Bellator Fighting Championships kicked off another lightweight tournament on Thursday, Jan. 31, from the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant, Mich. With champion Michael Chandler coming off a title defense against Rick Hawn, eight men battled to get one step closer to a future title shot and $100,000.

In the main event David Rickels took on Lloyd Woodard in a quarterfinal bout, while the main card also featured Will Brooks battling Ricardo Tirloni, Saad Awad stepping in to fight Guillaume DeLorenzi and Alexander Sarnavskiy vs. Thiago Michel.

The main card aired on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET, with the prelims streaming on

Rickels edges out Woodard

With a shift in the card, David Rickels and Lloyd Woodard were promoted to the main event on Thursday.

After not touching gloves, the two men came out looking to scrap. Woodard came forward hoping to get the fight on the ground, and did so by taking Rickels down. “Cupcake” transitioned to many positions, but Rickels worked for submission off his back.

Rickels came out in the second round by taking the early momentum, using his hands and knees to target Woodard. But Woodard landed a straight punch that stumbled Rickels, which allowed Woodard to regain his top position. Rickels continued to try and make use of offense while on bottom, and landed solid punches while standing, but Woodard found a hole again for a late takedown to end the round.

Woodard appeared fatigued following round two and as round three began, which opened the door for Rickels. Rickels clearly took the last round by landing punches and applying pressure to Woodard.

The judges scored round one to Woodard, with the other two going to Rickels, giving him a unanimous decision win.

Brooks advances with a clear-cut decision win over Tirloni

One of the top up-and-coming fighters in the Bellator lightweight division Will Brooks took on Ricardo Tirloni to determine who would become one step closer to receiving a title shot.

The lightweights started off early by working to take control. Round one was very even on the feet and each had their moments on the ground. Brooks stayed on top the majority of the round, but Tirloni put his legs up to try and lock up a triangle. Brooks put his head where Tirloni could wrap his legs around his neck, but survived and gave him an early edge by winning the striking exchanges.

Brooks got on top of Tirloni to begin round two and worked to land shots. Tirloni looked to set up a guillotine choke from the bottom, but Brooks escaped and stayed in top position. The fight returned to the feet in the final minute of the round and finished off with a takedown attempt by Tirloni.

Brooks stayed smart knowing he was up on the scorecards, and stayed on top of Tirloni for over half of the final round. Tirloni tried to work for a submission with seconds remaining, but was too late.

All three judges scored the bout 30-27, allowing Brooks to advance after an emotional win.

Awad upsets DeLorenzi in just 31 seconds

With Patricky Freire forced out due to injury, Saad Awad came in on days notice to take on Guillaume DeLorenzi.

Awad capitalized on the opportunity by upsetting DeLorenzi with a 31-second knockout.

Awad wasted no times by coming forward and loading up with haymakers. DeLorenzi was caught as his eyes rolled back, which caused the referee to stop the bout.

Sarnavskiy submits Michel

In the opening lightweight tournament quarterfinal bout of the evening, Alexander “Tiger” Sarnavskiy picked up a win over Thiago Michel to advance to the lightweight semifinals.

Sarnavskiy rocked Michel on the feet early, but did not capitalize on the punch. Instead, the Russian controlled the pace on the feet for the majority of round one until Michel got a late takedown and choke attempt as the clock ran out.

The pace slowed in the second as both men battled for position. As the fight went to the ground, “Tiger” was able to take the back of Michel and finish the fight with a rear-naked choke.

David Rickels def. Lloyd Woodard by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Will Brooks def. Ricardo Tirloni by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Saad Awad def. Guillaume DeLorenzi by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 0:31
Alexander Sarnavskiy def. Thiago Michel by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 3:43
Jason Fischer def. Sevak Magakian by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:37
Karl Etherington def. Jason Fish by verbal submission (strikes). Round 1, 3:45
Amir Khillah def. John Schulz by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 4:34
James Reese def. David Shepherd by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Sam Quito def. Ben Lagman by submission (kneebar). Round 1, 3:54
Tony Zelinski def. Nick Kirk by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

Photo: David Rickels (L) stares down Lloyd Woodard (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.