Rick Hawn has won 10 of his 12 fights since joining Bellator. | Photo: Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
The departure of former Bellator MMA welterweight champion Ben Askren opened the door for fighters like Douglas Lima and Rick Hawn.
Lima will meet Hawn for the vacant 170-pound crown in the Bellator 117 main event on Friday at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The winner of the five-round clash will replace Askren atop Bellator’s welterweight heap, the man they call “Funky” having been lured away by the Singapore-based One Fighting Championship promotion.
Hawn will carry a four-fight winning streak into the match. The 37-year-old judoka last fought at Bellator 109 in November, when he knocked out American Kickboxing Academy representative Ron Keslar in the third round of their Season 9 welterweight tournament final at the Sands Casino Event Center in Bethlehem, Pa. A four-time national judo champion who placed ninth at the 2004 Summer Olympics, Hawn has secured 11 of his 18 career victories by knockout or technical knockout. He has compiled a 10-2 record since arriving in Bellator in October 2010.
Lima has rattled off 12 wins in 13 appearances, a unanimous decision loss to Askren the lone misstep. Anchored at an American Top Team affiliate in Atlanta, the 26-year-old owns a 7-1 mark in Bellator. Lima last competed at Bellator 100 in September, when he knocked out Ben Saunders with a vicious head kick in the second round of their Season 8 welterweight tournament final at the Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix.
With the Lima-Hawn title fight on the marquee, here are 10 facts surrounding Bellator 117:
FACT 1: Marcin Held has utilized leg locks in five of his nine submissions, having secured tapouts with a toe hold (twice), a heel hook, an inverted heel hook and a kneebar.
FACT 2: The five men to whom Patricky Freire has lost -- Willamy Freire, Michael Chandler, Lloyd Woodard, Eddie Alvarez and Derek Anderson -- own a cumulative record of 87-14.
FACT 3: Bellator Season 6 welterweight tournament winner Karl Amoussou has competed in eight different countries during his 24-fight career: Switzerland, the Netherlands, England, Russia, Japan, the United States, Finland and France.
FACT 4: Brazilian prospect Julio Cesar Neves Jr., 19, will enter his promotional debut with a perfect 28-0 record that includes 25 finishes, 18 of them inside one round.
FACT 5: When Houston Alexander climbs into the cage to confront Matt Uhde, six years, 10 months and 23 days will have passed since he scored his shocking 48-second upset against Keith Jardine under the Ultimate Fighting Championship banner.
FACT 6: Jared Downing was the first featherweight champion in the history of the Resurrection Fighting Alliance organization.
FACT 7: No fighter on the Bellator 117 roster has more experience than Victor Moreno, who has fought 51 times since he started his MMA career in March 2003.
FACT 8: In 21 professional bouts, middleweight journeyman Ben Crowder has never gone the distance.
FACT 9: Between Aug. 6, 2008 and April 1, 2011, Tim Bazer suffered nine consecutive defeats, six of them by submission.
FACT 10: The Mid-America Center opened in October 2002 at a cost of $75 million