Eddie Alvarez and Ben Askren had big Bellator wins in Philadelphia on Thursday night. Askren won his first MMA championship, while Alvarez won a superfight over UFC veteran Roger Huerta.
Alvarez owned Huerta from the opening bell of the first round, landing leg kicks, knees, and punches. Huerta was wobbled early on, and never seemed to regain his composure. Huerta had a big strike near the end of the first round and chased Alvarez around the cage, but that and a second round takedown were about all the offense he could muster. In front of a home crowd, Alvarez thew punishing punches that made Huerta's left eye swell shut.
The injuries took their toll, and the fight was stopped after the second round by the doctors because of Huerta's vision. Since the bout was not a title fight, Alvarez's title was never in danger, but he was still happy to win in front of his home crowd.
"What a tough son-of-a ... you know," Alvarez said of Huerta after the fight. "I hit him with a lot of hard shots, and he wouldn't go down."
Ben Askren became Bellator's welterweight champion with a grappling-filled win over Lyman Good. Askren took the decision 49-46, 48-47 and 50-45
Askren showed off the style that earned him the nickname "Funky." He took the fight by taking down Lyman Good at will, and then using a mix of wrestling, jiu-jitsu and ground strikes to control Good for the entire fight.
Good had flashes of brilliance, like early in the fourth round when he landed a big punch that looked to slow Askren, but it wasn't enough. He had no answer for Askren's takedown prowess, and developed a mouse under his eye in the fourth round that hampered his vision. Good had another chance in the fifth round when he caught Askren in a combination armbar/triangle choke, but Askren calmly moved out of it.
Askren admitted after the bout that Good did considerable damage. He looked at his image on the video screen and joked about what his swollen and bruised nose.
"It's always ugly, but it ain't this damn ugly. Lyman did some damage," Askren said.
Askren was not the only Olympian on the card, as Rick Hawn had a memorable Bellator debut. The Olympian showed off his judo skills with a breathtaking throw near the end of the first round, and then followed up with a bevy of punches. He TKOed Levon Maynard with just seven seconds left in the round.