WINDSOR, Ont. -- Eddie Alvarez finished Patricky (Pitbull) Freire with a head-kick knockout on Friday in the main event of Bellator 76, the cap on a night of spectacular finishes.
Alvarez -- a former lightweight champion -- and Freire had the crowd roaring with a tremendous round of back and forth action. It initially appeared that Alvarez would get the quick win after he dropped Freire early with a punch.
However, Freire bounced right back up and scored some hard blows that had Alvarez in serious trouble. Incredibly, at 4:54 of the first round, a recovered Alvarez finished Pitbull with a highlight reel head-kick KO.
"It's just another win," said Alvarez. "The goal never changes. It's all about beating the guy in front of you."
When asked about having to overcome being knocked down, Alvarez responded:
"It happens to me every fight. We work on it and work on it and work on it. I'm just trying to deal with it, trying to embrace it."
Bellator also held the first round of its featherweight tournament on the card.
American Rad Martinez was the only quarter-finalist who required three rounds to win. He defeated Brazil's Nazareno Malegarie by unanimous decision.
Brazil's Wagnney Fabiano wasted little time to take his fight with Akop Stepanyan to the mat and submit the Russian by armbar in the first round.
Martinez and Fabiano both spoke of winning the tournament and receiving a title shot.
"This tournament is the toughest in the world," said Martinez. "If you win and fight the champion you earned it"
"There is a reason for me to be here," said Fabiano. "I want the title shot and I came here to take it."
After 23 seconds of fighting, former US Marine Mike Richman dropped Jeremy Spoon with a head kick for his second consecutive Bellator win.
"I get people caught up in my boxing but I have a sneaky head kick and I look to use that when I have that chance," said Richman.
Shahbulat Shamhalaev finished Cody Bollinger with devastating ground and pound late in the first round.
Martinez, Fabiano, Richman and Shamhalaev, all advance to the semifinals of the Bellator featherweight tournament to be held later this winter.
In other Bellator action, hometown fighter Ali Mokdad withstood a first-round knockdown to come back and win the last two rounds against Simon Marini.
Magomedrasul Khasbulaev countered a Nayeb Hezam leg kick with a hard right punch that dropped his opponent and sealed his 24 second victory.
In a close bout, Dom O'Grady won his second consecutive Bellator fight with a razor thin split decision over AJ Matthews.
Chad Laprise remained undefeated by dominating former Canadian Olympic wrestler Ainsley Robinson over three rounds.
In the opening fight of the night, Michigan's Jason Fischer submitted Kyle Prepolec of Windsor, Ont., in the third round by arm triangle to the dismay of the hometown crowd.