(Eddie Alvarez at Bellator66)
From Bellator Fighting Championships:
CHICAGO, Ill. (April 20, 2012) — Therematch more than three years in the making finally culminated as formerBellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez and current DREAM LightweightChampion Shinya Aoki met in one of the most anticipated fights of the year. Thefinals of the Bellator Season 6 Middleweight and Lightweight Tournaments arenow set as Andreas Spang, Maiquel Falcao, Rick Hawn and Brent Weedman all movedon to their respective finals with impressive wins at Bellator 66 from the I-XCenter in Cleveland, Ohio LIVE on MTV2 and in HD on EPIX.
In the main event of the evening, Former Bellator Lightweight Champion EddieAlvarez looked to avenge one of his previous three defeats when he met Japanesegrappling sensation, Shinya Aoki in one of the most high profile lightweightfights of the year. Almost immediately, Alvarez came out looking for thefinish. After Aoki threw left hand, Alvarez countered with a beautiful rightthat dropped the Japanese submission specialist. Seeing that Aoki was hurt, Alvarezdived in and unloaded vicious strikes until referee Jerry Krzys stepped in tostop the fight at 2:14 of the first round.
With the win, Eddie Alvarez improved his record to 23-3 and avenged hissubmission loss to Shinya Aoki over three years ago. Aoki, who loses for thesixth time in his career, dropped his first contest since 2010.
"Eddie Alvarez once again showed why he is one of the best lightweights inthe world," said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. "AndreasSpang vs. Maiquel Falcao has the makings of a spectacular fight in ourmiddleweight finals, while Rick Hawn and Brent Weedman put on dominatingperformances. The sold out crowd here in Cleveland was absolutely electrifying,and I can’t wait to bring another Bellator event to this great city."
For once-beaten Andreas Spang, the vision of one day fighting for the BellatorMiddleweight Championship became less of a dream and more of a reality whenBruno Santos was forced out of the tournament due to an injury. However,hometown favorite Brian Rogers had other plans in mind. Through nearly a roundand a half, both men unloaded a barrage of wild punches, flying knees and kicksthat had the crowd at the I-X Center on their feet. Midway through the secondround, however, Spang connected with a devastating left hook that put Rogersout for good.
With the technical knockout victory, Bellator newcomer Andreas Spang will nowmove to the final round of the Bellator Season 6 Middleweight Tournament andimproves his record to 8-1. Brian Rogers drops to 9-4.
Going into the first Middleweight Semifinal fight of the Bellator Season 6Tournament, proven knockout artist Maiquel Falcao made known his intentions ofkeeping his fight against Vyacheslav Vasilevsky on the feet. "Slava,"known for his outstanding footwork and crisp boxing, hoped to build off hisdominant unanimous decision win over Victor O’Donnell when he entered theBellator cage Friday night. Despite securing several takedowns throughout thefight, "Slava" was unable to match Falcao on the feet. In the thirdand final round, Falcao landed plenty of strikes that had Vasilevsky attemptingto clinch and avoid trading punches. After three rounds, the fight went to thejudges. All three judges scored the fight in favor of Maiquel Falcao.
With the unanimous decision victory, Maiquel Falcao earns his 30th win and nowmeets Andreas Spang in the finals of the Bellator Season 6 MiddleweightTournament. His opponent, Vyacheslav Vasilevsky drops to 16-2 in hisprofessional career.
Coming off a major victory over Patricky "Pitbull," Lloyd"Cupcake" Woodard was looking to move one step closer to a rematchwith Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler while Rick Hawn was seekinghis second win at his new home of 155 pounds. While the first round was ashowcase for the judo that earned Rick Hawn a spot on the 2004 Olympic JudoTeam, the second round provided the Cleveland faithful with the fireworksthey’ve come to expect. Almost immediately, Rick Hawn landed a devastatingright hand that leveled Woodard, which caused the referee to stop the fight 10seconds into the second round.
"I just had to play a smart fight," said Hawn. "I couldn’t getsucked into his gameplan."
With the technical knockout victory, Rick Hawn moves on to the final round ofthe Bellator Lightweight Tournament and one step closer to a shot againstBellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler. Woodard, stopped for the firsttime in his career, falls to 12-2.
In the first televised fight of the evening, a spot in the Bellator LightweightFinals was decided as prolific kickboxer Thiago Michel looked to keep hismomentum going when he faced dangerous Bellator veteran, Brent Weedman.Throughout the fight, Michel had success showing off his proficient strikingthat earned him a World Kickboxing Championship. However, despite the obviousdamage done to the eye of Brent Weedman through the first two rounds, theformer welterweight tournament participant was able to withstand the assaultand take Michel down at will. Working his ground and pound, Weedman was able todictate the fight until the final bell. After three rounds of hard-foughtaction, Weedman walked away with a split-decision win.
"I thought it was a close fight," said Weedman. "All respect toThiago Michel. One of the toughest opponents I’ve ever had."
With the split decision victory, Brent Weedman improves his record to 20-7 andadvances to the finals of the Bellator Season 6 Lightweight Tournament againstRick Hawn. Thiago Michel loses for just the third time in his career as hefalls to 10-3 in his professional career.
For more information, visit Bellator.com, follow Bellator on Twitter@BellatorMMA or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Bellator