"You have to finish him, Chris! Do you understand what you have to do!?". Chris Lozano's cornermen screamed with urgency, knowing that Lozano was five minutes away from being booted from a tournament that promised riches to the victor and a shot at Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren. Lyman Good, Lozano's opponent and former Bellator welterweight champion, had been in the same situation, down on the scorecards and being dominated by a superior fighter back in October. Lozano made sure that those final minutes were spent doing exactly as his corner had told him, attempting to pull off the incredible.
Lozano came out firing in the third round of action in Saturday's Bellator 35 main event battle with Lyman Good, throwing caution into the wind, determined to land the difference maker to advance. Barreling forward through jabs and straight punches that Good used to deter Lozano's advances, Lozano snapped off aggressive combinations with a look of desperation in his eyes. Unfortunately, the undefeated streak and perfect record that Lozano had amassed fell at the hands of Good's tactical range striking. Good won the bout via unanimous decision on the judges' scorecards, but Lozano certainly earned the respect of the former champion for the heart and determination he showed in the third and final round.
It was the polar opposite of the welterweight quarterfinal match-up between judo black belts Rick Hawn and Jim Wallhead. Wallhead's seasoned veteran status and boxing game should have given him the edge over nine-fight veteran Rick Hawn, but that was clearly a mistaken assumption once the fight began. Hawn's Olympic judo skills were shelved for most of the fight, taking a backseat to Hawn's improved and impressive boxing skills. Hawn battered the 26-year-old Brit at his own game, landing combinations and proving to be a much more elusive target than Wallhead.
Despite being down on the scorecards, Wallhead continued to try to play chess with Hawn on the feet instead of coming out more aggressive as the fight progressed to the third round. Hawn continued his dominance, making Wallhead look like an amateur at every instance. Wallhead's non-existent head movement was perplexing considering his wish to enter the boxing world overseas. Perhaps this loss will cause him to reconsider. Hawn went on to defeat Wallhead via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27). Not quite an accurate representation of the bout. It was an one-sided beating.
Brent Weedman upset Bellator season three runner-up Dan Hornbuckle in a closely-contested rematch of a bout that occurred roughly five years ago. Weedman's ability to avoid the lengthy limbs and grappling prowess of Hornbuckle paid dividends as he was able to pound the American Top Team fighter in various situations during the battle. Hornbuckle did manage to get the better of Weedman standing, and he was in a couple of dominant positions for long periods of time. Unfortunately, the judges didn't see it for Hornbuckle, who I felt won the fight.
Former Strikeforce fighter and UFC veteran Jay Hieron entered the Bellator welterweight tournament as expected with an impressive performance against late replacement Anthony Lapsley. Referee Josh Rosenthal stopped the bout at the 3:39 mark of the first round after Lapsley apparently did not respond to an arm check while being threatened by a rear naked choke. From the angle on the broadcast feed, Lapsley did not look to be in danger nor was he asleep from the choke, but Rosenthal called the fight.
Despite the early stoppage, it's difficult berate Rosenthal for the mistake. The angle in which Lapsley was pressed into the cage made it hard to determine if Lapsley was in danger, and Rosenthal's only means to determining Lapsley's state was apparently not answered by Lapsley. In any case, Hieron put an absolute beating on Lapsley before the fight ended. Toppling Lapsley with superior wrestling, Hieron landed from the top position and threatened with submissions multiple times in the first round.
Lyman Good will square off against Rick Hawn, and Brent Weedman battles Jay Hieron in the semifinals at Bellator 39 on April 2nd in Uncasville, Connecticut. The card will also feature a lightweight title fight between Eddie Alvarez and Pat Curran as well as an appearance from UFC veteran Ben Saunders.
Brent Weedman def. Dan Hornbuckle by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Rick Hawn def. Jim Wallhead by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Jay Hieron def. Anthony Lapsely by submission (rear naked choke) (3:39, Round 1)
Lyman Good def. Chris Lozano by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Zoila Frausto def. Karina Hallinan via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Waachim Spiritwolf def. Jaime Jara via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
Brandon Bender def. Josh Herrick via submission (guillotine choke) (3:42, Round 1)
Paul Ruiz def. Jesus Castro via TKO (1:17, Round 1)