Saad Awad is that guy in Bellator’s season-eight lightweight tournament.

He’s the guy who comes out of nowhere. The complete underdog. The guy who flies under the radar. The guy who comes up big against the tournament’s top fighters.

Almost nobody saw Awad coming. And with his record and skill set, he may just be the one to sneak in and win the whole thing.

Awad received little to no love his last fight, with fans unanimously voting that Will Brooks would beat him in their semifinal match-up. A whopping 92 percent—this writer included—voted for Brooks, but, in the first round, Awad threw a great shot that ended Brooks’ tournament run early.

Now Awad is set to face David Rickels, who also has an upset win under his belt during this tournament. Rickels scored a minor upset in the tourney’s quarterfinals when he took a unanimous decision over Lloyd Woodard.

Awad has been on a remarkable run lately and is unbeaten in his last six fights. That streak is even more remarkable when you take into account the fact that all of his wins have come by either submission or knockout. Not only that, but just one of his fights has gone past the first round.

Having fought five times in the last year has its positives for Awad in regards to this tournament run. He has been fighting constantly for the last year, and one more fight only a month removed from his last one is something to which Awad has grown accustomed. That is not a common trait for most fighters.

The lightweight is a fighter’s fighter, having replaced Patricky Freire when Freire fell out of the tournament a week before his fight. Awad’s striking has taken the tournament by storm. None of his last four opponents have been able to last more than a minute and a half, and it isn’t surprising why.

Awad’s striking is made even better when you take into account the sheer amount of power that comes from his hands. He throws dangerous strikes that nobody has recently been able to avoid.

Awad can be a superstar in Bellator, even though he shares a division with champion Michael Chandler. He isn’t at the same level as Chandler, though, and even if he wins the tournament, he doesn’t have a great shot at defeating the champ. That aside, he is a very exciting fighter and can be a dangerous component to any future tournament.

While he is yet to be a champion under the Bellator banner, Awad has vastly improved in all aspects since his last loss in 2011. He is just hitting his prime now at age 29, and, in the course of just his last six fights, he definitely has shown that he is ready for the big show.

This tournament final will be a great fight not only for fans, but also for Awad, who can showcase in the main event on one of the last cards of season eight that his power and skills are some of the best Bellator has to offer.

Photo: Saad Awad (Will Fox/Sherdog)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.