Bellator returned to the "Sooner State" TONIGHT (May 7, 2011) to host its forty-third event. The show was held at the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Oklahoma.
Headlining the event, which aired live on MTV2 at 9 p.m. ET, was the Bellator season four welterweight tournament finals between former top free agent "The Thoroughbred" Jay Hieron and undefeated Judo practitioner Rick Hawn.
The winner took home a cool $100,000 and the right to challenge current Bellator Welterweight Champion Ben Askren.
Also on the main card were match-ups of top MMA veterans against tough Bellator competitors, as Joe "Diesel" Riggs squared off against Bellator season two middleweight finalist Bryan "The Beast" Baker and Bellator season three bantamweight semifinalist Jose Vega challenged former WEC Bantamweight Champion Chase Beebe.
How did everyone fare?
Complete Bellator 43 results and play-by-play after the jump.
170 lbs.: Jay Hieron def. Rick Hawn via split decision
185 lbs.: Bryan Baker def. Joe Riggs via TKO at 3:53 Round 2
135 lbs.: Chase Beebe def. Jose Vega via submission (guillotine choke) at 4:06 Round 1
265 lbs.: Ron Sparks def. Vince Lucero via submission (keylock) at 2:18 Round 1
170 lbs.: Jay Hieron (21-4) vs. Rick Hawn (11-0)
Round one: Hawn begins aggressively but his defenses are lowered and Hieron counters nicely. Hieron really working his kicks, landing a leg kick and whiffing with a spinning back kick. Hawn is the aggressor but he continues to eat kicks as he presses forward. Hieron throws a flying knee but misses and Hawn lands a solid punch. Hawn pushes forward and starts landing decent strikes but not enough to take the round as it ends. 10-9 Hieron
Round two: Hieron starts strong with a big leg kick and Hawn responds in kind. Hieron keeps landing but he's not following up. Hawn steps up the pace, pushing forward and throwing punches while Hieron looks to circle away and counter. Hawn lands a solid left hook but Hieron avoids the follow-up. Hieron continues to pepper Hawn's legs with leg kicks. Another big combo from Hawn, then another and Hieron is on the defensive. Hieron scores a takedown right before the round ends but it's not enough to steal the round, not even close. 10-9 Hawn
Round three: Hieron and Hawn both open aggressively. Hawn continues to get the better of Hieron with his punches but Hieron lands a big kick to the body. Hawn continues to press forward fearlessly Big leg kick from Hawn wobbles Hieron a bit. Hieron is just on his bicycle, does he want to win this fight? Hawn continues to pressure Hieron and Hieron finally turns it on in the waning seconds of the fight but I don't think it was enough. 10-9 Hawn
Sigh, and the incompetent Bellator judges strike again. Hieron wins a split decision.
Final Result: Jay Hieron defeats Rick Hawn via split decision
Round one: Both men very cautious to get things started. Couple kicks from Baker. Baker lands a groin shot but Riggs recovers quickly. Body kick by Baker, then a head kick that whiffs. Riggs misses with a big right hand. Riggs opens up but doesn't do much. Baker connects with a flying knee. Riggs is off to a really slow start, finally throws some combinations but not doing much damage. Riggs initiates a clinch and Baker lands some knees, then another as they separate as the round ends. 10-9 Baker
Round two: Both men cautious again to begin the round. Riggs catches a Baker kick but thinks twice about a takedown. Baker pushes forward with some right hands and eats a counter from Riggs. Baker with a nice flying knee but he eats another solid counter from Riggs. Both men clinch and Baker connects with multiple knees and Riggs responds with a knee of his own. Both men really start to open up Riggs and Baker landing big punches and Baker is getting the better of Riggs! Big left hook from Baker crumples Riggs! Riggs turtles and the fight is stopped. Fantastic finish by Bryan Baker!
Final Result: Bryan Baker defeats Joe Riggs via TKO at 3:53 of round two
135 lbs.: Jose Vega (8-4) vs. Chase Beebe (17-7)
Round one: Vega opens with a nice leg kick and slips a punch from Beebe, taking command of the center of the cage. Another nice chopping leg kick from Vega and he follows it up with a left hook that connects on Beebe's chin. Beebe clinches and throws some knees inside. When Vega ducks down he attempts a standing guillotine and falls to his back but Vega escapes and lands on top. Vega gets to his feet and Beebe attempts another standing guillotine from the clinch but Vega slips out. These guys are pushing a crazy pace. Vega denies a clinch attempt from Beebe. Beebe latches on a guillotine and finally secures it, he drops to his back and forces the tap from Vega.
Final Result: Chase Beebe defeats Jose Vega via submission (guillotine choke) at 4:06 of round one
Round one: Lucero takes the center of the cage and Sparks connects with a straight left. Sparks wading in and both big men start throwing bombs. Nice leg kick from Sparks and he follows it up with another leg kick that lands. BIG leg kick drops Lucero and Sparks jumps on him into side control. Sparks looking for an Americana, he's really cranking on Lucero's arm. Lucero gritting his teeth badly and he finally taps out. Nice performance by Sparks there although not an unexpected result.
Final Result: Ron Sparks defeats Vince Lucero via submission (keylock) at 2:18 of Round one