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Bellator 63 Preview

by Michael Roberts   March 29, 2012 at 12:00AM  |  Views: 3,076
Bellator 63 Preview Photo


Fresh off an incredible start to the lightweight tournament, Season 6 of Bellator Fighting Championships returns this Friday with the welterweight tournament quarterfinals. Stacked with debuting international talent looking to flourish on the big stage and promotional vets looking for tournament redemption, the 170-pound tournament has all the makings for memorable scraps. Catch Bellator 63 Friday, March 30th starting with the prelims live on BellatorLive.Spike.com starting at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT and continuing with the main card on MTV2 and Epix2 at 8/7c.

When Chris Lozano and Karl Amoussou clash in the feature quarterfinal fight, fans can expect a brawl from the start. Amoussou arrived in Bellator last May as a heavily hyped international middleweight prospect. Despite starting strong against Sam Alvey, he faded late and lost a split decision. After dropping down to 175 pounds last November, "Psycho" dispatched of Jesus Martinez in less than a round and reminded everyone why he is a force to be reckoned with. With some of the nastiest ground and pound in the sport, it's no surprise 11 of Amoussou's 13 wins are finishes. When he clashes with Lozano, he'll meet a like-minded foe willing to scrap. Last season "The Cleveland Assassin" reigned victorious in a tremendously exciting three-rounder against Brent Weedman in the quarterfinals, before meeting Douglas Lima in the semis. After standing toe-to-toe with Lima throughout the first round, he was on the wrong end of a vicious knockout. Following the loss, the Ohio native made the move to New Mexico and Greg Jackson's camp. A revamped Lozano is ready for another tournament run.

Ben Saunders returns to Bellator looking for tournament redemption and standing in his way is unbeaten Raul Amaya. Entering his promotional debut a perfect 9-0 after making his mark on the Florida scene, Amaya has everything, on paper, to ask of a prospect. He's passed his early tests with flying colors, finishing each of his opponents. "Smash Mode" possesses power in his hands and is able to use his wrestling to push a furious pace. The only question is how will he respond against an opponent like Saunders, but that's why they enter the big leagues. Amaya is taking a tremendous leap up in competition against Saunders. Aside from his shocking loss to Lima, the UFC veteran and Season 5 tournament finalist has looked nothing short of spectacular in Bellator. His finish of Chris Cisneros reminded everyone why "Killa-B"'s knees are some of the most feared in MMA and his submission of Luis Santos displayed the ever-improving grappling of the American Top Team product. His lengthy frame and vicious Muay Thai makes him a handful for anyone at 170. Having advanced to the finals last season, Saunders envisions a clean sweep in his second appearance.

Another quarterfinal fight sees Bryan Baker make his welterweight debut against promotional newcomer Carlos Alexandre Pereira. The Brazilian makes his Bellator debut riding a huge wave of momentum. Pereira has only tasted defeat once in his previous 17 outings, and his last five wins are all finishes. His takedown defense remains one of the few areas in need of development. Before entering Bellator, Santos was able to hold him down early on in their May 2011 fight before Pereira battled back to force a draw. On the feet is where he is at home, as the Shooto South American 183-pound champion has earned knockouts in 22 of his 33 wins. When Baker returns to Bellator, he'll be trimmed down at 170. Always the smaller guy in the cage, "The Beast" still found success that saw him compile a 5-2 Bellator record at middleweight. After a disappointing loss to Vitor Vianna in last season's semis, the leukemia survivor followed Lozano's lead and set up shop at Jackson's. Refocused and at a new weight, Baker feels everything is aligned for his championship run.

Rounding out the quarterfinals is a match-up between David Rickels and Jordan Smith. When Brian Foster, Rickels' original opponent, was not medically cleared to fight, Smith jumped at the chance to enter the tournament as a late replacement. The southpaw striker has racked up a 17-2-1 record, including a 2011 victory over Karo Parisyan. His most recent outing saw him batter Josh McDonald with smooth combinations en route to a lopsided win. Though the Utah native has never been submitted, Rickels will be his stiffest grappling test to date. Rickels has a habit of ending up on his back, but that seems more than fine for the Kansas native. His three Bellator appearances have all ended by his trademark triangle, which he has used in five of his nine wins. "The Caveman" hasn't recorded a knockout win since his debut in 2010, so Rickels pulling guard won't be surprising if "Mata Ele" gets the better striking early.

Before the tournament airs live on MTV2 and in HD on Epix2, Spike.com brings you the prelims live at BellatorLive.Spike.com. In a rematch of one of the more shocking comebacks in Bellator history, Dan Crammer faces Jeff Nader, who survived two 10-8 rounds in their first meeting before earning a memorable third-round finish. Saul Almedia returns to Bellator for the first time since August of 2011, and meets Matt Bessette in a battle of northeast locals. TUF alumnus Marc Stevens clashes with Ryan Quinn, who recorded an impressive first-round submission win in his last Bellator fight. Check out the full Bellator 62 card right here.

Catch the prelims live at BellatorLive.Spike.com starting at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT
Catch the main card live on MTV2 and in HD on Epix2 at 8/7c
Catch more live fights at BellatorLive.Spike.com at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

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