Hornbuckle (21-3), one of the favorites in the season two tournament, lost in the finals to Ben Askren at Bellator 22 in June. Blackburn (15-11-1) comes to Bellator following his release from the UFC for back-to-back losses this year to Amir Sadollah and DaMarques Johnson.
The live blog is below.
Blackburn walks out to Michael Jackson's Bad. Hornbuckle enters next with his American Top Team corner.
Round 1: Blackburn comes in right away with punches. Hornbuckle drops for the takedown, picks Blackburn up his feet and slams him down. Hornbuckle goes to work inside of Blackburn's closed guard. Blackburn uses the cage to get up and drops Hornbuckle with a right hand. Blackburn now inside the guard of Hornbuckle. Hornbuckle triangles Blackburn's body and kicks his way to his feet. Nice escape. Hornbuckle throws a leg kick and Blackburn answers wiht two punches. Blackburn's strikes looking sharp tonight and he's fighting like he wants the knock out. Blackburn works to the body and follows with fast punches to the head. Hornbuckle misses a right hook and Blackburn answers quickly strikes to the body. Blackburn looks for a home for his big right hand. Hornbuckle lands two punches for what was probably his best strikes thus far. Round one ends in clinch with Blackburn against Hornbuckle on the fence.
MMAFighting.com scores the round 10-9 for Blackburn.
Round 2: Hornbuckle lands with kick to the body. Blackburn fires back with a missed right. Blackburn stays active with short combos while trying to land his overhand right. Hornbuckle connects on punches and the crowd cheers. Blackburn effectively going for the body followed by right to the head. Huge kick right to the groin and Hornbuckle collapses in pain. Hornbuckle does stand up and circles around the ring to the cheers of the supportive crowd. Hornbuckle smiles and the fight is back on. Hornbuckle's head kick is blocked but it's enough for Blackburn to clinch up. Hornbuckle lands to the leg. Hornbuckle with a flying knee that looks like it grazes Blackburn's stomach. Blackburn lands a straight. Hornbuckle answers back. Good round two.
Hornbuckle should edge out Blackburn in a close round.
Round 3: Hornbuckle lands to the body. Both men are very active with punches. Blackburn lands a counter right. Hornbuckle with a nice combo and Blackburn launches repeated rights. They are going to make this round hard to score as well if they keep this up, as they are going punch for punch and kick for kick. Hornbuckle kicks to the body. Blackburn shoots late in the rouind to hopefully steal it but Hornbuckle stuffs it. Hornbuckle with a knee. Blackburn looks to have tired, just slightly, while Hornbuckle keeps his workrate high.
Another close round and I wouldn't mind a draw, but if I had to pick I'll give it two rounds to one in favor of Hornbuckle. Let's see how the judges score it.
Hornbuckle wins by unanimous decision 29-28 3x