Bellator opened their fifth season in thrilling fashion on Saturday night with Bellator 49 at Caesars Atlantic City in New Jersey. Headlined by a quartet of welterweight tournament matchups, Chris Lozano, Ben Saunders, Luis Santos, and Douglas Lima emerged victorious and will now move on to the promotion's semifinals.
In the night's main event, Lozano (9-1) upset tournament dark horse Brent Weedman (18-7-1), recovering from a wasted first round to be awarded a unanimous decision win, 29-28 on the judges' scorecards. However, Lozano's night almost ended before it could begin. Immediately staggered from a Weedman right hand in the opening minutes of the bout, "The Cleveland Assassin" was forced to weather the storm, nearly giving way multiple times including a late rear-naked choke attempt.
Lozano would rally though, opening the second round with a series of sharp combos that put the Louisvillian on the defensive. He maintained momentum for there, claiming the third round and the fight with a succession of brutal ground and pound to move on to the tournament's semifinals.
On the event's co-headliner, UFC veteran Ben Saunders (11-3-2) seized the only finish on the main card, crumbling Chris Cisneros (13-4) in the third round with a ruthless knee to the body. Though a knockout seemed unlikely the way the action was headed. The opening two segments saw "Killa B" shoot for every kind of submission under the sun, just missing on a variety of armlocks, kimuras, and rear-naked chokes.
But in the end, it would be the 29-year-old's trademark knees that steadied the course, as the blow from inside the clinch floored Cisneros just twenty-nine seconds into the final frame. A few follow-up punches later the fight was over and Saunders had his third straight win since being released the UFC.
In the evening's other featured bouts, Luis Santos (50-6-1) utilized a diversity of punches and kicks to dominate Dan Hornbuckle (22-5) via unanimous decision, 30-27, and earn his fiftieth victory in his promotional debut. After two-and-a-half minutes of pinpoint striking precision, the Brazilian nearly ended the fight after landing a crushing head kick flush that staggered Hornbuckle, but the veteran managed to hold on until the final horn.
Official Bellator 49 results:
Chris Lozano def. Brent Weedman via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Ben Saunders def. Chris Cisneros via TKO (strikes) at 0:29 of round 3.
Luis Santos def. Dan Hornbuckle via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Douglas Lima def. Steve Carl via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27).
Alexandre Bezerra def. Scott Heckman via TKO (strikes) at 1:38 in round 2.
Giedrius Karavackas def. LeVon Maynard via TKO (strikes) at 1:32 in round 3.
Joel Roberts def. Brylan Van Artsdalen via technical submission (triangle choke) at 1:47 in round 2.
Lester Caslow def. James Jones via TKO (injury) at 0:15 in round 2.
Azunna Anyanwu def. J.A. Dudley via TKO (strikes) at 4:16 in round 2.