Saunders knocks out Amaya with head kick to advance to welterweight finals
Raul Amaya was looking for revenge. Ben Saunders was looking to make good on a promise. Only one could get what he wanted, and it was Saunders.
Saunders regretted not getting a finish against Amaya the first time they fought this past March. He said he wanted to get a finish on Thursday. And get a finish, he did.
With a big head kick in the first round, Saunders knocked out Amaya to advance to the Season 8 welterweight tournament finals.
Both fighters looked to open up their kicking game early, but it was Amaya staying outside trying to keep distance from Saunders. He tried to work his way inside, but wasn't able to land anything heavy early. Saunders stayed patient in the first half of the fight, but did eat a few decent punches from Amaya because of it.
But with Amaya backing up, Saunders launched a left kick right to Amaya's head – over the top of his guard, hoping to block the kick. Amaya quickly dropped to the floor, and the referee was in to stop the fight before Saunders could get off any excess and unnecessary damage.
"I'm very satisfied," Saunders said. "He's a tough opponent. He earned mad respect the first fight and mad respect in the second fight. We train it all (at American Top Team), and I kept going for the liver (with kicks). (But with the finish), I got him right on the button."
Saunders (16-5-2 MMA, 7-2 BFC) won for the third straight time and punched his ticket to another Bellator tournament final. Amaya (11-2 MMA, 2-2 BFC) had his two-fight win streak snapped. Both of his losses are to Saunders.