(Image courtesy of Bellator.com)
The Bellator Fighting Championships‘ ongoing tournament series made a stop in Norman, Oklahoma, on Friday night, with an 11-bout card highlighted by the first round of their middleweight bracket. Fights from this event were split between two separate ESPN Deportes broadcasts, one shown two nights ago ("Bellator III") and one to be aired next Saturday ("Bellator IV"); weird, I know.
As expected, 185-pound favorite Hector Lombard advanced to the semifinals and increased his record to 19-2 with a dominant win over Virgil "The Mexican Machine" Lozano. "Shango" needed just 70 seconds to knock out Lozano from the clinch with a well-timed uppercut. Though Lombard may be the only fighter in the 185-pound bracket that most MMA fans have heard of, he has a very stiff test coming up in his semifinal fight against Damien Stelly, a U.S. Army Ranger who used slams and ground-and-pound to score a unanimous decision over Lion’s Den fighter Alex "El Toro" Andrade.
Elsewhere on the card, former UFC middleweight champ Dave Menne handed ATT prospect Norman Paraisy his first career loss, as part of Bellator’s welterweight tournament. Though Paraisy held an edge in the first two rounds of their match, Menne was able to take Paraisy’s back during a scramble in the third frame and sink in a rear-naked choke. Menne advances to the 170-pound semifinals and will next take on Omar De La Cruz.
Following a one-week layoff, Bellator’s next show will be held May 1st at the Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio, and will feature the semifinal match-ups for their lightweight tournament. Top-ten lightweight Eddie Alvarez will meet Eric Reynolds, while Bodog/Strikeforce/Sengoku vet Jorge Masvidal will match up with Toby Imada.
Full results from Bellator III/IV are after the jump…