I watched Bellator 62 from Laredo, Texas this past Friday night, where they featured the start of their season 6 Lightweight tournament. Bellator is improving in their production value, and though their roster is still thin, as evidenced by the cancelled main event Heavyweight fight between Eric Prindle and Thiago Santos, they have become a good conduit for practitioners of other disciplines, such as wrestling and judo. One of the impressive contestants in the opening round of the 155 lb tournament was former US Olympic Judoka Rick Hawn. Hawn has been around MMA for several years, but this was his first drop to 155 lbs, and it looks like the weight cut suits him very well.
Hawn competed at 170 lbs, running his record to 8-1. The lone loss was a controversial split decision to veteran Jay Hieron, and that convinced him to test the waters at 155 lbs. Hawn claims to have had no trouble cutting to 155 for the first time, and he also stated he can definitely feel the difference in the size and strength of his opponents.
Hawn made short work of Brazilian Ricardo Tirloni last night, scoring the KO win in under 3 minutes. Tirloni was 14-1 going into the bout, with his only loss coming to now UFC Champion Ben Henderson, who finished him deep in round 2. Tirloni had run off 11 wins in a row, but he had nothing for Hawn.
Hawn has displayed his powerful judo throws in MMA, and he has also shown heavy hands. Heavy hands at 170 lbs clearly translated into heavier hands at 155 lbs. Hawn is likely to be installed as the favorite for the Bellator Lightweight tournament. If he comes through the next two fights, showdowns with Champion Pat Curran and superstar Eddie Alvarez are the type of fights that could have Bellator take a nice jump in prestige.
As for the Heavyweight debacle, Bellator did the only thing they really could do, short of taking my advice and sacking the Heavyweight division , and that is throw Eric Prindle in their against Champion Cole Konrad. Yawn.
As for Thiago Santos, he surfaced, smelling of cheddar cheese, sour cream and onions. He had been arrested for attacking a 7-11 display of Pringle’s potato chips, opening and eating can after can. Hey, if he can’t get a piece of Prindle, he will eat all the Pringle’s.
This weekend, on March 30th, Bellator 63 comes to us from the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut with the start of their welterweight tournament. Check out http://www.betdsi.com/live-lines/martial-arts/mma-bellator - the odds for that entire show will be breaking throughout this week!