As with every major show, Bloody Elbow will be here to bring you live results and commentary for Bellator 43. Our live blog will start with the beginning of the MTV2 broadcast (9 p.m. ET) so be sure to make Bloody Elbow your home for this event.
I will be posting live play-by-play and results here as well as at my usual home, Gals Guide to MMA.
Tonight will feature the welterweight tournament final fight, Rick Hawn vs. Jay Hieron. We will also see Joe "Diesel" Riggs making his Bellator debut against middleweight tournament finalist Bryan Baker, featherweight action with Jose Vega taking on Chase Beebe, and a heavyweight fight between Vince Lucero and Ron Sparks.
The winner of the Hawn vs. Hieron fight will win $100,000 and go on to face champ Ben Askren for the welterweight belt.
We're now live, and ready to see some fights!
Round 1: Lucero opens with a good right, and Sparks didn't like it. Sparks comes back with some heavy strikes of his own. They clinch and Sparks lands a knee, Lucero with a decent combo as they separate. Sparks puts Lucero down with a leg kick, then gets side control and is working for an keylock. Lucero taps, and Sparks wins! Ron Sparks def. Vince Lucero via submission (keylock), 2:18 of round 1.
Round 1: Vega opens with a little more aggression, with Beebe backing up more at first. They clinch up, and Beebe has a guillotine briefly. Vega escapes, they scramble, and Beebe goes for a standing guillotine again. He finally lets it go, and they separate. Vega is a little more cautious now. Beebe clinches up again, Vega lands some good shots and they're apart. Now Vega is swinging hard, Beebe answers by shooting for the TD. He has to work for it but finally gets it. Vega manages to get to his feet and is grinding Beebe into the cage. Beebe goes for the standing guillotine again, they hit the ground, and Vega taps! Chase Beebe def. Jose Vega via submission (guillotine), 4:06 of round 1.
Round 1: Baker looks eager, Riggs looks calm. Baker lands a couple of kicks that don't do much. Baker lands another kick as Riggs finally moves in to strike, and boom! accidental groin kick. Riggs is back in quickly, though. Baker lands another kick to the body, then goes for a head kick that misses. Riggs throws a right that doesn't connect. Riggs finally lets go with a combo but does little damage. Baker lands a flying knee to Riggs' chin. Riggs is now throwing combos when he moves in, but that's not often. Baker is being way more aggressive so far. Riggs clinches up and Baker lands some knees, then another as they separate. Round is over. I give it to Baker 10-9 for aggression.
Round 2: Slow start to this round, Baker throws a kick that Riggs catches... and they both back off. Both fighters seem hesitant this round. Baker finally moves in with a couple of rights, Riggs counters. Baker goes for another flying knee, and Riggs catches him with a right. They clinch again and Baker is landing knee after knee. Riggs answers with a knee of his own. Now Riggs is landing good punches, but Baker is landing more, and then lands a left that puts Riggs out! Bryan Baker def. Joe Riggs via TKO, 3:53 of round 2.
Round 1: Hawn moves in with a combo and eats a couple of shots in the process. Hieron lands a good leg kick, then misses with another, and misses with a spinning back kick. Hawn is moving forward now, eating a couple of kicks but keeps coming. Hieron misses with a flying knee, catches Hawn with another leg kick and eats a punch for it. Hawn is landing more shots now but there's not much behind them. End of the round. 10-9 Hieron.
Round 2: Hieron is a little more aggressive this round. He lands a leg kick, Hawn lands one of his own. Hieron keeps landing one punch or one kick and that's all. Hawn back to moving forward but not doing a whole lot. Hieron is staying out of his way and countering here and there. Hawn isn't checking the leg kicks at all now. He lands a good left, then misses with another . Now Hawn lands a decent combo, then another, as Hieron looks like he's just running away. Hieron gets a last second takedown, and the round ends. 10-9 Hawn that time, he just landed more shots.
Round 3: Both guys look more serious now, and are throwing like they mean it. Hawn lands a mean combo but Hieron answers with a kick to the body. Hieron looks like he might be cut under one eye. Hawn is moving forward more aggressively this round, and it landing more strikes than either of the first two rounds. He lands a leg kick that almost puts Hieron down. Hieron is mostly just backing up now, not countering as much or as well as he has been. Hieron tries to turn it up at the end, but I don't think it's enough. End of the fight. That round, and the fight, I give to Hawn. 10-9, total 29-28.
Jay Hieron def. Rick Hawn by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29).
Thanks for hanging, guys, it was fun as always!