On Friday, Feb. 28, Bellator MMA hosted its 110th event from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

The event featured the opening round of the promotion’s season 10 light heavyweight and featherweight tournaments. In the night’s top billing, former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson battled former Bellator title holder Christian M’Pumbu. Jackson signed with the promotion late last year and picked up a first-round TKO of Joey Beltran. M’Pumbu, meanwhile, had been out of action for a year after losing his belt to current champion Attila Vegh.

The other half of the 205-pound ladder featured former Strikeforce champion Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal against Russian Mikhail Zayats. Lawal looked to bounce back from an interim title bout defeat at the hands of Emanuel Newton, while Zayats hoped to build off the momentum of submitting UFC veteran Aaron Rosa at Bellator 103.

In the eight-man featherweight bracket, UFC veteran Diego Nunes met Matt Bessette, Goiti Yamauchi clashed with Will Martinez, Mike Richman entered his third 145-pound tournament against Desmond Green, and Daniel Weichel locked horns with Scott Cleve.

The 11-fight event kicked off at 6:30 p.m. ET with the preliminary card streaming on Spike.com. The four-fight main card began at 9 p.m. ET, live on Spike TV.

“Rampage” demolishes M’Pumbu

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson made a statement with a first-round knockout of former Bellator champ Christian M’Pumbu to earn a spot in the season 10 light heavyweight tournament final.

The fight didn’t start out that great. Jackson continually dropped his hands to bait his opponent, but M’Pumbu didn’t fall for it. Rampage landed a nice flury, but M’Pumbu managed to hold Jackson against the cage for a bit. Out of nowhere, Rampage landed a huge left that dropped his opponent. He finished M’Pumbu with vicious ground and pound.

“King Mo” grinds out Zayats

Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal got back in the win column by outworking Mikhail Zayats and earning a spot in the 205-pound tournament final.

For what little action there was in this fight, most of it was from Lawal’s end. The first round was very much a preview of the following two with Lawal taking the center of the ring, and Zayats circling outside. Lawal would look occasionally for a single or double, and press Zayats up against the fence, but he was never able to put Zayats on his back.

The following two rounds were more of the same. As time went on, Mo looked more and more fatigued, as he was drenched in sweat and continuously dropped his hands. There were moments when both fighters would flurry, but neither seemed to land. The crowd was very unimpressed, but either way, Mo walked away with a win.

Bessette gets split decision over Nunes

Hometown fighter Matt Bessette eked out a decision win over UFC veteran Diego Nunes to punch his ticket to the featherweight tournament semifinals.

Nunes started the fight by being aggressive, but Bessette was able to create some distance and start working leg kicks. Both fighters continued to look for the headkick. Nunes was able to press Bessette up against the cage and hold him there. Bessette threw a leg kick that Nunes was able to turn into a takedown, and smother his opponent.

The second round was when Bessette was able to find his rhythm. Nunes, once again, came out aggressive and stifled Bessette in the begining, but the momentum changed once Bessette landed a monster right hand that sent his opponent staggering backwards.

The last round was extremely competitive. Like the rest of the fight, Nunes certainly was controlling the pace at the start, but Bessette came alive at the end. Nunes just seemed faster in most exchanges, but nearing the closing bell Bessette landed some wild hooks and a big head kick. Questionable judging, but the hometown hero still walks away the winner, and progresses in the tournament.

Green outperforms Richman

Desmond Green surprised tournament veteran Mike Richman and moved to the featherweight tournament semifinals with a a decision win.

Both fighters immediately came to the center of the ring, and spent a decent amount of time trying to find their range. Green spent the majority of the round circling on the outside looking for counters, while Richman took the center pumping his jab. After a couple failed takedown attempts, Green finally grabbed a kick and took it down to the mat, and gave Richman a bloody nose for his troubles.

In the second round, Green was able to really get his ground game going and spent most of the time in side control. While, he Green did not inflict that much damage, it was clearly a dominant round for the “The Predator”.

The last round was mostly Richman pumping his jab chasing Green around the ring. Green seemed to take his foot off the gas and was happy to advance to the next phase of the tournament by decision win.

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson def. Christian M’Pumbu by knockout (strikes) Round 1, 4:34 – light heavyweight tournament semifinal
Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal def. Mikhail Zayats by unanimous decision (30-27 x3) – light heavyweight tournament semifinal
Matt Bessette def. Diego Nunes by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29) – featherweight tournament quarterfinal
Desmond Green def. Mike Richman by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2) – featherweight tournament quarterfinal
Will Martinez def. Goiti Yamauchi by unanimous decision (30-27 x3) – featherweight tournament quarterfinal
Daniel Weichel def. Scott Cleve by submission (rear-naked choke) Round 1, 3:46 – featherweight tournament quarterfinal
Saul Almeida def. Andrew Fisher by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Egidijus Valavicius def. Atanas Djambazov by knockout (knee and punches) Round 1, 0:48
Ryan Quinn def. Andrew Calandrelli by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Josh Diekman vs. Manny Lara declared a no-contest (unintentional eye poke) Round 1,  0:18
Marvin Maldonado vs. Rico DiSciullo declared a no-contest (unintentional knees to downed opponent) Round 1, 1:53

About The Author

Zach Miller
Staff Writer

Zach is a Boston native and has had a fascination with martial arts since playing Mortal Kombat at five years old. He was introduced to MMA after watching The Ultimate Fighter 5: Team Pulver vs. Team Penn. A recent graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Zach seeks to one day become a full-time MMA journalist. In addition to watching the sport, he has also trained in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, kickboxing, and tae kwon do. Zach has also written for NortheastMMA.