Bellator Fighting Championships third season kicked-off on Thursday night, and four main-card fighters delivered impressive action from start to finish.
Tournament participants Jessica Aguilar, Megumi Fujii and Neil Grove all advanced via stoppage victories, and middleweight champion Hector Lombard also picked up another win at Bellator 24, which took place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
The action aired on FOX Sports Net.
In the evening's featured contest, a female tourney quarterfinal affair, Aguilar out-grappled opponent Lynn Alvarez en route to a first-round submission win. The pair traded shots on the feet briefly, but Aguilar moved into the clinch and quickly worked the fight to the ground. From there, the end appeared inevitable.
Aguilar scrambled well underneath and regained guard a few times, even as Alvarez looked to move to side control. But Aguilar showed an obvious preference for an arm-triangle choke and looked for the hold no less than three times. Alvarez defended the first two attempts with ease, but she could not escape from bottom position. Aguilar took advantage of the dominant spot and finally forced the tap with her final choke attempt.
With her sixth career submission win, Aguilar (9-3 MMA, 1-0 BFC) advances to Bellator's first-ever female tourney semifinals. Alvarez (5-2 MMA, 0-1 BFC) sees a four-fight win streak brought to a halt.
Advertised as a judoka, it may be time to revisit stylistic descriptions of Bellator's middleweight champion. Lombard needed just 38 seconds to dispatch of NFL veteran Herbert "Whisper" Goodman in a non-title affair.
* Jessica Aguilar def. Lynn Alvarez via submission (arm-triangle choke) - Round 1, 4:01
* Hector Lombard def. Herbert Goodman via knockout (punches) - Round 1, 0:38
* Megumi Fujii def. Carla Esparza via submission (armbar) - Round 2, 0:57
* Neil Grove def. Eddie Sanchez via TKO (referee stoppage) - Round 1, 1:32
* Eric Luke vs. Frankhad Sharipov*
* Yves Edwards def. Luis Palomino via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)*
* Tulio Quintanilla def. Brian Eckstein via knockout (punches) – Round 3, 2:48
* - Bout contested following main event
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