The second time was the charm in Douglas Lima's quest for the Bellator welterweight title.
Lima was brutally efficient on Friday night in finishing off a game but overmatched Rick Hawn in the main event of Bellator 117 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, winning the Bellator's 170-pound belt via second-round TKO.
In doing so, Lima (26-5) filled the title which had been vacant since former champion Ben Askren left the company.
"I'm super happy right now," said Lima.
Lima's strategy was obvious from the get-go. Boasting a size advantage over a natural lightweight, Lima brutalized Hawn with leg kicks, then refused to follow the elite judoka to the ground after Hawn (18-3) landed.
He nearly got the finish late in the first round, but Hawn rode out the storm. as Lima swarmed him. In the second, however, Lima continued to brutalize Hawn with leg kicks. Hawn's corner finally had enough and told Lima to stop the fight at 3:09 of the second, giving Lima the win.
"Man I know how dangerous Rick is, so that's why I wasn't rushing in trying to finish him," Lima said. "But it was my night man. It was a long, long road."
Lima won the season five tournament in 2011 and lost to then-champion Askren in 2012. He earned his way back to a title shot by winning the season eight tourney.
Meanwhile on Friday night, the company came a step closer to figuring out who will next challenge Lima for the belt.
Patricky "Pitbull" Freire is known as a finisher, and he lived up to his reputation with a second-round TKO of Derek Campos in the second round of their season 10 lightweight semifinal bout.
Freire throw a simple straight left, but Campos managed to turn into it and took the punch directly behind his right ear, which caused him to drop to the mat. Freire unleashed his ground-and-pound assault until the referee waved it off.
"Being in the finals is OK," said Freire (12-3), who scored his 10th career finish, through an interpreter. "I am here to win the belt, I am here to be the best and make history in Bellator."
Anderson (18-3) is known for his leglocks, and he won the first round by going after leg submissions for most of the round. But he finished it in the second with a nifty triangle, his 10th career win via tapout. Just 22, Anderson earned his second finals berth in a Bellator tourney, as he also made the finals in season seven.
"I know they call me a leglock specialist, but I have good jiu-jitsu and I can submit you other ways," said Held.
In a welterweight bout, French veteran Karl Amoussou shook off a two-fight losing streak with a split decision victory over David Gomez. Amoussou nearly finished the bout with a second-round heel hook. But Gomez (16-8), a Southern California native making his Bellator debut, escaped in put in a solid enough showing over the course of 15 minutes to leave the fight's outcome in doubt at the end. Amoussou (17-6-2), a former welterweight tourney winner, got two of three 29-28 scores to get the nod.