Bellator 35 featured eight welterweight combatants competing to reach the semi-finals of the promotion’s 170-pound tournament. Former champion Lyman Good cruised past Chris Lozano and Olympic Judoka Rick Hawn outstruck Jim Wallhead, but Jay Hieron and Brent Weedman both advanced with a bit of controversy.
For Good (11-1), he’s looking to win the tournament and get another crack at Ben Askren, who took his title by decision on Oct. 21 at Bellator 33. Lozano was coming in off of a knockout victory over UFC veteran Yoshiyuki Yoshida, but Good took the center of the cage and seemed to have Lozano’s timing down, outstriking him from distance and using his size and strength to outmuscle him in the grappling department. Lozano showed a lot of heart and kept coming, but Good never looked to be out of his comfort zone.
Similarly, Hawn (10-0) always seemed one step ahead of “Judo” Jim, as the two clinch specialists spent most of the fight testing their kickboxing. Hawn’s training regimen at Team Sityodtong has paid off. His counterstriking was sharp and Wallhead had his few takedown attempts stuffed easily.
Questionable stoppage, questionable scoring
The other two quarterfinal bouts were far less clear cut.
Hieron (20-4), who’s fought for every major organization from Strikeforce to the UFC, picked up a technical submission win over Anthony Lapsley (19-5) via rear naked choke at 3:39 of round 1, but Lapsley popped up immediately after referee Josh Rosenthal stopped the match to voice his displeasure.
When the fight went to the ground, Hieron controlled the action and passed to mount. Eventually he took Lapsley’s back and went looking for the RNC. Although he didn’t have both hooks all the way in, Hieron was squeezing tight and keeping Lapsley from escaping the position. However, after Hieron indicated to Rosenthal that Lapsley was out, Rosenthal checked Lapsley’s arm for a response; after the fight Rosenthal said that Lapsley appeared unresponsive. Whatever the case, Lapsley was alert and angry right when the fight came to an end.
Weedman’s (18-5-1) victory also came with some question marks after an entertaining three-round fight with Dan Hornbuckle (22-4).
All three judges favored Weedman 29-28. The first round was the closest of the three, with Hornbuckle getting Weedman down after catching a leg kick.
From there, Hornbuckle was anything but passive, looking for an armbar attempt instead of controlling the top position. Weedman spun out but found himself in a triangle choke attempt; Weedman had both arms in, but Hornbuckle’s long legs made it a dangerous spot until Weedman pulled free.
However, Weedman made a small comeback late in the round, scoring a nice throw into side control and looking for kimuras and armbars as the round ended.
Weedman continued his momentum into round two. After Hornbuckle got another takedown off of a kick, Weedman reversed the position in short order, and by the end of the round he had Hornbuckle’s back, flattening him out on the mat and throwing punches to set up the choke.
The third round was an equally entertaining grappling duel. Hornbuckle controlled the positioning, though Weedman looked for a heel hook at one point. The round ended with Weedman looking for a triangle but his other leg stuck in the butterfly position. The crowd greeted the decision with some boos, though Weedman was very respectful of Hornbuckle’s effort at the end of the bout.
Frausto wins non-title bout, Bender stays undefeated
In other action, featherweight prospect Brandon Bender (8-0) remained undefeated with a first round guillotine choke submission of Josh Herrick (6-2), and women’s champion Zoila Frausto (11-1) defeated Karina Hallinan by decision in a three-round non-title bout.
Frausto is coming off of a win to stop the record-breaking undefeated run of Megumi Fujii (23-1).
Also, Strikeforce veteran Waachim Spiritwolf (9-7-1) beat Jamie Jara (29-9) by split decision.