Bellator has announced they will fill their vacant welterweight title on April 18th at Bellator 117 as Rick Hawn faces Douglas Lima for the belt. Hawn has moved back and forth between the welterweight and lightweight divisions in Bellator, and he lost his title bid at 155 lbs when then champion Michael Chandler, but he has bounced back with 4 wins back at welter and has been impressive. Lima is also riding a 4 fight win streak since a failed title bid, as he lost to former welterweight head honcho Ben Askren in his only loss under the Bellator flag.
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It is a solid bout between two of Bellator’s home grown talents, as both men have weathered tournaments and fought at the top levels of the organization. A bit of the luster is off the matchup, as it is clear that Askren was a dominant guy who already had a win over Lima. Lima has to feel that with Askren, who he went 5 long rounds with, out of the way that this is his major chance. Lima is a solid fighter who will be motivated for this fight.
Hawn is a known quantity as well. With his Olympic Judo background, Hawn is an excellent competitor, but he has lost twice under the Bellator banner, dropping a match early in his career against veteran Jay Hieron at welterweight.
This is probably going to be near a pick ‘em fight when it comes to the sport books. It is is hard to pick advantages going either way. Some may think Hawn could be undersized, as he has competed at Lightweight before, but he appears more than comfortable as a welterweight and he has along natural reach that allows him to keep the fight striking if it benefits him.
It is a long 5 round fight, so look for a feeling out process between the two men. Lima may be the first to try to be aggressive and set a high pace, and from there it will be anybody’s game.