After a week off last week, Bellator fighting Championship is back with Bellator 43 from the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Oklahoma. The fourth season is coming to an end and that means tournament finals time.
The first of the four finals takes place at Saturdays Bellator 43 in the welterweight division. The mixed martial arts veteran Jay Hieron (21-4) takes on the Olympic Judoka turn undefeated MMA fighter Rick Hawn (11-0).
Hieron’s path to the finals opened with a quick yet controversial submission victory over Anthony Lapsley at Bellator 35. The Extreme Couture fighter returned at Bellator 40 against Brent Weedman to grind out a unanimous decision.
Hawn opened up the tournament against fellow Judo fighter Jim Wallhead and kept the fight standing to win a decisive unanimous decision. He then took on the season one Bellator tournament winner and former welterweight champion Lyman Good. Arguably the best fight of the welterweight tournament, Hawn won a razor-thin split decision to move into the finals.
The card will also feature for UFC and Strikeforce fighter Joe Riggs taking on Bryan Baker, plus the former WEC featherweight champion Chase Beebe takes on Jose Vega. A late addition to the main card is a heavyweight fight between the undefeated Ron Sparks and Vince Lucero, who hasn’t won a fight since 2008 going 0-6-1.
With just three events left in season four, Bellator 43 kicks off the beginning of the end (of the season). Here is the Bellator 43 fight card, along with my predictions for the seven bout card.
Welterweight Tournament Final bout: Jay Hieron vs. Rick Hawn – Jay Hieron
Middleweight bout: Joe Riggs vs. Bryan Baker – Bryan Baker
Bantamweight bout: Jose Vega vs. Chase Beebe – Chase Beebe
Heavyweight bout: Vince Lucero vs. Ron Sparks – Ron Sparks
Local Feature Fights
Welterweight bout: Rich Bouphanouvong vs. David Rickles – David Rickles
Middleweight bout: George Burton vs. John Bryant – George Burton
Lightweight bout: Mike Schatz vs. Michael Osborn – Michael Osborn