Patricky Freire (standing) has been Bellator's latest breakout star. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
With Bellator 42 in Concho, Okla., now in the books, all four of Bellator's Season 4 tournament finales have been finalized.
Following a respite with no show scheduled for April 29, Bellator will return to the "Sooner State" on May 7 at the First Council Casino in Newkirk. In the final round of Bellator's welterweight tournament, Jay Hieron will take on unbeaten Olympic judoka Rick Hawn for the right to challenge 170-pound champion Ben Askren.
The 34-year-old Hieron took a technical submission stoppage over Anthony Lapsley in March before returning a month later to earn a competitive unanimous nod over Brent Weedman. Hawn earned his way to the final by soundly outboxing fellow judo stylist Jim Wallhead before taking a highly contentious split verdict over former Bellator champion Lyman Good on April 2.
Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez will learn of his next challenger a week later on May 14 when Bellator hits Caesar's Resort in Atlantic City, N.J., where heavy-hitting Brazilian Patricky "Pitbull" Freire will meet unbeaten Michael Chandler in the 155-pound tournament final.
Freire turned in incredible knockouts of former WEC champion "Razor" Rob McCullough and two-time Bellatot tournament runner-up Toby Imada in his two tournament bouts. Meanwhile, the 24-year-old Chandler has impressed in his bracket outings, as the former Mizzou Tiger wrestler choked Polish prospect Marcin Held out cold in March before dominating previously unbeaten Lloyd Woodard a month later en route to a unanimous decision.
Bellator's fourth season will draw to a close with its final two tournaments concluding at the L'Auberge du Lac Casino Resort in Lake Charles, La. on May 21, as featherweights Daniel Straus and Patricio Freire vie for a crack at champion Joe Warren's title, while Richard Hale and Christian M'Pumbu will square off with Bellator's light heavyweight championship on the line.
The younger of the "Pitbull" brothers, the 23-year-old Freire turned in brutal stoppages of Georgi Karakhanyan and Wilson Reis to advance to the tournament final, while the dark horse Straus used his pressure style to take a unanimous verdict over highly-touted Argentine Nazareno Malegarie and a third-round submission of Kenny Foster less than four weeks later.
Hale, 25, earned a breathtaking inverted triangle submission over Nik Fekete in the 205-pound title tournament quarterfinals, and followed up by besting D.J. Linderman by a split verdict on April 23. The 33-year-old M'Pumbu used his punching to stop Chris Davis and Tim Carpenter in order to earn his championship bid.