein dominated him on the ground, holding him in a body triangle for the latter half of the round.
Round 2: Eckstein takes Chamale down and immediately takes the top position. Eckstein missed a big kick, but this round stayed standing the majority of the time.
Now Eckstein is outboxing Chamale. The round ends.
Round 3: Now they're kickboxing. Chamale throws a karate kick of some kind, but he gets stunned and taken to the ground.
Eckstein beat Chamale on the ground for the majority of the round.
Eckstein wins by unanimous decision.
Chris Boffil (3-1) vs. Moyses Gabin (4-3) - 184 lbs
Round 1: Boffil strikes first, but both fighters are hesitant to engage each other. Gabin is circling a lot, but the fight goes to the ground.
Boffil has a potential guillotine choke. Now Gabin has a guillotine choke even deeper than Boffil's! Back to Boffil having a potential guillotine.
Gabin tripped Boffil and fell straight into full mount. Gabin surprisingly wins by rear naked choke at 4:41 of the first round.
Steve Banks (5-2) vs. Mike Hayes (21-3) - 265 lbs
This is one of a few Bellator heavyweight matches that help local fighters make names for themselves. Banks is 6'5", 262 lbs and Hayes is 6'4", 240 lbs.
These guys look ready to go at it for sure.
Round 1: Banks is slowly backing Hayes into the cage. Hayes, being the kickboxer, is striking Banks's legs while trying to stay out of clinch range.
Banks clinches Hayes, and he's not letting him go. Banks seems to have more power in his kicks. He slowly stalked Hayes the whole round.
Round 2: Banks takes control once again. Hayes unleashed a good combination. Banks blocked his punches...with his face.
Surprisingly, Hayes has been the steady aggressor in this match and he achieved full mount before the bell rang.
Round 3: Banks is showing his power once again, landing a couple of good kicks and punches. But Hayes has landed a few strikes of his own. The two clinch.
Both fighters are tired, but Hayes is really trying his best to land strikes. He seems to be the aggressor in this final round. The mount in the second round may make Hayes win this match.
The fight goes to the ground with Hayes in the top position again.
Hayes wins the fight by unanimous decision.
Megumi Fujii (19-0) vs. Sarah Schneider (4-4) - 120 lbs Catchweight
Fujii is the number one ranked female MMA fighter in the whole world. She has a lot of submissions under her belt, but no knockouts, and only a few of her fights have gone to decision.
Schneider also has submission experience, but nowhere near the experience level of Fujii. Still, though, Schneider does have a knockout on her record, something Fujii has yet to accomplish.
Round 1: Fujii is the aggressor, but Schneider pushed her off when she tried to clinch the first time. Fujii has gained the clinch and it's on the ground with Fujii on top.
Fujii slams Schneider while she's in her guard, but the ref stands them up.
Fujii took the fight to the ground and has gained full mount. Schneider managed to get it to side control and now full guard. Very impressive for Schneider.
Round one ends.
Round 2: The fight quickly goes to the ground. Fujii is in the top position, but Schneider seems to be working a rubber guard.
Schneider was doing well with the rubber guard, but Fujii pulled out of it and passed into half guard but went back into full. The ref stands them up, and Schneider is hanging in well.
Fujii takes her down again, though, and this time she's hammer fisting Schneider's temple. Not much is happening. The ref stands them up yet again.
Fujii is patiently picking Schneider apart, and the second round closes without much action. Schneider is pretty bloodied over her right eye.
Round 3: The fight quickly goes to the ground yet again. Fujii is on top, and Schneider seems to be a bit exhausted. Still, though, she's putting up great defense.
Fujii's in the mount now. Fujii's ground-and-pounding hard now. The ref stops it.
Fujii wins by TKO in 1:58 of round three.
Pat Curran (10-3) vs. Toby Imada (24-13) - 155 lbs Lightweight Finals
Curran and Imada are the two finalists for the Bellator lightweight tournament. The fighter who wins tonight will go on to face Eddie Alvarez in a fight for the Bellator lightweight championship.
Round 1: Curran and Imada are being very cautious, respecting each other's distance. Imada seems to be reserving his strikes for more power, and the two clinch.
After exchanging some knees, Imada takes it to the ground very briefly before Curran stood it back up.
