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Bellator 63: Amoussou, Baker, Rickels, and Saunders advance to welterweight semifinals

CHICAGO, Ill. (March 30, 2012) — The quarterfinals of the Bellator Season 6 Welterweight Tournament have wrapped up as Karl Amoussou, Bryan Baker, David Rickels and Ben Saunders advanced to the semifinal round at Bellator 63 from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut LIVE on MTV2 and in HD on EPIX.

In the main event of the evening, the weeks of trash talking and bad blood finally boiled over as Chris Lozano and Karl Amoussou squared off inside the Bellator cage. The fight started with both men patiently waiting for the other to strike. The first significant blow was thrown by Amoussou, a head kick that opened up a cut on the head of “The Cleveland Assassin.” Moving forward, Lozano took advantage of Amoussou being off balance and successfully secured a takedown. However, Amousssou showed his underrated ground game and sweeped Lozano, ending up in the full mount position. From there, Amoussou opened up with strikes to the head that caused Lozano to reach for his feet. Seizing the submission opportunity, Amoussou locked up a rear-naked choke that forced the submission of Lozano  at 2:05 of the first round.

“You just saw the next tournament champion. I wanted to make a statement. This is what I’ve done,” Amoussou said.

With the submission win, Karl Amoussou maked a successful welterweight debut and advances to the semifinal round of the Bellator Season Six Welterweight Tournament.

Former middleweight tournament competitor Bryan “The Beast” Baker was certainly hoping that the drop in weight to compete in the Season Six Welterweight Tournament would prove to be the right one against a dangerous striker in Carlos Pereira. Through 3 tactical rounds, both fighters took turns dictating the pace of the fight. In the first round, it was Pereira who took the center of the Bellator cage, stalking Baker and forcing him to move backwards. In the second round, it was Baker who used his oftentimes unorthodox striking to outwork Pereira. The third round proved to be just as close as the first two, with Baker getting a takedown and landing a heavy dose of ground and pound on Pereira to close out the fight. When the judges rendered their decision, two of the three saw the fight for Bryan Baker, giving him is 7th victory in the Bellator cage.

With the split decision victory, Baker earns his way into the Season Six Welterweight Semifinals and improves to 17-3 in his career.

“I’m still learning this weight cut,” Baker said of the win. “Time to go to work.”

For Jordan Smith, the opportunity to become a Bellator World Champion almost never happened. When Brian Foster was forced out of the welterweight tournament, David “The Caveman” Rickels needed a new opponent. Enter “Mata Ele.” The fight ended almost as fast as it started. Both fighters wasted little time as they took the center of the Bellator cage. After a brief and violent exchange, Rickels dropped Smith with a hook and unloaded a series of right uppercuts that forced the stoppage 22 seconds into the fight, giving Rickels his fourth career Bellator victory.

“I clipped him, and I saw he was hurt. He buckled down, and I always look to finish. A couple of good uppercuts after that, and it was goodnight,” said an excited Rickels.

With the first round KO win, David Rickels punches his ticket to the semifinals of the Bellator Season 6 Welterweight Tournament and remains undefeated in his professional career, earning his 10th win.

In the first quarterfinal fight of the Season 6 Welterweight Tournament, Bellator veteran Ben Saunders wanted to erase the disappointment of his last fight in the Season 5 Tournament Championship against Douglas Lima while promotional newcomer Raul Amaya was looking to keep his undefeated record intact while making a name for himself at the expense of “Killa B.” While Raul Amaya showcased his toughness and heart, ultimately, it was the dominant ground game of Ben Saunders that proved to be the difference in the fight. Saunders was aggressive, threatening with submissions through all 3 rounds and punishing Amaya with punches and elbows to the face and body. When the final bell sounded, it was expected that Ben Saunders would earn the unanimous decision victory, which he did.

“He was tough as hell,” said Saunders. “I gave him respect after. Kid fought to the end.”

Ben Saunders improves his record to 13-4 with the unanimous decision victory and advances to the semifinals of the Season 6 Welterweight Tournament. Amaya loses for the first time in his professional career as he falls to 9-1.

The semifinals of the Bellator Season Six Welterweight Tournament will feature Ben Saunders taking on Bryan Baker, while Karl Amoussou will take on David Rickels on May 4th from Casino Rama.

For more information, visit Bellator.com, follow Bellator on Twitter @BellatorMMA or on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/Bellator

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