The Bellator Fighting Championships travel to the First Council Casino in Newkirk, OK for Bellator 43 which features the Season 4 Welterweight Tournament Final.
Ron “The Monster” Sparks vs. Vince Lucero
The big heavyweights opened the main card and big trading leather in the center of the cage. Nothing big lands but Sparks’ standup appeared to be tighter compared to the looping shots by Lucero. Sparks landed a leg kick that sends Lucero to the ground and “The Monster” took side control. Sparks immediately looked for a submission as he locks up Lucero’s arm. Lucero is in pain as Sparks applies the pressure which forces the tap at 2:18 in the first round.
Chase Beebe vs. Jose Vega
Beebe earns his entry into the Season 5 Bantamweight Tournament with a first round submission of Vega. There was plenty of action early Beebe, the former WEC bantamweight champion, made a couple attempts at a standing guillotine against the quick Vega. Beebe landed a nice two punch combination then scored a takedown of Vega. Vega was able to get back to his feet but once again Beebe looked for the standing guillotine as he was pushed to the cage. The third time was a charm as Beebe dropped to his back with a tight grip which caused Vega to tap at 4:06 in the opening frame.
Joe “Diesel” Riggs vs. Bryan “The Beast” Baker
Baker takes the battle of middleweights with a second round technical knockout of former WEC champion Riggs. The fight began with a very lengthy feeling out process with very little action. When they finally engaged, Baker was the aggressor as pushed forward behind flying knees and kicks. In the second round Baker was able to land a series of knees to the body of Riggs while working from the clinch against the cage. Riggs tried to fight his way off the cage but Baker lands a left hook to the chin that immediately drops “Diesel”. Baker does not attack as Riggs covers up on the ground. The referee, Jason Herzog, calls an end to the fight giving Baker the TKO victory at 3:53 of the second round. During the post-fight interview, Baker proposed to his girlfriend Megan Vargas who happily accepts. It’s a good night for Baker.
Jay “The Thoroughbred” Hieron vs. Rick Hawn
Hieron, a UFC and Strikeforce veteran, wins a very close split decision over previously undefeated Hawn. Hieron used his footwork as he circle away from danger while also effectively mixing up his jabs and kicks to beat the Hawn to the punch. Hawn pushed forward the entire fight and began to find the range with his left toward the end of the second round. Hawn was more active in the third as he continued to land his left while Hieron continued to circle as he looked to counter. The three judges score the fight 29-28, 29-28 and 28-29 for Hieron who wins the Season 4 Welterweight Tournament. With the win, Hieron earns a $100,000 payday plus a title shot against current Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren.