On Friday, Oct. 25, Bellator MMA returned to Rio Rancho, N.M., to host its 105th event from the Santa Ana Star Center.

In the night’s main event, lightweights Saad Awad and Will Brooks clashed for a second time, with each looking to punch their ticket to the promotion’s season-nine tournament final. Awad did just that in the pair’s first meeting at Bellator 91 in February, knocking out Brooks in just 43 seconds. However, Awad fell short in his quest for the $100,000 prize and guaranteed title shot, falling victim to David Rickels in the season-eight final. Brooks, meanwhile, rebounded from the first loss of his career with wins over Cris Leyva and UFC veteran John Alessio to set up the rematch.

The other half of the 155-pound bracket featured a battle between Russain Alexander “Tiger” Sarnavskiy and Brazilian Ricardo Tirloni. Also on the Spike-broadcast main card was a heavyweight clash between “Mighty Mo” Siala-Mou Siliga and veteran Ron Sparks, as well as a middleweight contest between Keith Berry and Eugene Fadiora.

The four-fight main card kicked off at 9 p.m. ET on Spike TV. The seven preliminary card bouts streamed live on Spike.com starting at 7 p.m. ET.

Brooks outworks Awad, claims spot in lightweight tournament final

In the evening’s headlining bout, Saad Awad and Will Brooks squared off in a rematch of a Bellator 91 fight in which Awad needed just 43 seconds to knock out Brooks. This time around, however, it would be Brooks who would take a unanimous decision victory.

After the two start out tentatively on the feet, Brooks scored the takedown and worked from side control. Brooks delivered two knees to the body and looked to land punches. Awad wall-walked his way out of the position and took advantage of a Brooks flurry to sneak out the back door and end up on top of Brooks. Awad transitioned to mount, but Brooks powered his way out and ended up back on top. Brooks worked from Awad’s guard, then stood up and tried to connect with big punches. After a scramble, Brooks ended up in side control. Brooks secured the crucifix and landed several punches before Awad got his arm free just seconds prior to the bell.

Brooks and Awad taunted each other in the opening seconds of the second frame. Brooks whiffed with a big punch, threw a kick that landed and then shot for a takedown. Awad looked to cinch up a guillotine choke, but Brooks defended and ended up on top in Awad’s half guard. The two scrambled and returned to their feet, where they started throwing wild punches that missed their mark. Brooks shot in for a single-leg and scored the takedown. Brooks maintained top position, but did very little in the way of offense, other than a series of punches to the body. Brooks stood up and Awad grazed him with a series of upkicks. Brooks moved back into Awad’s guard and found himself in a triangle choke, but Awad couldn’t finish the submission before the bell sounded.

The two hugged to start the third and final stanza. Awad appeared to be gassing as Brooks landed occasional leg kicks and jabs. Brooks sought a takedown, but Awad reversed and landed on top in the half guard of Brooks. Brooks regained his feet and took Awad’s back, landing some strikes before the two separated. Awad taunted Brooks and lunged at him with a haymaker, but as Awad continued to taunt, Brooks shot in for another successful takedown. After a period of inactivity, the referee stood the two warriors up. Brooks answered the stand-up with another takedown and worked from side control, landing a big knee and looking for a suplex with no luck as the fight came to a conclusion.

The three judges scoring the fight awarded all three rounds to Brooks for the unanimous decision win. With the victory, Brooks moves on to a lightweight tournament final match-up with Alexander Sarnavskiy.

Sarnavskiy quickly dispatches of Tirloni, moves to lightweight tournament final

In the first of the evening’s two lightweight tournament bouts, Alexander “Tiger” Sarnavskiy took on Ricardo Tirloni.

Sarnavskiy scored early with a spinning back fist and then attacked a rattled Tirloni. Tirloni defended well and regained his composure. Sarnavskiy, however, worked his way into position and slapped on a triangle choke. The Brazilian couldn’t get free and was forced to tap at just 1:08 of the first round. With the victory, the Russian advances to the tournament finals.

Mighty Mo submits Sparks

Mighty Mo may be known for his striking, but it was his grappling that did the trick against fellow heavyweight Ron Sparks.

Sparks shot for a takedown to open the fight, but Mo stuffed it and ended up in side control. Mo looked to throw right hands as Sparks grabbed at Mo’s arm to block the strikes. Mo locked up Sparks’ left arm in a crucifix and then attacked the right arm with a keylock, coaxing a tapout from Sparks just 2:52 into the opening stanza.

Fadiora batters Berry

Middleweights Keith Berry and Eugene Fadiora kicked off the Spike telecast.

Berry came out swinging in the opening round, but Fadiora pressed him against the cage and then took him to the mat. Berry worked his way back to his feet, but Fadiora maintained the clinch and put Berry back on the canvas. Fadiora threw elbows from the top and looked to advance his position. Berry attempted a triangle, but was forced to release it when Fadiora stood up in preparation for a slam. A bloodied Berry eventually found his way back to his feet and the fighters separated. Berry came forward with haymakers, but Fadiora landed with crisper strikes.

Fadiora tagged Berry with a pair of right hands early in the second stanza. He pressed Berry against the cage, but couldn’t do anything. Berry surged forward and landed, but Fadiora tied him up and scored a takedown. Fadiora landed elbows from Berry’s half guard. The Brit continued to land elbows after moving to side control. Fadiora caught Berry in a crucifix and rained down with more elbows. Berry fought his way out, but quickly found himself back in a similar position. Fadiora continued to attack with elbows until referee Rob Hinds called a halt to the contest at the 4:19 mark of the second round, giving Fadiora the TKO victory.

FULL RESULTS
Will Brooks def. Saad Awad by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) – lightweight tournament semifinal
Alexander Sarnavskiy def. Ricardo Tirloni by submission (triangle choke). Round 1, 1:08 – lightweight tournament semifinal
“Mighty Mo” Siala-Mou Siliga def. Ron Sparks by submission (keylock). Round 1, 2:52
Eugene Fadiora def. Keith Berry by TKO (strikes). Round 2, 4:19
Desmond Green def. Angelo Sanchez by TKO (doctor’s stoppage – cut). Round 2, 1:04
Raphael Butler def. Joseph Bryant by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 1:04
Volkan Oezdemir def. Josh Lanier by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 3:13
Luis Nogueira def. Frank Baca by submission (arm-triangle choke). Round 1, 4:41
Eddie Larrea def. Rocky Ramirez by submission (heel hook). Round 2, 1:45
Steve Garcia def. Shawn Bunch by TKO (strikes). Round 3, 3:29
Jesse Brock def. Adrian Cruz by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Photo: Will Brooks (L) celebrates (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)