Jay Hieron (left) and Rick Hawn will meet with the welterweight tournament crown on the line. | Photo Courtesy: Bellator
An undefeated Olympian stands between Jay Hieron and his shot at another championship.
Hieron tipped the scales at 170.8 pounds for his matchup with Rick Hawn (170.8) in the Bellator Fighting Championships Season 4 welterweight tournament final at Bellator 43 on Saturday at the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Okla. UFC veteran Joe Riggs (184.6) and WEC import Bryan Baker (184) also met the mandated weight requirements for their middleweight showcase at Friday’s official weigh-in.
A former International Fight League champion, Hieron will carry a nine-fight winning streak into the match. The 34-year-old Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts representative clinched his spot in the final with a unanimous decision victory over Brent Weedman at Bellator 40 in April. Hieron owns notable wins against former Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Delson Heleno, 2009 Dream welterweight grand prix finalist Jason High, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 alum Jesse Taylor and current UFC welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger. A picture of consistency, Hieron has never lost back-to-back fights.
Hawn moved into the 170-pound final with a split decision win over former champion Lyman Good at Bellator 39 on April 2. Unbeaten in 11 professional MMA outings, the 34-year-old was a four-time national judo champion and placed ninth in the discipline at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. Hawn has delivered seven of his 11 victories by knockout or technical knockout.
The Hieron-Hawn winner will earn a crack at reigning Bellator welterweight king Ben Askren. The 26-year-old Askren, like Hawn a former Olympian, has yet to taste defeat in eight MMA bouts. He took a unanimous decision from Nick Thompson in a non-title bout at Bellator 40.
The event -- which also features a bantamweight tilt pitting former WEC champion Chase Beebe (*136.4) against Jose Vega (135.8) and a heavyweight battle pairing the undefeated Ron Sparks (255.2) with Vince Lucero (263.6) -- will air on MTV2 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.
Saturday, May 7
First Council Casino
BFC Welterweight Tournament Final
Jay Hieron (170.8) vs. Rick Hawn (170.8)
Joe Riggs (184.6) vs. Bryan Baker (184)
Chase Beebe (*136.4) vs. Jose Vega (135.8)
Ron Sparks (255.2) vs. Vince Lucero (263.6)
Richard Bouphanouvong (178.2) vs. David Rickels (177.6)
Mike Schatz (155.8) vs. Michael Osborn (155.6)
Beebe has two hours to drop .4 pounds.