David Rickels outgunned Lloyd Woodard at Bellator 87. | Photo:
Rickels took the better part of a round to get rolling, but
once he did, there was little Lloyd
Woodard could do to stop him.
Rickels (12-1, 6-1 Bellator) earned a hard-fought unanimous
decision victory over Woodard in the
Bellator 87 main event at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort
in Mount Pleasant, Mich., on Thursday night, cementing his spot in
the promotion’s lightweight tournament semifinals. Judges Todd
Anderson, Eric Colon
and Cardo Urso all submitted identical 29-28 scorecards in favor of
the Kansas native.
Woodard (12-3, 2-3 Bellator) was relentless in the contest’s
initial five minutes, slamming his foe to the mat with a
belly-to-back suplex early and remaining heavy from top position
through most of the first round. After an entertaining exchange of
submission attempts from both fighters, Rickels finished strong,
landing some heavy ground-and-pound before the frame expired.
“The Caveman” kept the momentum going in rounds two and three,
keeping the Missoula, Mont., native on his heels with an aggressive
standup attack that included knees, body kicks, left hooks and
uppercuts. Woodard would have his moments over the final 10
minutes, as he briefly rocked his foe with a straight right and
landed a pair of takedowns. It wasn’t enough to overcome the
all-out assault of Rickels, who was able to impose his will on the
feet as the bout progressed.
Newcomer Brooks Earns Unanimous Nod Over Tirloni
(9-0, 1-0 Bellator) entered the Bellator lightweight tournament
field as an intriguing but still unproven commodity. After a
clear-cut unanimous decision victory over Ricardo
Tirloni (15-4, 2-3 Bellator), the Illinois native established
himself as a talent to watch in the promotion’s 155-pound
Brooks was quicker, faster than Tirloni.
All three judges scored the bout 30-27 in favor of Brooks, who
began attracting attention from the MMA community after his
second-round TKO of Satoru
Kitaoka at Dream 18 on New Year’s Eve.
Backed by superior strength and athleticism, Brooks was in control
for the majority of the bout. The Midwest Training Center
representative struck for takedowns in each frame and appeared to
grow increasingly comfortable attacking with ground-and-pound from
inside Tirloni’s guard. The Brazilian threatened with triangles,
leg locks and a guillotine over the course of the contest, but each
time Brooks was able to escape unscathed.
On the feet, Brooks displayed good footwork and movement while
punishing Tirloni with a steady stream of inside low kicks and
“I don’t even know what to say right now. I’m just happy to be
here. I’ve been working my butt off for this. Everybody’s just been
sacrificing a lot for me to do what I do. I’m just happy to come
out here and make them proud,” Brooks said.
Awad Rocks DeLorenzi on Short Notice
Awad made the most of his short-notice opportunity.
Awad shocked DeLorenzi with punches.
Stepping in for Patricky
Freire, who withdrew from the bout with a knee injury, Awad
wasted little time in blasting through Guillame DeLorenzi, stopping
his foe with a flurry of strikes just 31 seconds into the first
stanza. With the win, Awad advances to the semifinals of Bellator’s
Season 8 155-pound bracket.
Awad (12-4, 1-1 Bellator) attacked aggressively from the bell, and
a right hand behind the ear had his Canadian opponent stumbling
toward the cage. From there, the Milennia MMA product unloaded with
a series of heavy left hooks until referee Jason Herzog was forced
to intervene on DeLorenzi’s (10-2, 1-1 Bellator) behalf.
“I saw him get on roller skates, and I had to capitalize from
there,” said Awad, who took the bout on approximately one week’s
notice. “I’m the darkhorse of the tournament -- I’m coming to take
‘Tiger’ Sarnavskiy Chokes Out Thiago Michel
Sarnavskiy (22-1, 2-1 Bellator) became the first lightweight
tournament entrant to advance to the Bellator’s Season 8
semifinals, submitting Thiago
Michel Pereira Silva (11-4, 1-2 Bellator) with a rear-naked
choke at the 3:43 mark of the second stanza. It was the 12th
submission victory of the 24-year-old Russian’s professional
Sarnavskiy tapped out Silva.
Sarnavskiy sent a message in the bout’s opening 30 seconds, sending
Silva tumbling to the canvas with a powerful right hand. Hard
overhand rights and kicks to the body were the story throughout the
first frame for “Tiger,” while Silva’s lone offense of note came
from a failed guillotine choke attempt as the first round
Sarnavskiy changed his focus in round two, scoring multiple
takedowns while neutralizing his foe on the canvas. As Silva
struggled to return to his feet, Sarnavskiy was able to his back
and slide his left arm under the Brazilian’s neck, forcing his foe
to ask out of the contest.
Fischer Chokes Out Magakian; Etherington Survives Against
In preliminary action, Jason
Fischer (6-1, 3-1 Bellator) submitted Sevak
Magakian (12-4-1, 0-1 Bellator) with a rear-naked choke 3:37
into the opening frame of their 155-pound conflict; Karl
Etherington (8-0, 1-0 Bellator) outlasted Jason Fish
(2-3, 0-1 Bellator) to garner a first-round TKO via verbal
submission 3:45 into their heavyweight clash; In a 165-pound
catch-weight encounter, Amir Killah (11-5, 1-0 Bellator) forced
Schulz (4-1, 1-1 Bellator) to tap to a rear-naked choke at the
4:34 mark of the first round; J.P. Reese
(9-4, 3-0 Bellator) cruised to a unanimous verdict (30-27, 30-27,
29-28) over David
Shepherd (5-3, 0-1 Bellator) at lightweight; Samuel
Quito (12-4, 1-0 Bellator) survived a hailstorm of elbows to
Lagman (6-3, 0-1 Bellator) with a kneebar 3:54 into round one
at welterweight; Tony
Zelinski (4-2, 1-0 Bellator) scored a contentious
split-decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29) over Nick Kirk
(9-2, 0-2 Bellator) at a 140-pound catch-weight in the evening’s
The hometown Fischer wowed the Michigan
crowd with his biggest career win.