Bellator's Season 9 welterweight tournament semifinals played out in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Friday night, and the main event was a rematch.
Rick Hawn and Brent Weedman met as lightweights at Bellator 70 back in 2012, and it was Hawn who moved on from the finals to fight Michael Chandler. Playing it back as 170-pounders, this time Hawn wanted the fight to be standing. Turns out for good reason.
The one-time judoka used his boxing to dominate all three rounds against Weedman, hitting him with an assortment of combinations and counters. Though he never had the Kentuckian in serious trouble, nor was the fight ever in doubt. For much of the fight early, Hawn let Weedman back up, refusing to go to the ground with him.
Since moving to 170 pounds back in April when he beat Karo Parisyan at Bellator 95, Hawn has gone 3-0 in his new weight class, and is now a fight away from a title shot.
In the other semifinal for the Season 9 tourney, the relatively unknown Ron Keslar took it right to the polarizing former UFC fighter War Machine in the co-main event. Keslar got War Machine's back and cut his nose open within a minute-and-a-half, and late in the first round got a rear naked choke from a standing triangle.
Keslar will now face Hawn in the Season 9 welterweight finals.
In earlier action, former UFC middleweight Kendall Grove, fighting for his fourth time in 2013, was successful in his Bellator debut. Grove was able to out-point hometown favorite Joe Vedepo by constantly threatening with submissions through the early parts of the fight, and pushing the pace later on. The 30-year old Grove made it two in a row since dropping his three previous bouts in KSW and in Australia.
In a heavyweight tilt to kick off the Bellator 104 main card, Australian Peter Graham won a decision victory over Bellator veteran Eric Prindle. Prindle last fought in Bellator during its Season 7 heavyweight tournament, where he was disqualified for delivering an axe kick to Thiago Santos' groin. The 38-year old Graham was making his promotional debut.