Bellator 39: Alvarez Retains Title, Hawn and Freire Advance, Saunders Shines

Todd JacksonSenior Analyst IJanuary 20, 2017

Somewhere out there, Bjorn Rebney is smiling. The man and his Bellator Fighting Championships may be the last left in the Royal Rumble with the UFC, but his show is putting up a great fight.

Over the years, Bellator has collected an amazing string of stellar performances, highlight-reel finishes, and amazing battles. And the hits just keep on coming as was the case Saturday at Bellator 39.

Starting the night off was Ben Saunders and Matt Lee. Saunders, a former UFC competitor, absolutely dominated Lee in a brutal display of superiority. Saunders opened up multiple lacerations on the face of Lee with repeated strikes.

Lee showed tremendous heart and a scrappy disposition hanging tough through the deep waters with Saunders, but eventually the cage-side doctor had seen enough and called an end to the fight in the third. Lee had simply absorbed too much damage. While his heart was strong, his body had endured too much.

American Top Team's Ben Saunders sent a strong message to the Bellator field—the Killa B has arrived.

Then a man who has almost become one of the poster boys for Bellator, with his amazing highlight-reel inverted triangle, found himself involved in another replay-type finish. But this time is wasn't Toby Imada dealing the finish—he found himself on the business end of it.

Patricky Freire launched himself off the canvas, landing a devastating flying knee to the head of Imada, rocking him very badly. Imada was out on his feet, desperately clinging to a few threads of consciousness, as Freire went on to finish him with ease dropping him and earning a brutal KO victory. He also earned his spot as a lightweight tournament finalist.

Then former Bellator Welterweight Champion, Lyman Good, looked to take one step closer to challenging for his former title, as he squared off with former Olympic Judoka Rick Hawn.

In a fight that saw momentum repeatedly slide one way, then the other, these two guys showed a lot of talent as they struggled to gain the upper hand. Each athlete showed flashes of superiority, only to see the other man steal it over the three-round tilt.

Such was apparent when the judges awarded a split decision to Rick Hawn. In an extremely close battle, Hawn wound up getting the nod, but both men performed and fought well. With this win, Hawn remains undefeated and advances to the welterweight tournament finals.

In the main event, Bellator Lightweight Champion, Eddie Alvarez, showed his championship pedigree, as he battled challenger Pat Curran to a unanimous decision win over five rounds of grueling action. Curran gave Alvarez a run for his money but was consistently punished by the champ for his efforts.

Stuffing repeated takedown attempts but absorbing relentless attacks to the body, Curran just could not crack the code of the crowd favorite, Alvarez. Fight fans got a good look at their Bellator lightweight champ, and got a another great example of why he holds that belt.

All in all, this fight card was a stunner with some one of a kind MMA on display. The staff at Bellator must be extremely proud of the production they have brought together for fights fans weekly for free on MTV 2. When we talk about bang for your buck or value for your dollar, the Bellator Fighting Championships is top shelf mixed martial arts.


This article originally featured at Hurtsbad MMA.