This is mainly a clinch battle. Round one ends.
Round 2: Imada seems really focused on getting to fight Alvarez. He's patiently closing the gap and delivering high powered leg kicks and punches. They clinch yet again.
Imada is really explosive and very powerful. Curran seems to keep trying to catch up to Imada with his combinations.
Curran landed a few hard blows to Imada's legs and chin. He seems to have gotten into a better groove now, although the second round is nearly at an end.
Round two ends.
Round 3: Imada got hit hard at the beginning of the match, but he scored a big takedown. Still, the fight was close, but Imada seemed to be the aggressor on the whole.
Curran wins by split decision and goes on to face Eddie Alvarez in the lightweight championship.
Sabah Homasi (2-1) vs. Frank Carrillo (0-1) - 170 lbs
Round 1: Homasi is the aggressor at the start of the match. Carillo seems to be relying on slipping Homasi's punches, but the fight is getting closer to the clinch.
Carillo seems to be getting a bit more confident, and he's making Homasi back up slightly after a few quick exchanges. It's basically a boxing match right now.
Carillo was caught with a left hook and he's bleeding out of his right eye. The round ends without much action.
Round 2: Carillo takes the match to the ground after a minute or so of boxing. Homasi is up again and trying to keep the match standing.
Carillo slips two fast punches and once again takes the fight to the ground, although this time he's in the bottom position.
Carillo swept Homasi and is now in his half guard. Carillo is definitely winning this fight.
Round 3: This is a pretty intense fight for a local matchup. Carillo is great at slipping punches and sprawling. He's once again in the top position on the ground.
Homasi seems to be struggling a bit underneath Carillo. Carillo was working a keylock, but now he's beating Homasi senseless in side control. He's still looking for a submission.
If Carillo keeps up, this will end quickly by TKO.
Nasty elbows to Homasi's face while Carillo's in side control. The fight is stopped by the ref!
Carillo wins by TKO in 3:16 of the third round.
Zack Makovsky (8-2) vs. Eric Luke (5-2) - 137 lbs
Round 1: These guys are very strong wrestlers. Makovsky is on top, but Luke is working the rubber guard. Makovsky briefly takes side control but gets back in Luke's full guard.
Luke is scoring elbows while Makovsky is in rubber guard, but Makovsky is clearly the better wrestler, almost scoring full mount in one pass.
Makovsky passes Luke's guard and is in mount. After taking a big blow to the head, Luke bridges and bucks Makovsky off only to fall prey to a potential arm bar. Luke pulls out of it.
This is a great Jiu Jitsu and wrestling match. The round ends.
Round 2: Makovsky starts off with a strong leg kick. He does a great punch/takedown combination and lands in Luke's half guard.
Makovsky is in full mount, but he's back in guard. This is a great wrestling match. It looks like Makovsky is working an Imada-inspired inverted triangle!
Makovsky lands a deep Kimura, ending the match. Makovsky wins by Kimura in 4:28 of the second round.
Jose Figueroa (7-3) vs. Luis Palomino (12-5) 155 lbs
Round 1: Figueroa is using his reach advantage, even though Palomino is closing the distance. Palomino closes the distance quickly, making Figueroa his the mat.
This has the potential to be a quick fight since both guys are striking very powerfully.
Palomino seems to be a lot more eager to close the gap in the first round, and he's definitely the aggressor. Figueroa fell three or four times, partially on his own, so he may not seek those high kicks as much in round two.
Round two: Palomino is stalking Figueroa everywhere. He trips Figueroa for a takedown, but lands in the bottom position.
Palomino is losing in the bottom position and has had trouble for the majority of the round keeping his fire from the first round. The third round will prove interesting.
Round three: Palomino wants this to remain standing unless he can get a clean takedown. He's clearly taunting Figueroa, asking for him to open himself up with strikes, but time is ticking.
Palomino drops Figueroa twice with leg sweeps, but he doesn't want to follow him to the ground. Perhaps he's trying to score points.
A quick exchange of knees in the clinch and they're back to standing. Figueroa is using his reach, and Palomino seems to have trouble finding the right distance. The fight is on the ground again with Palomino in the bottom position.
Not looking good for Palomino on the bottom. The final round ends.
The winner is Palomino by unanimous decision.