After being postponed for nearly two months, Joe Riggs defeated Mike Bronzoulis by unanimous decision to win a birth into the next Bellator Welterweight Tournament and $100,000.
The Bellator MMA: Fight Master final was originally scheduled to take place at Bellator 98 on Sept. 7, but Riggs suffered an eye injury in training that pushed the fight back to Saturday on the Bellator 106 main card.
Bronzoulis saw success early with leg kicks. Midway through the opening round, Riggs secured a takedown and took Bronzoulis’ back and looked to sink in a rear naked choke, but Bronzoulis defended the submission attempt.
Riggs quickly took the fight to the ground in the second frame, but Bronzoulis worked his way back to his feet. Riggs secured another takedown and immediately passed Bronzoulis’ guard into side control. He transitioned and took Bronzoulis’ back. Bronzoulis escaped out the backdoor and gained top position, but was unable to inflict damage in the closing seconds.
The third round looked much like the first two. Early in the round, Riggs slammed Bronzoulis to the canvas and took his back. Riggs was able to control Bronzoulis on the ground to take the decision. All three judges’ scorecards read 30-27.
“It means everything to me. It will take care of my family; the one thing I did this for, “ said Riggs following the win. “I’m very thankful and grateful for the opportunity. Mike fought a great fight and he had a back injury coming into this too.”
Riggs secured a birth in the next Bellator Welterwegiht Tournament and doesn’t feel he’ll face anyone tougher than Bronzoulis.
“Mike’s as hard as anybody in the tournament. I would like to get a title shot. I think I deserve one after fighting a guy like that,” said Riggs. “Bring them on baby. I’m ready.”
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- Mike Bronzoulis