Jeff Sherwood/

Askren absolutely dominated his challenger.

Ben Askren’s style might not be the most aesthetically pleasing, but it is undeniably effective.

After spending fifteen minutes in the cage with Bellator’s welterweight champion, Karl Amoussou would undoubtedly agree. Askren battered Amoussou for three lopsided rounds in the Bellator 86 main event at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla., on Thursday night, forcing the cage-side physician to call a halt to the bout before the championship frames could begin.

It was Akren’s first finish since his debut at Bellator 14 in 2010 -- his last six bouts with the promotion had gone the distance. It was Askren’s third successful welterweight title defense with the Chicago-based organization.

“I told you guys that it was just a matter of time before my hands got some power in them,” Askren said. “I dominate positionally, and my hands [have] power too. Welterweights anywhere in the world better watch out, I’m coming.”

Askren set the tone immediately in round one, diving into Amoussou’s guard after the Frenchman missed a kick and slipped to his back. From there, the former University of Missouri Tiger went to work, landing an elbow to open a cut over his foe’s left eye; a wound that would come to plague Amoussou for the rest of the bout.

Amoussou briefly gained top position in round two, but an ill-conceived heel-hook attempt allowed “Funky” to regain control. Akren continued to land ferocious ground-and-pound for the rest of the bout, leaving Amoussou’s face a bloody mess after a relentless barrage of punches and elbows from above.

The Roufusport product appeared to be near a finish in both rounds two and three, but Amoussou managed enough intelligent defense to survive both frames. However, Amoussou, with his left eye swollen shut and his face a battered mess, was deemed unfit to continue prior to the fourth stanza.

‘King Mo’ Scores First-Round KO in Bellator Debut

J. Sherwood/

King Mo abused Mysiala.

Muhammed Lawal entered Bellator’s light heavyweight tournament with plenty of hype behind him, and the former Strikeforce champion didn’t take long to deliver in his debut.

“King Mo” knocked out Przemyslaw Mysiala (16-8, 0-1 Bellator) 3:52 into their 205-pound tilt, ending the contest with a short right hand to his opponent’s chin. A former All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State University, Lawal (9-1, 1-0 Bellator) elected to showcase his standup for the duration of the abbreviated bout.

A stiff left jab served as Lawal’s weapon of choice, and it was not long before Mysiala was bleeding profusely from his nose. Lawal remained composed as he stalked his outmatched foe, eventually flooring the Polish fighter with the decisive right hand. Before he could land any follow-up punches on the mat, referee Kerry Hatley intervened on Mysiala’s behalf.

“I didn’t have a strategy. My goal was to come out and knock him out,” said Lawal, who moves on to face Emanuel Newton in the 205-pound semifinals.

Low Kicks Carry Lima Past Tsarev

J. Sherwood/

Lima destroyed Tsarev with kicks.

Douglas Lima’s insistence on fighting right up until the final bell of the opening frame paid big dividends against Michail Tsarev. The Atlanta-based Brazilian landed a low kick to the outside of his opponent’s left knee just as the opening frame of their welterweight tournament contest expired, and Tsarev needed to be helped back to his corner between rounds.

That was all the opening Lima (23-5, 5-1 Bellator) needed, as he continued to attack his foe with vicious low kicks throughout the second period.

Tsarev (24-4, 1-2 Bellator) valiantly returned to his feet several times, but it was clear that the Russian was unable to put any weight on his leg. Referee Jason Herzog mercifully called a halt to the bout 1:44 into round two, sending Lima into the bracket’s semifinals.

Saunders Cruises Past Adzitso Into 170-Pound Semis

J. Sherwood/

Saunders outhustled his opponent.

Ben Saunders (15-5-2, 6-2 Bellator) earned a one-sided unanimous verdict over promotional debutante Koffi Adzitso (18-10, 0-1 Bellator) to advance to the semifinals of Bellator’s Season 8 welterweight tournament. Judges Todd Anderson, Dan Mathisen and Don Turnage each scored the contest 30-27 in favor of Saunders, who is making his third venture into the organization’s 170-pound bracket.

“Killa B” was able to control all aspects of the fight, as Adzitso struggled to score takedowns against the fence and whiffed on a number of wide, looping punches.

When Adzitso was able to wrestle his foe to the canvas, Saunders remained active, throwing punches and hunting for submissions from his rubber guard. The UFC veteran was also able to land kicks and knees to the body on the feet and punctuated his victory in round three with ground-and-pound from top position.

Weedman, Amaya Advance to Welterweight Tournament Semifinals

J. Sherwood

Weedman controlled Zaromskis.

In Season 8 welterweight tournament action, Brent Weedman (22-8-1, 7-3 Bellator) survived an unorthodox onslaught -- as well as some illegal knees -- from Marius Zaromskis (19-8, 3-2 Bellator) to advance to the round of four with a unanimous verdict [29-27, 29-27, 29-27], while Raul Amaya (11-2, 2-1 Bellator) punched his ticket to the 170-pound semifinals by stopping Jose de Ribamar Machado Gomes (32-9-1, 0-1 Bellator) with strikes 3:12 into round one.

Other Bouts

Elsewhere, Jason Sampson (10-1, 2-1 Bellator) tapped Chris Pham (2-1, 0-1 Bellator) with an armbar 4:55 into round three of a catch-weight contest; Damon Jackson (4-0, 1-0 Bellator) earned his second consecutive victory over Zac Church (1-2, 0-1 Bellator) at lightweight, submitting his opponent with a rear-naked choke 2:43 into round two; Power punches carried Cortez Coleman (9-3, 1-0 Bellator) to a unanimous decision victory [29-28, 29-28, 29-28] over Matt Jones (4-4, 0-1 Bellator) at 185 pounds; Hunter Tucker (5-0, 1-0 Bellator) submitted Javier Obregon (4-4, 0-1 Bellator) with a guillotine choke
3:17 into the second round of their featherweight clash.
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