Bellator 56 took place Saturday evening at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, MO. There were three fights on the televised card: Eric Prindle vs. Ron Sparks, Thiago Santos vs. Neil Grove, and Ben Askren vs. Jay Hieron.
First we had the semifinal fights in the heavyweight tournament. Eric Prindle came out with some very heavy hands and dispatched Ron Sparks with a left hook only 40 seconds into the first round, barely giving Sparks a chance to connect with even a single punch. This cemented Prindle's place in the tournament final.
Joining Prindle in the final will be Brazilian Thiago Santos. Santos faced off against Neil Grove, and took only a few seconds to land a right hand that put Grove on his back. Santos was quick to follow up and try to finish the fight with some ground and pound. Grove gave up his back, which gave Santos the opportunity to sink a rear naked choke. Grove tapped a scant 38 seconds into the fight, and Santos is on to the final.
More results after the jump.
The main event was the welterweight title fight between Ben Askren and Jay Hieron. The fight went the distance, and was characterized by Askren's fairly sloppy standup but still stellar groundwork. Hieron was the better striker by far, but never really let go with enough power to threaten to end the fight. But whenever Askren was able to get Hieron on the ground, he stuck to the challenger like a burr and still managed to bloody Hieron up with ground and pound. The fight went back and forth pretty regularly, but at the end the judges awarded a split decision victory to Ben Askren.
So the heavyweight final will be Eric Prindle vs. Thiago Santos. The winner of that fight will take home a check for $100,000 and will earn a title shot against the champ Cole Konrad. And Ben Askren managed to hang on to his belt, though it was a close fight and could have easily gone to Hieron. Overall, the main card was hugely entertaining and a great example of just how exciting this sport can be.
Full event results:
Daniel Gallimore def. Derrick Ruffin via retirement, 5:00 of round two
Aaron Ely def. Owen Evinger via submission (RNC) at 3:45 of round one
Jacob Akin def. Jeimeson Saudino via submission (RNC) at 3:26 of round one
Emanual Brooks def. Willan de Souza via unanimous decision
Kelvin Tiller def. Dan Spohn via split decision
Eric Prindle def. Ron Sparks via KO, :40 of round one
Thiago Santos def. Neil Grove via submission (RNC), :38 of round one
Ben Askren def. Jay Hieron via split decision