The third episode of season six of the Bellator Fighting Championships kicked off from the Lone Star State and featured the first round of the lightweight tournament. This card was supposed to feature Thiago Santos and Eric Prindle completing the season five heavyweight tournament, but when Santos came in overweight, the fight was cancelled and Prindle was awarded the tournament win. Fans were treated to a card full of exciting non-stop action in the lightweight division.
Nazare vs. Thiago Michel
In what seems to be a trend for fighters in Bellator, both men have great records, with Nazare coming into the fight at 10-1 and Michel coming in at 9-2. Both men are Brazilian-born but have different styles, with Michel known mostly for his incredible knockout power.
In the early going, Michel landed a solid strike, which immediately made the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu expert go for a takedown. After avoiding strikes and continuously working towards a takedown, Nazare finally got one, but the round ended with no damage being inflicted from the top position.
In the second round, it was Michel who had the clear advantage in the stand-up game and when Nazare was able to get a takedown, he wasn't able to break out of the guard and inflict any damage.
The third round saw the same action that the previous two had. Nazare spent most of the round on top of Michel on the ground, but never came close to a finish.
Official Decision: Thiago Michel via split-decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
J.J. Ambrose vs. Brent Weedman
At the start of the fight, Weedman landed a perfect shot, knocking Ambrose to the mat. Instead of jumping in and attacking, he allowed Ambrose to get back up and nearly got submitted following a takedown. Ambrose only had a couple chances to succeed in the round, as Weedman was relentless in his attack.
In the second round, Weedman was taken down, but eventually reversed the position. On top, he wound up in the crucifix before working towards a position that allowed him to get the finish via submission with the Von Flue Choke.
Official Decision: Brent Weedman via Von Flue at 3:26 of round 2
Rick Hawn vs. Ricardo Tirloni
Hawn was a finalist in the season four welterweight tournament and was making his lightweight debut in this fight. Tirloni is an exciting fighter that can finish a fight in any fashion.
To start the fight, both men were a little tentative and at the midway point of the first round, Tirloni showed the world why he was tentative. Hawn hit a beautiful overhand right that knocked Tirloni down and he followed up with ground and pound, getting the TKO victory.
Official Decision: Rick Hawn via TKO at 2:36 of round 1
Lloyd Woodard vs. Patricky Pitbull
Both men came into this fight with losses to current Bellator lightweight champion, Michael Chandler. With a combined record of 21-3 coming into this fight, they have both seen their share of success, but would love a chance to redeem themselves from the loss to Chandler.
This fight was highly entertaining from bell-to-bell. In the first round, both fighters had their moments on top, making it difficult for the judges to score. In the second round, the fast pace continued. Both fighters were striking and as Pitbull attempted a takedown, Woodard connected with a solid knee that left him dazed. Woodard kept moving and eventually locked in the Kimura. Pitbull didn't tap until it looked like his elbow was dislocated, but he did and Woodard earned his spot in the semifinals.
Official Decision: Lloyd Woodard via Kimura at 1:46 of round 2
For a look at the best fights for some of the most popular fighters in the UFC and 2011 division recaps, go here.
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Hobson Lopes has been a fan of mixed martial arts since the days of Tank Abbott and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.
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