Bellator 57 Results: Breaking Down the Main Card Bouts
The main card bouts at Bellator 57 didn't exactly have a star-studded cast like the UFC on Fox, but it delivered plenty of intense action that left the fans cheering all evening.
After a majority draw result in the last prelim fight between Chris "The Polish Hammer" Horodecki and Mike Corey, the fighters that followed knew that anything could happen if they let their fate be decided by a judge's scorecard.
The main card featured two tournament final fights, each with $100,000 and a title shot on the line and Alexander Shlemenko and Douglas Lima came out with that prize after intense back-and-forth wars with Vitor Vianna and Ben Saunders, respectively.
Bellator has positioned itself as a top world-class promotion as Viacom purchased a majority stake in the promotion and with the UFC moving over to Fox, Bellator will start airing on Spike TV in 2013. The fights seen on MTV2 tonight were a testament to what a mixed martial arts event can offer, so let's take a look at the main card.
Featherweight Bout: Alexandre Bezerra vs. Doug Evans
Official Result: Alexandre Bezerra def. Doug Evans via verbal submission (heel hook) at 4:04 of round 1.
The first fight saw great action by both guys and looking back at it, the term "comeback" defines how this one went.
First, Bezerra got some offense in and while Evans fought away an initial takedown, Bezerra took control...for a moment.
Evans took control about halfway through the round with two devastating slams that sent the crowd into a frenzy.
Bezerra never stopped working, however, and looked for the submission off his back, trying to grab any limb available and sooner or later, one came loose.
Bezerra got a leg and got a heel hook in. While it wasn't catistrophic at first, Evans even got more offense while the submission was in it's early stages, eventually, Evans succumbed to the submission, falling flat on his stomach and verbally submitting.
This win should vault Bezerra into the lightweight tournament in season six.
Light-Heavyweight Bout: Roger Hollett vs. John Hawk
Official Result: Roger Hollett def. John Hawk via split decision (29-28; 28-29; 29-28)
When a fight goes the distance, anything is possible and Hawk learned the hard way at Casino Rama, when his fight with Hollett was decided by a scorecard.
Despite a grind out war in the clinch, instigated by Hawk, two judges thought otherwise.
Hawk said at the post-fight press conference that that's what happens when you leave your fate in someone else's hands.
Nonetheless, the Canadian got the victory over the American, a crowd pleasing result as the capacity audience at Casino Rama booed for close to 15 minutes, as Hawk seemed to get the better of the two.
You may have been able to give the first round to Hollett but in terms of control and aggression, Hawk took the final two rounds in my opinion, but the result is what it is and that is a victory and likely a berth in the light-heavyweight tournament for Halifax native Hollett.
Middleweight Tournament Final: Alexander Shlemenko vs. Vitor Vianna
Official Result: Alexander Shlemenko def. Vitor Vianna by unanimous decision (29-28; 30-27; 30-27)
Shlemenko went into his bout with Vianna, likely looking for a stand up game and for a solid three rounds, he stuffed takedown attempts and worked the clinch quite well en route to the win.
Shlemenko had the advantage on the feet and Vianna had little to no answers to spinning back fists, kicks, elbows and knees, one of which landed to the Vianna's groin in the second round.
With the victory, Shlemenko gets his shot at redemption as he gets to face a familiar foe in Middleweight champion Hector Lombard.
"I must break him." said Shlemenko of Lombard at the post-fight press conference.
We will see, but until then, he has 100,000 reasons to be happy, with his second Bellator tournament victory and another $100,000 cheque.
Welterweight Tournament Final: Ben Saunders vs. Douglas Lima
Official Result: Douglas Lima def. Ben Saunders via TKO (punches) at 1:21 of round 2.
A great effort put on by former UFC fighter Ben Saunders. Unfortunately, it wasn't the result he was looking for.
The first round saw some back and forth action, a feeling out process and Saunders looked to get the better of the exchanges.
Saunders threw a kick that was caught and as Lima tried to capitalize on that mistake, Saunders had Lima on the ground, in full mount.
Saunders was reigning down punches from the mount, working hard to get a finish but the bell went to signal the end of the first round.
Some punching and counter-punching began the second round and in the heat of the exchange, Lima caught Saunders with a big right hand that dropped him and delivered hammer fists to finish the fight.
"Obviously, I'm disappointed," Saunders told B/R MMA after the fight, "Nonetheless, at the end of the day, my mentality has always been the same, I stay positive. I felt I brought it, you know, like I do every single time and I think the fans enjoy it and that's how I want my legacy and my fight career to kind of play out."
Saunders said that he has been in training, non-stop since January and is looking forward to a mini-vacation before he gets back to work.
Meanwhile, the victory for Lima earned him a $100,000 cheque and guarantees him a shot at the Welterweight title, against the undefeated Ben Askren.
Did you catch the fights? What did you think of the fight card?
Mark Pare is a Featured Columnist. Mark was live at Casino Rama for Bellator 57 so stay tuned for more fight analysis, results and more of his exclusive interview with Ben Saunders. You can follow him on Twitter and don't forget to check out his sportswriter page.