On Friday, Sept. 27, Bellator hosted its 101st event from the Moda Center in Portland, Ore.

The night’s main event featured the second half of the bantamweight tournament semifinals between former featherweight champion Joe Warren and Nick Kirk. The winner will take on Travis Marx later this year to determine who will get the next crack at current champion Eduardo Dantas.

Also on the main card, the season nine lightweight tournament kicked off with eight combatants looking to earn a title shot and $100,000. The lineup included numerous UFC veterans and rising prospects as hard-hitting Marcus Davis took on Russian Alexander “Tiger” Sarnavskiy, veteran John Alessio made his promotional debut against Will Brooks, grappling ace Rich Clementi took on Brazilian Ricardo Tirloni, and season eight finalist Saad Awad returns to face Martin Stapleton.

The main card aired live on Spike TV beginning at 9 p.m. ET, with the undercard streaming live on Spike.com at 7 p.m. ET.

Warren submits Kirk, moves to bantamweight tournament final

Former Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren moved to the bantamweight finals with a second-round submission win over Nick Kirk.

The bantamweights traded early and Warren looked to bring the fight to the ground. Kirk shrugged off Warren’s first shot, but Warren closed the distance and pressed the fight against the fence. The pair scrambled wildly in the center of the cage but returned to the feet. Warren missed with a flying knee midway through the frame. Warren secured a double-leg takedown and moved to half guard along the cage. Kirk worked back to his feet, but Warren continued to look to grapple. Warren again put Kirk on his back and moved the mount. Warren rained short shots at the end of the round.

Round two opened with Warren landing yet another takedown. The wrestling stalwart landed in half guard and dropped right hands from the top position. Warren moved to the mounted crucifix and then took Kirk’s back. Kirk was forced to defend a reverse triangle-armbar attack from Warren and was forced to tap as Warren torqued Kirk’s shoulder.

Sarnavskiy throttles Davis

Talented Russian Alexander “Tiger” Sarnavskiy wasted little time to submit UFC veteran Marcus Davis and secure the fourth and final spot in the lightweight semifinals.

Sarnavskiy scored with a big right hand early that dropped Davis. The Russian quickly took Davis’ back and rained heavy shots. Davis covered up but was clearly hurt from the punch. Sarnavskiy flattened Davis out and secured a rear-naked choke that forced the veteran to tap.

Tirloni outworks Clementi

Brazilian Ricardo Tirloni became the third semifinalist in the lightweight tournament with a decision win over veteran Rich Clementi.

Tirloni missed with a head kick attempt in the opening minute, but Clementi could not capitalize. A second attempt opened a large cut over the right eye of Clementi. The Brazilian targeted the cut with his lead, left hook. The veteran Clementi answered with a spinning back kick that slowed Tirloni’s advance. Clementi threw an axe kick, but Tirloni avoided the strike. Tirloni scored with his hands as the round concluded.

Round two opened with more boxing from Tirloni. Clementi looked to counter, but Tirloni scored repeatedly with his lead hook. Clementi fired back with single shots, but he couldn’t string together any combinations. Clementi looked for a trip takedown late in the frame, but ran out of time.

More strikes ensued in round three, until Tirloni scored with a trip takedown. Clementi looked for rubber guard off his back, but Tirloni remained calm from the top position. Down on the scorecards, Clementi rolled for a leg lock in the final minute of the fight. Tirloni escaped the submission hold, but Clementi was able to return to his feet as the fight went the distance.

Brooks dominates Alessio

Will Brooks spoiled the promotional debut of UFC veteran John Alessio and earned a semifinal spot with a dominant decision win.

It was a slow feeling out process to start the fight. Brooks scored with a head kick, but Alessio shrugged it off. Brooks followed with a big knee, but Alessio took it well and scored with a takedown. Alessio moved to side control but Brooks exploded back to his feet. Brooks delivered short shots from close quarters as Alessio continued to look for a takedown. Alessio latched onto a guillotine and pulled guard, but Brooks escaped into top position. Alessio managed to get back to his feet in the round’s final minute, but was quickly planted on the canvas by Brooks to close out the frame.

Brooks opened round two looking for another head kick, but connected with the ribs of Alessio. The pair traded takedown attempts but it was Brooks that put Alessio on his back against the fence. When Alessio returned to his feet, he fired off combinations but Brooks defended well and looked for a takedown. Alessio again attacked with a guillotine choke and pulled guard, but Brooks easily escaped and went to work from the top position. The lack of activity prompted the referee to return the fight to standing where Alessio delivered a big right hand, but Brooks again brought the fight to the mat. Brooks moved to full mount in the final minute of the frame and took Alessio’s back. Alessio avoided the rear-naked choke until the bell sounded.

After trading kicks, Brooks earned a trip takedown early in round three. Brooks continued his control, taking the Canadian’s back once again. Alessio showed resolve, escaping and returning the fight to the feet with two minutes remaining, but failed to bring the fight to the ground. Brooks connected with a huge knee that split Alessio’s left cheek wide open and blood poured all over the canvas. Brooks searched for the finish, but Alessio managed to survive along the fence.

On the scorecards, Brooks took a lopsided decision win.

Awad chokes Stapleton

Season eight finalist Saad Awad became the first semifinalist in the season nine lightweight tournament with a first-round submission win over Martin Stapleton.

Stapleton looked to close the distance early, but ate a big right hand from Awad. The Brit continued to push the action and scored with a single-leg along the fence. Awad reversed the position and looked to work from the top position. Midway through the round Awad moved to the mount and took Stapleton’s back. Despite Stapleton’s attempts to defend the rear-naked choke, Awad coerced a tap before the round closed.

Joe Warren def. Nick Kirk by submission (armbar). Round 2, 3:03 – bantamweight tournament semifinal
Alexander “Tiger” Sarnavskiy def. Marcus Davis by submisison (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 1:40 – lightweight tournament quarterfinal
Ricardo Tirloni def. Rich Clementi by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27) – lightweight tournament quarterfinal
Will Brooks def. John Alessio by unanimous decision (30-26. 30-27, 30-25) – lightweight tournament quarterfinal
Saad Awad def. Martin Stapleton by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:46 – lightweight tournament quarterfinal
Nathan Coy def. Andy Uhrich by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Marcin Held def. Ryan Healy by knockout (punches). Round 1, 1:12
Dave Vitkay def. Tyson Jeffries by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 3, 3:07
Brent Primus def. Scott Thometz by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:48
Austin Springer def. Zach Skinner by unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-28)
Peter Aspinwall def. Jeremiah Riggs by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Photo: Joe Warren (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

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