Bellator Fighting Championships returns TONIGHT (Oct. 29, 2011) to the Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas, with a welterweight title bout as well as the continuation of the promotion's season five heavyweight tournament as the promotion holds its semifinals.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of Bellator 56 below, beginning with the MTV2 telecast at 9 p.m. ET. In addition, we'll deliver up-to-the-minute quick results of all the undercard action much earlier in the evening.
The main event of the evening will be a Bellator welterweight title fight as undefeated champion Ben Askren looks to defend his title against season four tournament winner and former IFL champion Jay Hieron.
Quarterfinal winners Ron Sparks and Eric Prindle will square off on one side of the bracket while injury alternate Thiago Santos will match up against Neil Grove, who advanced on late notice when Blagoi Ivanov was also forced out with an injury.
Complete Bellator 56 results and play-by-play are after the jump:
Main Card (MTV2)
170 lbs.: Ben Askren def. Jay Hieron via split decision
265 lbs.: Thiago Santos def. Neil Grove via submission (rear naked choke) at 0:38 Round 1
145 lbs.: Jeremy Spoon def. Adam Schindler via unanimous decision
265 lbs.: Eric Prindle def. Ron Sparks via knockout at 0:40 Round 1
170 lbs.: Marcio Navarro def. Rudy Bears via split decision
205 lbs.: Kelvin Tiller def. Dan Spohn via split decision
158 lbs.: Emanuel Brooks def. William de Souza via unanimous decision
135 lbs.: Jacob Aiken def. Jemeison Saudino via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:26 Round 1
135 lbs.: Aaron Ely def. Owen Evinger via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:45 Round 1
265 lbs.: Daniel Gallemore vs. Derrick Ruffin
Hemmi here, I'll be giving you the full play-by-play of the main card.
170 lbs.: Ben Askren vs. Jay Hieron
Round one: Askren opens with a wild left hook that makes him slip off balance. Hieron lands an uppercut and he takes top position on the ground against Askren looking to land some ground and pound. Askren turns into Hieron and sits up, popping back to his feet and lands a nice right hand. Askren shoots in and gets stuffed but throws a nice knee on the exit. Askren wades in with punches and clinches but Hieron shrugs him off. Askren clinches and throws a big knee and Hieron wraps him up with a head lock as they separate. Askren lands a right hand and again closes the distance but they pull free again. Hieron throws a decent right hook and he stuffs another Askren takedown. Hieron lands a left hand and again denies an Askren clinch attempt. They circle each other as the round ends. Close round, even without a takedown for Askren. 10-9 Askren
Round two: Hieron opens up with his strikes a little bit more and Askren shoots in, securing his first takedown of the fight. Askren stands up and drops some punches on Hieron as he gets on top, creating zero space and smothering Hieron on the ground. Askren passes to half guard and drops some pitter-patter right hands, trying to soften Hieron up and allow him to pass again. Askren postures up and drops some punches to the body and then a nice right hand to the head. Hieron retains full guard and lands a nice upkick when Askren stands up but Askren passes to side control. Hieron tries to scramble and Askren denies him, throwing big knees to the body, both left and right knees as time runs out. 10-9 Askren
Round three: Hieron lands a nice left hand that makes Askren turn away but Askren turns around and connects with a right of his own. Askren shoots in but thinks twice halfway through. Askren drives in but Hieron denies him with a whizzer. Askren moving around very awkwardly and misses with a big left hook. Askren slaps Hieron in the face with a left hand, then drops down for a takedown with a body lock and slams Hieron to the canvas. Askren stands up and passes to half guard. Askren smothers Hieron but gets swept by Hieron. Askren turtles and tries to grab a single leg but Hieron sprawls. They get to their feet and exchange strikes, and Askren is actually the aggressor as it appears Hieron is concerned about the takedowns. 10-9 Askren
Round four: Askren landthes a right hand and shoots. Hieron sprawls but Askren spins around him and takes top position as Hieron turtles. Askren lifts his right knee up and blasts Hieron with knees to the body, also dropping some right hands. Askren is really laying into Hieron with some knees to the body. That's got to hurt. Askren spins to the other side and begins unloading with more knees to the body on the other side. Askren wraps up Hieron's neck from behind and just continues to the attack with knees. Hieron rolls forward and tries to get back to his feet and he withstands an Askren takedown attempt and finally gets back to his feet Askren gets inside and eats a short combination. Askren pokes Hieron in the eye. They reset and Hieron lands a right hand at the end of the bell. 10-9 Askren
Round five: Askren and Hieron both trade strikes early. Askren shoots for a double, switches to a single and Hieron denies him. Hieron probes with a left jab as Askren drops for a takedown but thinks twice. Hieron throws a couple leg kicks and finds a home for them on Askren's left thigh. Hieron again connects with his left jab and then an inside leg kick. Hieron comes forward, loosening up with his striking and throwing more aggressively. Askren misses with some big looping hooks. Askren fakes a takedown and Hieron throws a lead left hook, still conscious of Askren's takedowns. Askren lands a lead right hook and Hieron throws a huge spinning back kick that floors Askren. Hieron taunts Askren and allows him back to his feet. Hieron lands a big left jab and a right hand. Hieron lands a nice inside leg kick at the final bell. 10-9 Hieron and this fight is closer than it looks from my play-by-play. There's an argument for Hieron winning rounds 1 and 3 so this may be a close decision.
