By Derek Ciapala,

On Friday, March 23, Bellator's season six lightweight tournament got underway with a bang when Lloyd Woodard submitted Patricky Freire via kimura at 1:46 of round two. Woodard joins Thiago Michel, Brent Weedman, and Rick Hawn in the tournament semi-finals.

Here is a look at the evening's main card:

Thiago Michel via split decision over Rene Nazare

Thiago Michel controlled much of this match by using his kicks to keep Rene Nazare at a distance. I think Michel took the first round as Nazare struggled to get inside on his opponent, but it was a close enough round that either fighter could have earned it.

At the three minute mark in the second round, Nazare managed to get Michel to the ground. Nazare kept fairly busy while holding Michel down, but the referee still stood them up. It was a poor decision on the referee's part, and it changed the course of the entire round. Michel dominated the rest of the rest of the round with his superior striking to win the round 10-9.

The third round was a different story. Michel was the aggressor in the first two rounds, but he seemed to back off in the final frame. He stopped trying to engage Nazare and just sat in the pocket letting his opponent take the fight to him. That strategy almost worked against Michel. Nazare earned a takedown and utilized his ground and pound for the last half of the third round to take it 10-9. Michel earned the split-decision victory 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28, but I hope he learns never to take his foot off the gas again.

Brent Weedman via submission over J.J. Ambrose

J.J. Ambrose was never really in this fight, even though he managed a couple D'Arce choke attempts. Both men are Muay Thai fighters, but Weedman's striking was much more refined and it showed early in the match when he dropped and nearly stopped Ambrose. He eventually mounted Ambrose before transitioning into a body triangle, but Weedman was unable to finish the fight before the bell sounded.

Weedman continued his dominance in the second round and forced Ambrose to tap out with a Von Flue choke. I'm not sure how much further Weedman will advance in this tournament, but he made Ambrose look like an amateur.

Rick Hawn via knockout over Ricardo Tirloni

Ricardo Tirloni was competitive early, but Rick Hawn proved his dominance rather quickly in the first round. Hawn took control of the fight when he landed a power counter right hand after Tirloni took a chance on an overhand right of his own. From that point forward, Hawn's aggression was the difference. He got inside on Tirloni and nailed him with a huge right hand followed by some ground and pound before the referee stopped the fight. Hawn looked extremely impressive, and I think he's a favorite to win the tournament right now.

Lloyd Woodard via kimura submission over Patricky Freire

This was the clear fight of the night. Both men went back and forth throughout the first round with explosive striking and some of the best ground work on the main card. Each fighter rocked the other at some point in the first five minutes, but they each recovered before it was too late. I gave the round to Freire due to takedowns and the attempted kimura as time ran out, but it was so close that Woodard could easily have been judged the winner.

The second round was similar to the first with some powerful blows being exchanged between the two men. The fight turned when Woodard was able to avoid Freire's armbar attempt. Woodard locked in a kimura and dislocated Freire's elbow, which forced him to tap out.

Words can't express how entertaining this fight was. Hopefully, Freire recovers quickly from his injury and resumes his career soon. He deserves a quick return to the cage. Woodard is another favorite to win this tournament. I hope he isn't matched up with Hawn in the semi-finals. I think it's clear that Hawn and Woodard are the two best fighters remaining in the lightweight tourney.

Derek Ciapala has been following MMA since the days when Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie fought in the octagon. You can follow him on Twitter @dciapala.

Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Saad Awad vs. Patricky Freire co-headlines Bellator 141 on Aug. 28

  • 19 days ago
  • 1 views

After recently announcing the headliner, Bellator officials today unveiled the co-headliner for next month’s Bellator 141 event.Filed under: Bellator, MMA Rumors, News read news >>

Patricky Freire takes on Saad Awad in Bellator 141 co-main event

  • 17 days ago
  • 3 views

Another lightweight contender will emerge for Bellator next month. Patricky Freire will take on Saad Awad in the co-main event of Bellator 141 on Aug. 28 at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Cali read news >>

Patricky Freire vs Saad Awad fight set as Bellator 141 co-main event

  • 15 days ago
  • 2 views

Following the announcement of Melvin Guillard's promotional debut for Bellator MMA, another bout has been revealed for the upcoming card in Temecula, California. Bellator MMA has announced a second b read news >>

UFC 189 Video: Conor McGregor's full 1-hour long open workout

  • 26 days ago
  • 113 views

Watch Conor McGregor put a show on for the fans in a lengthy UFC 189 open workout. read news >>

Video: Highlights of Conor McGregor's hourlong UFC 189 workout

  • 27 days ago
  • 91 views

LAS VEGAS – In his latest workout for the media – and plenty of fans – Conor McGregor once again wasn’t messing around.Filed under: Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Conor McGregor's showmanship rubbing opponents the wrong way (Yahoo Sports)

  • 27 days ago
  • 3 views

From Yahoo Sports: The UFC featherweight contender's rants and antics have clearly drawn the ire of his competition. read news >>

Video: Watch Conor McGregor's grand entrance for fans at UFC 189

  • 27 days ago
  • 110 views

LAS VEGAS – If you haven’t learned by now, Conor McGregor likes to make an entrance. And today was no exception.Filed under: Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Conor McGregor's showmanship rubbing opponents the wrong way (Yahoo Sports)

  • 27 days ago
  • 9 views

From Yahoo Sports: The UFC featherweight contender's rants and antics have clearly drawn the ire of his competition. read news >>

UFC Fight Night 71 weigh-ins set for Tuesday in San Diego

  • 27 days ago
  • 1 views

UFC Fight Night 71 fighter weigh-ins take place Tuesday in San Diego, and fans can attend for free to see fighters from the 12-bout card hit the scales. Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Jose Aldo rallies Brazilian fans behind Chad Mendes, tells 'Money' to smash Conor McGregor at UFC 189

  • 27 days ago
  • 359 views

How much does Jose Aldo hate Conor McGregor? Enough to join forces with former featherweight rival Chad Mendes, who took over for the ailing Brazilian in the upcoming UFC 189 pay-per-view (PPV) main read news >>