ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Returning to the boardwalk to open Bellator’s highly anticipated fifth season, the promotion hosted an explosive night of fights as the Season 5 Welterweight Tournament kicked off inside a packed house at Caesars. The first leg of the eight-man tournament aired live on MTV2 and in HD on EPIX as Chris Lozano, Ben Saunders, Luis Santos, and Douglas Lima all punched their tickets to the Welterweight Semifinals. The next round will feature Lima vs. Lozano and Saunders vs. Santos.

In the night’s main event, Lozano and Weedman went right at each other from the start, but it was Weedman who knocked down Lozano during the first exchange. Weedman earned a knockdown and a slam in the first round, but Lozano owned the next 10 minutes with heavy-handed combinations and a solid ground game. Lozano took over the fight and never looked back, winning by unanimous decision, 29-28, on all three judges’ scorecards.

“That was a war,” said Lozano after defeating Weedman. “I was ready for a war, and Brent brought it, so I have to thank him for the toughest fight of my life.”

Ben “Killa-B” Saunders made quite a statement in his Bellator debut against Matt Lee, but his TKO win at Bellator 49 sent a bigger statement to opposing welterweights as it moved him one step closer to a tournament championship and a world title shot.

Saunders dominated his battle with Chris Cisneros, advancing on his feet as well as the ground. He gained full mount on his opponent early in their fight and never stopped moving forward, nearly ending the match in the first round with a triangle choke. However, once he applied a Muay Thai clinch to Cisneros in the third and final round, it took just 29 seconds and three-to-four hard knees to the head and body to force an end to their fight by TKO.

“I didn’t get to watch the other fights because I was too busy getting in the zone,” Saunders said. “But I’m looking forward to getting through the next round and on to the finals so I can bring back one of my best weapons,” Saunders said while he waived his elbow at the crowd.

Fan favorite Dan “The Handler” Hornbuckle entered his third Bellator Welterweight Tournament and while he may have made it to the finals opposite Ben Askren his first time around, the last two seasons he hasn’t made it out of the quarterfinals. This time it was Luis Santos standing in his way and while Hornbuckle may be a great striker and an excellent submission specialist, Santos had his number. He out-struck Hornbuckle on his feet while setting up plenty of kicks with an offensive barrage. Santos also took “The Handler” to the mat more than once to earn a unanimous decision and his 50th career victory. Santos looks to pose big problems for the remaining welterweights in this eight-man tournament.

Douglas Lima was victorious in his Bellator debut as he defeated Steve Carl by unanimous decision in the quarterfinals. Carl was in it until the very end, attempting a triangle in the first round and finishing the third on top, but Lima dictated the pace of the fight. He out-struck Carl and took him down often spending the majority of each round on top and in dominant position.

“The final four in this Tournament are hugely talented fighters and any one of the four could win this whole thing,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. “The Lozano-Weedman fight was really spectacular and Saunders looked great as well. I can’t wait to see these guys back in the cage on Oct. 8.”

Bellator also announced a highly anticipated fight between long time UFC veteran Kurt Pellegrino and Patricky Pitbull, which will take at Bellator 59 back at Caesars on November 26th.

Bellator Fighting Championships will also return to New Jersey on Oct. 15 for Bellator 54 as Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez takes on the Season 4 Lightweight Tournament winner Michael Chandler inside of Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall.

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