Bellator Fighting Championships will head to "The Grand Canyon State" this Friday night (Sept. 20, 2013) at the Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.
The special two hour main card will air live on Spike TV on fight night, beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
Headlining the main event will be a Bellator season eight welterweight tournament final between American Top Team veterans Douglas Lima and Ben Saunders. Both men were impressive during the season eight tournament earlier this year but their final deciding bout was delayed after a pair of injuries suffered by Lima.
Also on tap will be the season nine welterweight tournament quarterfinals featuring the likes of Rick Hawn, War Machine, Brent Weedman and more.
With champion Ben Askren's future with the promotion in doubt, we very well could be seeing the next two men who vie for the the new title on this card.
Our Bellator 100 preview and predictions are posted below:
170 lbs.: Ben Saunders (16-5-2) vs. Douglas Lima (24-5)
Saunders was a top prospect for UFC, but a string of tough losses against wrestlers found him on the outside looking in. He found a new home with Bellator and has thrived, although he hasn't yet found a way to turn his success with the promotion into an overall tournament victory and title shot. The closest he's come has been the finals of his tournament debut, although he was knocked out by, believe it or not, Douglas Lima.
Lima has long been considered a fighter to keep an eye on. "The Phenom" lived up to his name, earning the MFC Welterweight Title before signing with Bellator as a free agent. He won his tournament debut but was manhandled by champion Ben Askren in his title shot. He rose to the occasion and has advanced to the finals of his second tournament where he'll again face Saunders.
Both men are very talented strikers with solid submission games to fall back on. Lima has the edge in terms of pure power and overall athleticism, but Saunders should have him if the fight ever enters the clinch. If Saunders can maneuver Lima into the Thai clinch, he can dish out some serious punishment with elbows and knees. Lima's key to victory is to keep the fight in the open where he can score with his massive right hand just like the last time they fought.
Final Prediction: Douglas Lima via TKO in round two
170 lbs.: War Machine (13-4) vs. Vaughn Anderson (16-1-1)
What more can we say about War Machine? A former contestant on The Ultimate Fighter, he has made a name for himself due to his erratic behavior, spending multiple stints in jail and is currently dating a porn star. He finally made his Bellator debut earlier this year and managed to score a submission victory, surprisingly entering this tournament as one of the favorites to win it all.
Anderson has amassed a solid record, but he's completely untested against top competition. He's gone unbeaten in his last 11 fights, mixing things up with a wide variety of knockouts, decisions and submissions. He's had a war of words with War Machine prior to their bout, and that could very well play a key part in their tournament quarterfinal bout.
As good as Anderson's win streak is, he hasn't faced anyone even remotely as experienced or skilled as War Machine. I fully expect War Machine to hold a size, strength, power and grappling edge. Look for him to win this bout however he wants to.
Final Prediction: War Machine via TKO in round one
170 lbs.: Brent Weedman (21-8-1) vs. Justin Baesman (14-3)
Weedman will be competing in his fifth tournament for Bellator, but has more than earned the opportunity, having achieved significant success as of late. He dropped to lightweight briefly to advance to the finals, but returned to welterweight to avoid long-term damage to his body. He won his quarterfinal bout against former Dream Champion Marius Zaromskis earlier this year, but a broken hand knocked him out of the tournament. He'll be looking to continue his winning ways this Friday night.
Baesman has long been a veteran of the sport, but he's really turned it on this year, winning four fights already including a decision victory over UFC veteran Daniel Roberts in the main event of Nick Diaz's War MMA show. At 32 years old, it'll be interesting to see how he handles his fifth fight in eight months.
As impressive as Baesman's victory was, he shouldn't be able to overpower someone like Weedman, who's incredibly well-rounded and packs some decent power in his strikes as well as an underrated ground game. Weedman is incredibly motivated heading into this bout, so look for him to really try to wear Baesman out en route to a finish.
Final Prediction: Brent Weedman via submission in round two
170 lbs.: Rick Hawn (15-2) vs. Herman Terrado (11-2)
Hawn was a judo Olympian back in 2004 but transitioned to MMA when he gave up the sport. His incredibly powerful core helped "Genghis" easily transition to a knockout artist and he's scored some of Bellator's most impressive finishes since signing up with the promotion. Hawn has gone on some very solid tournament runs already, becoming a welterweight finalist and winning a lightweight tournament, although he came up short against champion Michael Chandler at the beginning of the year. He stepped up on short notice as a replacement for injured Matt Riddle with barely a week to prepare.
Terrado has been on a very solid run to earn his berth in the Bellator tournament, winning seven straight while showcasing diversity in his game with a solid mixture of submissions and knockouts. His best victory was a knockout of top prospect A.J. Matthews back in 2011, but he missed all of 2012 due to injury. He returned to the cage earlier this year and his two fights (granted against less than stellar opposition) have lasted less than one minute combined.
Look for Terrado to try to start quick and get in Hawn's face, but despite gaining entrance into this tournament on very short notice, Hawn is talented enough, experienced enough and powerful enough to handle whatever Terrado throws at him. Hawn has a massive right hand and if Terrado is too wild, the Judo Olympian is going to make him pay in violent fashion.
Final Prediction: Rick Hawn via knockout in round one