Semifinals set for tourney
LEMOORE, Calif. -- Semifinals for Bellator Fighting Championships' welterweight tournament are set.
Following round-of-eight action Saturday at the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney announced pairings for fighters who remain eligible for a $100,000 prize and the right to meet current champion Ben Askren later this year.
Former Bellator champion Lyman Good (11-1) meets 2004 U.S. Olympic judoka Rick Hawn (10-0) April 2 at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., while Jay Hieron (20-4) takes on Brent Weedman (18-5-1) on a yet-to-be-determined date.
Weedman suffered a gash over his left eye during the first punch of his first exchange against Dan Hornbuckle. After taking a tight three-round decision, Weedman received six stitches. Rebney said Weedman could have as much as eight weeks to recover and there are no plans to find a substitute for the 27-year-old old Kentuckian.
"My assumption is he'll heal up pretty quickly," Rebney said after the debut of Bellator's fourth season, which played out in front of a sold- out house of 1,700 fans and, for the first time, 80 million homes available through MTV2. "We'll have to see what happens in the next couple of weeks."
"It looked really bad but once we dug everything out and looked at it, it's not bad," Weedman said. "I've been cut a lot deeper."
Hieron, Hawn and Good all indicated they were healthy.
The April 2 date translates to a quick four-week turnaround for Hawn and Good. Each advanced after three-round unanimous decision victories against Jim Wallhead and Chris Lozano respectively.
"He can stand up and strike and obviously work his judo and ground game," Good said of Hawn. "I think it's a great match."
Their bout serves as the lead-in to the evening's main event, a five- round championship between Bellator lightweight titleholder Eddie Alvarez and No. 1-contender Pat Curran.
Hieron, whom Weedman called the "biggest name in the tournament," moved forward despite controversy when referee Josh Rosenthal stopped his fight against Anthonly Lapsley prematurely. Rosenthal, believing Hieron locked on a rear-naked choke that rendered Lapsley unconscious, decided to separate the welterweights. Lapsley immediately jumped to his feet in protest. Prior to the first-round stoppage, however, Hieron was in clear control.
"I came out healthy," Hieron said. "That's a thing that plays out in these tournaments. You gotta be smart when you go out and fight. Get 'em out of there quick and go on to the next one."
"He looked more polished in the ring than I did today," Weedman said of Hieron. "I just went out and scrapped, which is not what I wanted to do."
Saturday's card was the first of 25 nationally televised events on the calendar for Bellator between now and December.