Muhammed Lawal teed off on Seth Petruzelli at Bellator 96. | File Photo: Keith Mills/Sherdog.com


Muhammed Lawal returned to his winning ways Wednesday night with a vicious knockout of Seth Petruzelli in the main event of Bellator 96 at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla.

The 95-second victory came as a result of an early takedown from Lawal, who worked his way inside of Petruzelli’s punches and kicks to put “The Silverback” on his posterior. Though Petruzelli initially did well to fire off short punches from the open guard, Lawal eventually stood up and threw his opponent’s legs to the side before raining down a wrecking ball of a right hand that instantly turned out Petruzelli’s lights. Apparently realizing the blow had accomplished its intended task, the former Strikeforce champion declined to follow up, instead walking away from his unconscious foe.

The performance grants “King Mo” passage to the Summer Series light heavyweight tournament finals, slated to take place July 31 at Bellator 97.

Noe Retires ‘Babalu’


Photo: K. Mills/Sherdog.com


Noe's left hand battered ‘Babalu.’

Jacob Noe earned his spot in the light heavyweight tournament finals by sending Strikeforce champion Renato Sobral into retirement, though the victory was not without controversy.

Noe and Sobral exchanged relatively evenly throughout the bout’s first 10 minutes, with Noe consistently finding a home for his right straight while “Babalu” attacked with low kicks. The Brazilian attempted two takedowns but found the efforts fruitless, as the American stuffed each try. Noe then took control of the fight in round three, walking through Sobral’s long jab to land heavy right hands, staggering Sobral against the cage.

After eating an especially crisp flurry, a fatigued “Babalu” circled off the fence on wobbly legs, a sight referee Kerry Hatley interpreted as cause to halt the bout and save the light heavyweight from further punishment. Sobral immediately protested the stoppage. After Noe was announced the winner, Sobral informed the Bellator commentary team that he has decided to retire from active competition. The Brazilian leaves the cage with a career mark of 37-11.

Sparks Sparked in Half a Minute


Photo: K. Mills/Sherdog.com


Minakov decimated Sparks in 32 seconds.

Unbeaten Russian Vitaly Minakov wasted no time in disposing of Ron Sparks to advance to the finals of the Summer Series heavyweight tournament, knocking out “The Monster” in just 32 seconds.

The sambo expert measured his foe carefully during their brief encounter before lunging forward with a sharp right hand that put Sparks on the mat. Minakov quickly pursued, connecting with a series of ground strikes that caused Sparks to turn belly-down and signaled referee John McCarthy to intervene.


Photo: K. Mills/Sherdog.com

Controversial welterweight War Machine emerged victorious in his Bellator debut Wednesday night, returning from an 18-month layoff to stop World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Blas Avena. The man formerly known as Jon Koppenhaver appeared a step slow in the bout’s opening minutes, as he pursued Avena with punching combinations, but soon found himself caught in a Thai plum that resulted in several hard knees to the ribs.

The UFC alum found his way back on track when he hit a high-impact double-leg takedown and transitioned to side control, where he trapped Avena’s near-side arm in the crucifix position. The finish came soon after, as Avena could do nothing to stifle the onslaught of punches that followed, forcing referee Kerry Hatley to halt the bout 3:55 into round one.

“I’m happy. I’ve never won by decision. I always try to finish my fights,” said the polarizing welterweight. “I was a little nervous tonight. It was my first fight in over a year. He caught me with a couple of good body shots -- with knees -- but I came back and stayed calm. I want that belt. I’m going to hurt some people.”

No Notice, No Problem


Photo: K. Mills/Sherdog.com


Late notice was no problem for Martinez.

Late replacement Ryan Martinez became the first heavyweight tournament participant to punch his ticket to the finals during the evening’s undercard, when the heavy-handed southpaw stopped Rich Hale with first-round strikes.

