Last night’s Bellator 100 event airing on SPIKETV live from Phoenix, Arizona basically answered the question ‘who will be the next Bellator welterweight champion after Ben Askren leaves?’. Brazilian standout Douglas Lima earned a KO victory over Ben Saunders to notch his second Bellator tournament win and earn the spot as odds on favorite to carry the gold post-Askren.
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With Bellator’s track record, Lima may be handed the gold when Askren vacates the belt officially. When undefeated Heavyweight Champion Devin Cole retired and vacated the belt, it was given to Alexander Volkov, who was coming off a tournament win. Well, Lima now has 2 tournament wins under his belt, and gold is looking within his reach.
Another scenario, and this one more likely, is that Lima will await the winner of the season 9 welterweight tourney, which also kicked off at Bellator 100. MMA veteran the “War Machine” advanced with a choke win over Vaughn Anderson, while heralded judoka Rick Hawn outpointed Herman Tirado.
Also in the tournament, long time Bellator veteran Brent Weedman embarked on another attempt to win a Bellator tournament by tapping out Justin Baesman with a first round arm bar. Ron Keslar also advanced, earning a hard fought split decision win over Sergio Junior.
In the semi finals scheduled for alter this year, War Machine will face off against Ron Keslar, and Rick Hawn will face Brent Weedman. The Hawn vs Weedman match is especially interesting, as Hawn has competed at both welterweight and lightweight, and is one of the better fighters on a poor roster, and Weedman has been a crowd pleaser who has not been able to break through and win a tournament in several attempts. Both men have improved in the Bellator cage, evolving and adding nuances to their games, and both men must feel with the dominant champion Askren having probably fought his last match at Bellator, that the belt is within their reach as well.