Friday, April 20, 2012, Bellator Fighting Championships went live from the I-X Center in Cleveland, Ohio, for Bellator 66 – Alvarez vs. Aoki, which featured a lightweight super-fight between former promotion champion, Eddie Alvarez, and current DREAM champ, Shinya Aoki.
Also contested on the card, the semi-final round for two Season Six division tournaments were decided. The lightweight bracket saw Thiago Michel and Brent Weedman do battle, as well as Rick Hawn and Lloyd Woodard; later in the evening, middleweight tournament competitors Maiquel Falcao and Vyacheslav Vasilevsky went toe-to-toe, before Brian Rogers and Andreas Spang came to blows in the co-main event.
Despite extensive work on his stand-up skills at Reign MMA in Singapore, Shinya Aoki was no match for the former Bellator lightweight champion on his feet. Stalking his foe, Alvarez backed Aoki against the cage and when the Japanese star decided to close the distance, a series of short uppercuts floored the DREAM champion; but the real damage came shortly afterwards, when a lounging Alvarez followed Aoki to the mat, tagging him with a huge right hand that would force the submission specialist to cover-up in defense. The ensuing ground and pound would bring about a swift end to contest, as Alvarez avenged his second career loss in devastating fashion, stopping Aoki on strikes at 2:14 of the opening round.
Middleweight tournament late-replacement, Andreas Spang, shocked those in attendance; first by surviving the powerful strikes thrown his way by tournament veteran and local favorite Brian Rogers, then by knocking out the explosive striker with a well-place counter left hand. Spang, who entered the bracket not two weeks ago, now finds himself in the Season Six Tournament finals where he will meet Brazilian bomber, Maiquel Falcao. main-card video highlights HERE.
MAIN CARD (MTV2)
Eddie Alvarez def. Shinya Aoki via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 2:14
Middleweight Tournament Semifinals
Andreas Spang def. Brian Rogers via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 3:34
Maiquel Falcao def. Vyacheslav Vasilevsky via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-29)
Lightweight Tournament Semifinals
Rick Hawn def. Lloyd Woodard via KO (punch) – Round 2, 0:10
Brent Weedman def. Thiago Michel via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com)
Jessica Eye def. Anita Rodriguez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
John Hawk def. Marcus Vanttinen via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Attila Vegh def. Dan Spohn via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Frank Carabello def. Donny Walker via knockout (flying knee) – Round 4, 2:25
Julian Lane def. Joe Heiland via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 2:49