Following an extended feeling-out process, Martinez, who replaced an injured Vinicius Kappke de Queiroz in the heavyweight draw, closed the distance with a wild swing before grabbing a body lock and taking Hale to the floor. Though Hale did his best to fend off his stocky opponent with up-kicks, Martinez eventually found his mark, stunning Hale with a crisp left hook before relieving him of his consciousness with a series of clubbing hammerfists that forced referee John McCarthy to wave off the contest 2:19 into the opening frame.

Other Bouts


Photo: Keith Mills/Sherdog.com


McNally used an old Bellator favorite,
the inverted triangle choke.

The evening’s undercard also saw Brandon Halsey extend his career unbeaten streak to four fights, as the light heavyweight recovered from a second-round low-blow to score a split decision win over Joe Yager; heavyweight talent Raphael Butler also remained undefeated, picking up a first-round technical knockout over Jeremiah O’Neal; Derek Campos edged Brandon Girtz in a unanimous decision; Damon Jackson made quick work of Keith Miner, picking up a TKO finish in just 2:00; In the evening’s opening contest, 22-year-old Justin McNally earned the second win of his pro career by submitting Steven Artoff with an inverted triangle-armbar at 2:44 of the opening round of their bantamweight affair.
view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC Glasgow Free Fight: Thales Leites Puts Tim Boetsch to Sleep

  • 22 days ago
  • 6 views

A victory was crucial when Thales Leites and Tim Boetsch met in January. Leites took full advantage, propelling himself into a main event slot. read news >>

Tony Ferguson puts top 10 on blast after UFC win over Josh Thomson: 'Don't sleep on me'

  • 14 days ago
  • 0 views

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight contender Tony Ferguson, who captured The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 13 crown back in 2011, is now 9-1 under the ZUFFA banner (19-3 overall) with 15 finis read news >>

Chris Honeycutt Homing in on a Bellator Title Shot

  • 13 days ago
  • 0 views

Chris Honeycutt believes if he puts "an ass kicking" on Paul Bradley on Friday night, he should be within shouting distance of a Bellator title shot. read news >>

MMA Tete-A-Tete: UFC & Bellator half year in review 2015

  • 28 days ago
  • 3 views

Kid Nate + Eugene S. Robinson look back at 2015 in MMA so far. The UFC's new drug testing policy, sponsorship deal with Reebok, Bellator's back to the future strategy, read news >>

Bellator 140 card set with addition of four prelims, including Waylon Lowe-Ryan Quinn

  • 28 days ago
  • 12 views

The card for Bellator 140 is set with the addition of four preliminary bouts.Filed under: Bellator, News read news >>

Paul Daley promises to go "nuclear" on Koscheck in Bellator rematch

  • 28 days ago
  • 26 views

Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley is looking forward to a busy second-half of 2015. The British welterweight faces Dennis Olson at Bellator 140 on July 17, then will begin training for a GLORY bout on the Bellator read news >>

Bellator and Glory present Dynamite: Full event coverage September 19

  • 28 days ago
  • 5 views

Get all the coverage here for the return of Dynamite, as Bellator and Glory co-promote an MMA/kickboxing show September 19. Bellator teased a major announcement for today regarding one of their corne read news >>

Cheick Kongo open to fights with Lashley, 'Kimbo Slice,' wants to stay active

  • 29 days ago
  • 2 views

Bellator heavyweight Cheick Kongo is open to fighting anyone on the promotion’s big-man roster, as long as he gets to it soon.Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos read news >>

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #1993 with Cheick Kongo and David Rickels

  • 29 days ago
  • 0 views

Stream or download Tuesday’s edition of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Cheick Kongo and David Rickels.Filed under: Bellator, MMAjunkie Radio, News, Radio read news >>

MMAjunkie Radio (noon ET): Bellator 'Knockout of the Year' candidate Hisaki Kato

  • 29 days ago
  • 4 views

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) with guest Hisaki Kato.Filed under: Bellator, MMAjunkie Radio, News read news >>