Bellator kicked off their inaugural season on MTV2 Saturday night with an event that saw one heavy favorite go down and another win via highly controversial technical submission. The card took place in the Tachi Palace Casino and Hotel in Lemoore, California and featured all four fights in the quarterfinal round of the tournament to determine the number one contender in the welterweight division.
The first fight of the evening saw Dan Hornbuckle, the finalist in the season 2 tournament, go down to Brent Weedman by unanimous decision after three rounds of intense grappling. The fight was competitive throughout and the decision could have gone either way. The first round was as close as could be with Hornbuckle dominating early on only to have Weedman inflict massive damage and nearly earn a submission in the final minute. The second round was close as well but clearly belonged to Weedman who once again closed it out by nearly forcing Hornbuckle to tap. In the final frame Hornbuckle came to play as he was in top position for almost all five minutes as he made Weedman pay for a botched kimura attempt, but it proved to be not enough as all three judges saw the first round for Weedman and gave him the match 29-28, 29-28, 29-28.
Rick Hawn, a former Olympic judo team member and highly touted prospect, won a unanimous decision of his own over fellow judo practitioner Jim Wallhead. Almost the entire 15 minutes were spent standing which allowed Hawn to display his newly sharpened striking skills. Wallhead didn’t seem overwhelmed by it but was unable to mount any sort of significant offense of his own and lost the fight 29-28, 29-28, 30-27.
The most talked about fight of the night will certainly be the one between Jay Hieron and Anthony Lapsley. After Hieron spent the first half round devouring Lapsley with take downs, strikes and submission attempts he was able to secure a dangerous looking rear naked choke even though he did not have full control of the back. He had the hold in tight for a few seconds when referee Josh Rosenthal went in to check on Lapsley. Since he wasn’t in a position to see Lapsley’s face Rosenthal had to check on his status by testing his wrist. When he got what he deemed to be no response he called the fight due to technical submission and awarded it to Jay Hieron. Instantly Lapsley stood up and challenged the decision declaring that he was not sleeping, but by that point the fight was over. It was a scene that certainly conjured up memories of UFC 117 when Chael Sonnen claimed that he did not tap after Rosenthal stopped his fight against Anderson Silva. In that instance however the replay clearly showed that he had and Rosenthal was vindicated.
In the final match on the card former Bellator welterweight champion Lyman Good made a loud statement by easily handling undefeated Chris Lozano. Using jabs and maintaining control in the clinch Good got one step closer to a rematch with the man who took his title, Ben Askren. Lozano’s eye was damaged sometime in round two which caused impaired his vision throughout the round and nearly got the bout stopped between rounds. Good ended up earning the victory was a unanimous, near shutout decision of 29-28, 30-27, 30-27.
(Reprinted with permission from FoxSports.com)
Tags: Dan Hornbuckle, Jay Hieron, Jim Wallhead, Lyman Good, Mixed Martial Arts, Rick Hawn