Bellator 39 Prelims: Nazare Stops Pride Veteran Azeredo

By Jack Encarnacao Apr 2, 2011
Rene Nazare (right) took a technical knockout over Luiz Azeredo. | Dave Mandel/

Undefeated lightweight prospect Rene Nazare stopped Pride Fighting Championships veteran Luiz Azeredo on the untelevised portion of Bellator 39 Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

Azeredo (15-10), had difficulty with the diverse boxing of Nazare, who was originally set to face UFC veteran Matt Veach.  Nazare closed the distance early on his opponent and used swift dirty boxing to open up a series of head and body shots. The two hit the floor and exchanged kicks and sweeps, during which Azeredo apparently injured his left wrist. The physician called a stop to the bout in between rounds due to the injury. Nazare, who defeated a young Thiago Silva in 2004, improved to 7-0 with the win.

In a welterweight contest, Ryan Quinn of American Top Team’s Connecticut affiliate took a unanimous decision over Mike Winters.

D. Mandel

Quinn (left) dominated Winters.
Both wrestlers flexed nice technique early with quick switches and a dramatic pick-up slam from Winters. The Ithaca, N.Y., native deftly used a reverse triangle attempt to counter an omoplata sweep by Quinn in the first. Quinn managed better position in the second, working to mount off a double leg and landing  punches to close the frame. Quinn had difficulty finishing several chokes he lined up on Winters (4-1) throughout the fight, but maintained dominant position throughout the third frame, earning a 10-8 score by judge Bryan Minor.

The final tallies were 30-27 (twice) and 30-26 for Quinn, now 5-2 with the win.

Lightweight Dave Jansen bounced back from two losses in the WEC Octagon to submit Team Alpha Male fighter Scott McAfee. Jansen (15-2) was characteristic in his approach, securing an early takedown and applying grinding pressure and short elbows on McAfee (10-2). With two seconds left in the first, “The Fugitive” earned the tap with a muscular D’Arce choke.

A middleweight tilt saw Dan Cramer defeat fellow “Ultimate Fighter” alumnus Greg Rebello by keeping control for most of the fight toward a unanimous decision.  

D. Mandel

Cramer (top) outpointed Rebello.
Proceedings started off slowly, with Cramer using a hip throw to get top position and keeping it for the duration of the frame. The Connecticut-based Cramer, nicknamed “Cosmo,” took the same approach in the second, though he came up swinging in the closing seconds against the Mark DellaGrotte pupil.  

Cramer found more success in the third with punches from close range, prompting Rebello to drop for a double-leg takedown. Rebello (12-2) leaned in to Cramer to limited effect in the third, and ended up taking punches while crouching near the fence as the fight came to an end.

All three cageside officials scored the contest 30-27 for Cramer, who upped his record to 5-2 with the win.

In the evening’s opening contest, Connecticut product John McLaughlin took a curious 29-28 unanimous decision over fellow local Blair Tugman.

Tugman seemed more effective and composed with his punches in the first two frames, though McLaughlin (4-0) landed solidly on a few overhand rights. Tugman took it to the floor in the third and threatened McLaughlin with a series of rear-naked choke attempts to soundly take the final round.

The announcement of the decision drew a chorus of boos from the crowd, and Tugman (5-4) sprinted backstage in frustration.

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