Good Blasts De La Cruz, Takes Bellator Welterweight Tourney

By Jack Encarnacao Jun 13, 2009
UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Lyman Good became the first welterweight champion of the Bellator Fighting Championships on Friday night in a performance that showcased his considerable power.

The 23-year-old Good, now 10-0, promptly dragged Omar de la Cruz to the mat, pinned him up against the fence and opened up with heavy punches from inside the Dominican’s guard until the referee stepped in just under two minutes into the bout. Good collected a $100,000 payday and a big gold belt for his efforts. Good had previously earned an additional $75,000 in the tournament's earlier brackets.

“I trained very, very hard from the beginning,” Good said. “I knew going into this I had to be extremely prepared. My game plan was just to go out there and be aggressive.” Good added that his corner instructed him to “just be vicious, win the fight.”

Good, raised in Spanish Harlem and something of a Bellator poster boy, got the night’s largest reaction from the crowd, which included a large contingent from the New Jersey-based Tiger Schulmann MMA gym. De La Cruz, about the only notable mixed martial artist to come out of the Dominican Republic, was cornered by Brandon Vera.

The title bout capped the second-to-last event of Bellator’s inaugural 12-week season in front of about 3,500 fans in the Mohegan Sun Arena. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said ticket sales were up 35 percent compared to the show’s premiere show at Mohegan in April

Second from the top, International Fight League veteran Jake Ellenberger picked up a 42-second win over Marcelo Alfaya, of Miami, in a 175-pound catch-weight fight. Ellenberger dropped Alfaya with a hard right hook and rained down direct shots for the knockout. Alfaya was alert but taken out on a stretcher as a precaution.

Ellenberger was a last-minute replacement and flew in Friday morning from Oregon, Rebney said. Illinois-based Dan Hornbuckle was not allowed to fight because “his medicals were a mess,” Rebney said. Ellenberger was the second replacement called. The first, Harvard University assistant wrestling coach Muzaffar Abdurakhmanov, failed a pre-fight medical test. Rebney said he was unsure which test Abdurakhmanov failed.

The card also featured the third pro MMA effort by Igor Gracie, son of Rolls Gracie and a Gracie Barra jiu-jitsu black belt. He was handed his second defeat by Florida-based welterweight Vagner Rocha in a dull affair. Gracie’s footwork got the crowd a bit restless until he managed to shoot in for a double-leg pick-up and running slam. Gracie struggled off his back for a good portion of the second stanza, and had trouble getting much going in the third. The crowd booed heavily in the closing seconds. One judge gave it to Rocha 29-28, while the other two scored it 30-27.

In the night’s candidate to make the latest YouTube highlight, bantamweight Nick Pace placed a graceful flying knee squarely upon the chin of Collin Tebo for a first-round knockout.

Uriah Hall, a 24-year-old middleweight out of Long Island, got in plenty of quality ring time in his second pro fight. The muay Thai stylist unloaded all manner of spinning kicks and fists on Tijuana-based Edwin Aguilar in a fashion that captivated the crowd. The referee stepped in during a third-round blitz.

In other bouts:

Justin Torrey def. Matt Makowski -- Unanimous Decision
Jimmie Rivera def. Nick Garcia -- Unanimous Decision
Dave Branch def. Dennis Olsen -- Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) 2:27 R1
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