(Rick Hawn at Bellator 70)
From Bellator Fighting Championships:
New Orleans, La. (May 25, 2012) —Bellator Fighting Championships returned to "The Crescent City"Friday night for the close of Bellator’s action packed sixth season. BellatorHeavyweight Champion Cole Konrad made the first successful title defense of hiscareer while Rick Hawn won the Bellator Season 6 Lightweight Tournament with adynamic performance. Also, Luis Nogueira will move on to the finals of theBellator Season 6 Bantamweight Tournament and Rich Clementi picked up animpressive victory at Bellator 70 from Harrah’s in New Orleans, Louisiana LIVEon MTV2 and in HD on EPIX.
"The performance Rick Hawn and Brent Weedman delivered was a fantastic wayto close our sixth season," Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said."Cole Konrad once again proved why he is one of the best heavyweights inthe world, while Luis Nogueira advanced in dominating fashion. Harrah’s NewOrleans provided us with a great venue, and our Summer Series is shaping up tobe one for the ages."
Heading into their fight in "The Big Easy," Bellator Season 6Lightweight Tournament finalists Rick Hawn and Brent Weedman dominated theircompetition through the first two rounds of the tournament. With an opportunityto face Bellator World Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler within reach, bothmen were eager to prove their status as the #1 contender. Throughout a fightengaged primarily on the feet, both fighters were able to land solid shots infront of an electric New Orleans crowd. However, it was the polished strikingand the world-class takedowns of Hawn (14-1) that ultimately led him tovictory. For three rounds, Hawn appeared to land the harder shots while Weedman(21-8-1) tried his best to deliver strikes of his own. However, it was notenough as all three judges awarded Rick Hawn a unanimous decision victory as hebecomes the Bellator Season 6 Lightweight Tournament Champion
"Chandler, I know you’re watching at home, I’m coming for you," saidHawn.
In his first title defense since defeating Neil Grove at Bellator 32,undefeated Bellator World Heavyweight Champion and two-time NCAA WrestlingChampion Cole Konrad looked to send a message to all the heavyweights on theBellator roster, and he did just that against challenger Eric Prindle. Almostimmediately, Prindle (7-2) came out throwing with ill intentions, howeverKonrad (9-0) secured a signature takedown and began working for a kimura.Prindle tried to fend off the Champion’s submission attempt, but was unable togain a better position. Konrad twisted with increasing intensity until the"The American Soldier" was forced to submit 1:00 into the fight.
"I think I have a pretty solid base with my wrestling," said Konrad."I’ve got to keep improving on my standup, my submission, and mywrestling, too."
In the second Bellator Season 6 Bantamweight Tournament semifinal fight,four-fight Bellator veteran Luis Nogueira and Hiroshi Nakamura squared off withthe winner meeting Marcos Galvao for the tournament championship. Throughoutthe bout, the reach advantage for Nogueira (14-2) was evident. While the firstround was close, the second and third is where Nogueira found his rhythm. Inthe second, the Japanese star Nakamura (15-6-4) found himself on the receivingend of crisp striking and a big full body slam. In the third round, Nogueiracame out just as aggressive as he was in the second. After an exchange on thefeet, Nogueira was able to land a right hand that floored "Iron."After a series of follow up punches, referee Jason Herzog stepped in to stopthe fight at 1:58 of the third round.
"Since the start of the fight, I knew he was feeling my punches," saidNogueira. "I was looking for the right moment to finish the fight."
In the first fight of the evening, 56-fight MMA veteran and local fan favoriteRich Clementi looked to earn his first win under the Bellator umbrella when hemet promotional newcomer, Derek Campos. Clementi (43-21-1) showed patience inthe opening moments of action, letting Campos (9-3) dictate the pace of thefight. However, after a quick scramble to get back to his feet, Campos foundhimself in a guillotine choke that "No Love" did not abandon. With noway out, Campos was forced to tap at 4:18 of the first round.
"As a competitor, the valleys are what makes me strong," saidClementi. "I’m at my peak right now, I’m coming back, and ‘No Love’ isback."
For more information, visit Bellator.com, follow Bellator on Twitter@BellatorMMA or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Bellator