Final Result: Ben Askren defeats Jay Hieron via split decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47)
265 lbs.: Neil Grove vs. Thiago Santos
Round one: Grove opens with a huge overhand right and Santos counters with a MASSIVE overhand right of his own that absolutely levels Grove. Santos pounces on Grove and drops some ground and pound. As Grove turtles, Santos leaps onto his back and forces the tap with a rear naked choke. That was amazing!
Final Result: Thiago Santos defeats Neil Grove via submission (rear naked choke) at 0:38 of round one
145 lbs.: Adam Schindler vs. Jeremy Spoon
Round one: Both Schindler and Spoon come out swinging and Schindler catches Spoon with a left hand that staggers him. Spoon tries to clinch but Schinder grabs a body lock and takes Spoon down. Schindler looks for a choke and he takes Spoon's back but Spoon reverses him and takes Schindler's back. Schindler sneaks out the backdoor as well and now he's on Spoon's back with both hooks in. Schindler has a small cut on his left eye from eating big shots from Spoon on bottom. Schindler is now in Spoon's full guard and he again passes to half guard. They get to their feet and both men trade big punches, each getting tagged. Spoon blasts Schindler with a 1-2 combination and then another. Spoon is finding a home for his lead left jab. 10-9 Schindler
Round two: Schindler lands a nice inside leg kick and eats a big right hand from Spoon. Spoon throws a nice inside leg kick of his own and then an outside leg kick. Schindler is really starting to take a lot of damage as his defense is fading. Spoon comes in aggressively and Schindler takes him down. Schindler looms over Spoon and tries to take his back but settles fo rhalf guard. Spoon rolls him over and they get to their feet. Spoon lands a nice combination and Schindler is not defending well anymore. Schindler is loading up and he eats a big right hand. Spoon connects with a 1-2 but gets stuffed on his takedown, landing one last big right hand at the end of the round. 10-9 Spoon
Round three: Both men open trading very evenly on the feet. Sppon begins to get aggressive but Schindler turns it up with the power, throwing huge looping hooks and a head kick but he's getting a big predictable. Schindler lands a nice right hand and gets stuffed on a takedown attempt. Spoon connects with a left jab and then drops down with a nice shot to the body. Schindler takes top position on the ground but Spoon scrambles to his feet. Schindler is starting to bleed heavily and Spoon connects with a nice right hand. Spoon backs off and shakes his right hand, he might have hurt it. Spoon throws a nice left hand and a leg kick. Spoon again finds a home for that left jab, he's snapping Schindler's head back well. Schindler catches a kick and knocks Spoon off his feet with a right hand. They finish swinging and Schindler is exhausted as the final horn sounds. 10-9 Spoon
Final Result: Jeremy Spoon defeats Adam Schindler via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
265 lbs.: Eric Prindle vs. Ron Sparks
Round one: Prindle takes the center but Sparks chases him away with a huge looping right hand. Prindle lands a nice leg kick and Sparks responds with a thudding kick of his own. Sparks throws a big left hook and it blasts Sparks on the chin as he throws a leg kick! Sparks faceplants and he's out cold! Prindle dives onto Sparks and gets tackled off by the referee. Awesome finish inside a minute!
Final Result: Eric Prindle defeats Ron Sparks via knockout at 0:40 of round one