LEMOORE, Calif. - The goal for all eight fighters in Bellator’s Season 4 welterweight tournament is to eventually fight for the championship against Ben Askren.But getting to Askren will be no easy task because the winner of the tournament should face three extra-tough competitors on his way to No. 1 contender status.Bellator kicked off Season 4 on Saturday night at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore.
Here is a look at the four quarterfinal bouts:
Looking to get back to the Bellator mountain top, Lyman Good defeated Chris Lozano in the most exciting fight of the televised portion of Bellator’s show.Good, the first Bellator welterweight champion, was awarded the decision 29-28, 30-27, 30-27.Good helped salvage a rather uneventful night of fighting in Bellator’s season debut by taking the fight to Lozano. Good landed some good combinations and caused some swelling under Lozano’s left eye. Good appeared to be in control of the fight throughout, but Lozano made a nice comeback to make the fight entertaining and interesting.Good, whose only loss of his career was at the hands of Askren, improved to 11-1. Lozano tasted defeat for the first time to fall to 6-1.
In a controversial ending, Jay Hieron advanced to the Bellator welterweight semifinals with a technical submission victory over Anthony Lapsley.Hieron dominated the fight, slamming Lapsley to the ground, transitioning into the full mount and after some ground and pound transitioning into a rear-naked choke.
Lapsley wasn’t moving so referee Josh Rosenthal stepped in and stopped the fight, thinking Lapsley was out. But Lapsley immediately jumped to his feet following the stoppage.There was nothing the referee could do once the decision to stop the fight was made.
Hieron improved to 20-4 in his career, and Lapsely fell to 19-5.
In a very uneventful fight, Rick Hawn advanced to the Bellator welterweight semifinal round with a unanimous decision victory over Jim Wallhead.
Hawn outpointed Wallhead 29-28, 29-28, 30-27 on the judges scorecard.The fight was primarily a boxing match through all three rounds with Hawn, a former judo Olympian, displaying a good jab and staying out of range of Wallhead’s punches.Hawn stayed undefeated in his MMA career as he improved to 10-0, and Wallhead fell to 21-6.
In the first quarterfinal match of the night, Brent Weedman defeated Dan Hornbuckle to advance to the Bellator welterweight semifinals.In a tough match to score, Weedman was awarded the unanimous decision with all three judges scoring the bout 29-28.The entire fight was essentially a grappling match.
The first two rounds featured a lot of action on the ground, but both fighters slowed down in the third and final round.Round 1 appeared to go Hornbuckle’s way, while Round 2 was Weedman’s. Round 3 was very tough to score and it could have gone either way. The fans reacted in Hornbuckle’s favor, but all three judges felt the fight was Weedman’s.Weedman, who was previously defeated by Hornbuckle earlier in his career, avenged that loss on a much larger stage and improved to 18-5-1 in his career. Hornbuckle, fell to 22-4.
In other action:
In a bloody war, Waachiim Spiritwolf outlasted Jaime Jara much to the delight of the Tachi Palace crowd.Spiritwolf and Jara exchanged in a classic bout to cap the night of fighting.In the end, it was Spiritwolf earning the split-decision victory, 30-27, 28-29, 29-28. The fight was extremely close and could have gone either way.
Their classic salvaged a night of less-than-exciting fighting on Bellator’s main card, which aired on MTV2.Spiritwolf improved to 9-7-1 in his career, and Jara fell to 29-9.
Bellator 115-pound women’s champion Zoila Frausto may have received a little more than she bargained for in her non-title fight against Karina Hallinan.Frausto won the fight via unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring the bout 30-27, but it was far from easy.
The first round was all Frausto in what looked like target practice for the Madera-based fighter. Frausto displayed her pin-point precision and even got a little fancy by attempting some spinning kicks and a spinning backfist. But Hallinan was undeterred as she battled back to make it a competitive fight in the second and third rounds.
Hallinan avoided Frausto’s punching accuracy and kicks by getting close and pushing her up against the cage in the second round. From the clinch, Frausto was able to land some big knees to take the second round.The third round was a little bit closer as Hallinan, again, tried to close the gap and push Frausto against the cage.In the end, Frausto was just too much as she improved to 11-1 in her career. Hallinan, fighting out of Temecula, fell to 3-5.
Brandon Bender weathered the early storm and locked in a guillotine choke 3:42 into the first round to submit Josh Herrick in a 145-pound bout.Herrick to the fight right to Bender and was a lot faster on the feet. But Bender managed to score a takedown and managed to lock in a guillotine choke and force Herrick to tap out.Bender improved to 8-0 in his career, and Herrick fell to 6-2.
In the first fight of the night, Firebaugh fighter Paul Ruiz made quick work of Coalinga’s Jesus Castro.Ruiz knocked Castro down with a vicious 1-2 combination at the start of the match and finished him off with some vicious ground and pound. Ruiz landed several double hammerfists and referee Jason McCoy stepped in to stop the bout in just 1:17 into the first round.The victory was the first of Ruiz’s career, who improved to 1-1, and Castro fell to 0-2.