Bellator was back in action tonight, ending the 2013 Summer Series on a high note with a the star-laden lineup including a surprise announcement featuring Quinton Jackson and Tito Ortiz! Topping the actual Bellator 97 bill was a bout between lightweight king Michael Chandler (11-0) and bearded brawler David Rickels (14-1), while welterweight title-holder Ben Askren (11-0) also put his perfect record on the line against fellow undefeated fighter Andrey Koreshkov (13-0) in a co-headlining collision.
Askren had no problem handling Koreshkov, taking him down easily and battering him with strikes until the Russian could take no more. Chandler, on the other hand, needed less than a minute to handle Rickels, blasting “The Caveman” on his beard and putting him away with a flurry of follow-up shots.
Also noteworthy, light heavyweight Muhammed Lawal settled a personal score with Jacob Noe by beating him thoroughly in their light heavyweight tournament final. Lawal improved his mark to 11-2 with the victory and showed evidence of why he is often considered to be one of the top competitors outside of the UFC at 205 pounds. In another bout with a title-shot on the line, heavyweights Ryan Martinez-Vitaly Minakov met with an equally brutal beating delivered by the latter.
A full rundown of outcomes can be found below:
Cliff Wright Jr. vs. Donald Sanchez
Adrian Cruz vs. Felipe Chavez
Javier Palacios vs. Richard Jacques
Russell Wilson vs. Shawn Bunch
Jeremy Kimball vs. Keith Berry
Will Brooks def. Cris Leyva via TKO Round 3 (Strikes)
Rafael Silva def. Rodrigo Lima via Submission Round 3 (Rear-Naked Choke)*
Anthony Leone def. Frank Baca via Submission Round 3 (Rear-Naked Choke)*
Bubba Jenkins def. Mike Barreras via TKO Round 2 (Strikes)
Patricio “Pitbull” Freire def. Jared Downing via Knockout Round 2 (Strikes)
Vitaly Minakov def. Ryan Martinez via TKO Round 3 (Strikes)
Mo Lawal def. Jacob Noe via TKO Round 3 (Strikes)
Ben Askren © def. Andrey Koreshkov via TKO Round 4 (Strikes)
Michael Chandler © def. David Rickels via Knockout Round 1 (Strikes)
* – Bantamweight Tournament Semifinal