UFC veteran Ben Saunders utterly dominated a very game Matt Lee in a 175lb catchweight fight to open Bellator 39. The ringside physician had to stop the fight at 1:23 of the third round after Saunders opened a huge gash over Lee’s left eye.
Saunders backed Lee up with body kicks to ope nteh bout. Lee charged in behind punches trying to close the distance against the rangy Saunders. Saunders countered with punches and looked for the clinch. Saunders got the Thai plum and began to throw knees to the body. Lee got an over hook and slowed down the action. More knees to the body from Saunders before the break. Saunders caught Lee with a right hook that hurt the Korean then followed up with the clinch. From there it was more knees to Lee’s body. Lee escaped. Saunders stalked him down. Saunders came forward behind some jabs then got the clinch again. They stalled in an over-under stalemate before a bleeding Lee pushed Saunders away. Saunders landed another pair of right hooks then got the Thai plum again before launching a barrage of knees.
Saunders came out aggressive and immediately got the plum again. More knees followed by a high kick and some more hooks. They separated and Lee came forward behind some body punches. Saunders countered with straight lefts then took an inadvertent groin shot. After the break, Lee caught a leg kick and tried for the trip but failed. Saunders got the plum again and landed more knees to the face. Lee managed to get separation and they traded punches with the bloodied Lee coming forward aggressively. Lee went for a single leg. but that just led to him eating more uppercuts. Saunders mixed up standing elbows and knees from the clinch but Lee kept pressing forward. The action slowed in the last minute but a bloodied Lee hung on.
Between rounds the ringside physician examined Lee closely but let the action continue.
Saunders opened with a body kick and then forced the clinch again. From there more knees and elbows opened up a huge gash over Lee’s left eye. The referee stopped the action with a little more than 3:30 left in the round and the doctors called the fight.
UFC veteran Saunders made his Bellator debut after racking up one win in a smaller promotion after being cut from the UFC last August after going 4-3 in the promotion.